Situational LeadershipⓇ

Knowledge Center



Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.


Summary

What is Situational LeadershipⓇ (SL)? Description

The Situational LeadershipⓇ method from Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey holds that managers should use a different leadership style, depending on the situation. The model encourages the leader/manager to analyze the needs of the situation, and then to use the most appropriate leadership style. Depending on the competences of employees in their task areas and their commitment to their tasks, the leadership style you should use should vary from one person to another. You may even lead the same person in one way in a particular area, and in another way in another area.


Blanchard and Hersey categorized leadership styles in terms of the amount of direction and of support that the leader gives to his or her followers, and thus created a matrix (figure).


Leadership Behavior of the Leader

  • S1 - Telling / Directing - High task focus, low relationship focus - leaders define the roles and tasks of the 'follower', and supervise them closely. Decisions are made by the leader and announced, so communication is largely one-way. For people who lack competence but are enthusiastic and committed. They need direction and supervision to get them started.
  • S2 - Selling / Coaching - High task focus, high relationship focus - leaders still define roles and tasks, but seek ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but communication is much more two-way. For people who have some competence but lack commitment. They need direction and supervision because they are still relatively inexperienced. They also need support and praise to build their self-esteem, and involvement in decision-making to restore their commitment.
  • S3 - Participating / Supporting - Low task focus, high relationship focus - leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions, but control is with the follower. For people who have competence, but lack confidence or motivation. They do not need much direction because of their skills, but support is necessary to bolster their confidence and motivation.
  • S4 - Delegating - Low task focus, low relationship focus - leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved. For people who have both competence and commitment. They are able and willing to work on a project by themselves with little supervision or support.
Situational LeadershipⓇ

Effective leaders have to be versatile in being able to move around the matrix according to the situation, because there is no style that is always right. However, human beings tend to have a preferred style. In applying SL you have to be aware which style is your own prefered one.


Likewise, the competence and commitment of the follower can also be cetegorized into 4 quadrants.


Development Level of the Follower

  • D4 - High Competence, High Commitment - Experienced at the job, and comfortable with their own ability to do it well. May even be more skilled than the leader.
  • D3 - High Competence, Variable Commitment - Experienced and capable, but may lack the confidence to go it alone, or the motivation to do it well / quickly.
  • D2 - Some Competence, Low Commitment - May have some relevant skills, but won't be able to do the job without help. The task or the situation may be new to them.
  • D1 - Low Competence, High Commitment - Generally lacking the specific skills required for the job in hand, but has the confidence and / or motivation to tackle it.

Similar to the leadership styles, the development levels are also situational. A person could be skilled, confident and motivated for one part of his his job, but could be less competent for another part of the job.


Blanchard and Hersey said that the Leadership Style (S1 - S4) of the leader must match with and correspond to the Development level (D1 - D4) of the follower - and it's the LEADER who adapts. By adopting the right style to suit the follower's development level, work gets done, relationships are built up, and most importantly, the follower's development level will rise to D4, to everyone's benefit.


Steps in Situational LeadershipⓇ. Process

  1. Make an overview of the main tasks per employee.
  2. Assess the employee on each task (D1 - D4).
  3. Decide on the leadership (management) style per task (S1 - S4).
  4. Discuss the situation with the employee.
  5. Make a joint plan.
  6. Follow-up, check and correct.

Strengths of the Situational LeadershipⓇ model. Benefits

  • Relatively easy to understand
  • Relatively easy to use

Limitations of the Situational LeadershipⓇ model. Disadvantages

  • The model does not distinguish between leadership and management. What is called "leadership style" is nowadays often called "management style". Compare also: Leadership Pipeline
  • Leadership is not primarily about making decisions - it is about inspiring people to change direction.
  • Leaders may indeed vary the way they inspire people to change. But this is when they have already decided on the need to change. Hence leadership style does not reduce to decision making style.
  • Focuses too exclusively on what the person in charge does.
  • Of course both leaders and managers have to behave differently in different situations. But that is just a trivial fact of life, rather than anything profound in terms of our basic understanding of what it means to lead or manage.

Assumptions of Situational LeadershipⓇ. Conditions

  • Leaders should adapt their style to the follower's maturity, based on how ready and willing the follower is to perform required tasks (that is, their competence and motivation).
  • There are four leadership styles that match the four combinations of high/low readiness and willingness.
  • The four styles suggest that leaders should put greater or less focus on the task in question and/or the relationship between the leader and the follower.
  • Presumes that leadership is about how the boss makes decisions.

Book: Paul Hersey, Kenneth H. Blanchard, Dewey E. Johnson - Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading


Special Interest Group

Join

Situational LeadershipⓇ Special Interest Group.



Special Interest Group (1139 members)

Forum

New Topic

Forum about Situational LeadershipⓇ.


Applications of Managerial Grid in Practice
I have successfully applied the model in many situations.
It allows me to adjust my management style (downward mana (...)
11
 
Leaders must have multiple skills
Leaders must face different situations which requires different tactics.So they must have multiple skills. (...)
9
 
Using Situational Leadership to Map and Support Business Units
I was looking for a methodology to use to help map 6 business units to determine the level of support to provide each bu (...)
8
 
1 comments
Situational Leadership Depending on Generation of Followers?
The following approximate categorization of generations based on birth year is widely accepted:
- Builders (1925-19 (...)
7
 
2 comments
Situational Leadership & Performance Rating
Has anyone used the situational leadership development level definitions as rating scales for a performance management p (...)
5
 
2 comments
In Situational Leadership, the Leader Determines the Situation
Trouble with Situational Leadership is: the model relies on the manager or leader to be the sole determinant of the empl (...)
5
 
4 comments
Practical Situational Leadership Examples
Who can illustrate the use of different styles of leaderships with a simple example? Thanks! (...)
4
 
3 comments
Don't like your Boss' Leadership Style? Try Situational Followership
If you feel frustrated or uninspired by your leader, you're in good company. Many people are unhappy with the leadership (...)
4
 
🔥 NEW Criticism of Situational Leadership Model
For me Hersey-Blanchard have, badly, mixed the Managerial Grid and the Tannenbaum-Schmidt Continuum.
Some descripti (...)
3
 
4 comments
Blanchard Leadership Theory is Correct
Most of the comments on shortcomings of the theory reflect the authors failure to understand the theory. Although the th (...)
3
 
Situational Communication Styles
Every person has a specific social communication style, and therefor reacts different to any goal setting by management. (...)
3
 
You need to Lead Different People Differently
I can fully agree with your statements. While I do not consider myself a "seasoned" leader, I have found that I need to (...)
3
 
Leading a New Institution
My comment is a question seeking some guidance: here is my challenge and need some perspectives on. I am part of a new i (...)
2
 
3 comments

 

Best Practices

Sign up

The top-rated topics about Situational LeadershipⓇ. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.


Commitment in Situational Leadership
The commitment to actually applying SL is crucial, but is often variable. It depends upon the job and the senior managem (...)
71
 
2 comments

Situational Leadership Activities and Games
I remember planning a situational leadership board game in 1976 as a student. Is that game still available? Who has some (...)
34
 
5 comments

Is Situational Leadership Innate in Good Managers?
Before I discovered that someone had put a name to this technique, I thought it was one of the things in the kit bag of (...)
33
 
12 comments

What's the Preferred Management Style for Handling Professionals?
What is the preferred management style for handling a team of professionals? Why? (...)
22
 
44 comments

Definition of Job Maturity and Psychological Maturity in SLT
What precisely is meant with job maturity and psychological maturity in the context of Situational Leadership Theory? Th (...)
17
 
3 comments

Little Research to Backup Situational Leadership
The SL model is appealing in its simplicity - hence, probably its attraction as a training model - but there is very lit (...)
16
 
2 comments

We Naturally Regress to our Dominant Leadership Style!
It may be "... just a trivial fact of life that leaders have to behave differently in different situations".
But an (...)
15
 
2 comments

Expert Tips

Sign up

Advanced insights about Situational LeadershipⓇ. Here you will find professional advices by experts.


Managing Very Clever People

What you should understand if you're 'managing' extremely clever people...
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones say in HBR March 2007 that to manage extremely smart key people in an organization, first of (...)

Also Adapt your Leadership Style to Society

Situational Leadership
Remember that leaders should not only adapt their style to employee competences, but also to to the changing demands of (...)

Leadership Practices Inventory by Kouzes and Posner

Common Behaviors that Successful Leaders Display
Kouzes and Posner in their (2002) book 'The Leadership Challenge' mention 5 Leadership Practices (common behaviors that (...)

How to Develop your Own Leadership Philosophy

Leadership/Management Development, Coaching, Mentoring
In an article “When should a leader be directive or empowering? How to develop your own situational theory of leadership (...)

What is the Opposite of Situational Leadership?

Leadership Development, Management Development, Coaching, Mentoring
Situational Leadership can be seen as an adaptive style. The opposite, non-adaptive, or inflexible, style of leadership (...)

Employee vs Task-oriented

Leadership, Adaptability
Based on Blanchard, in 1990, Blank, Weitzel, and Green analyzed leader task and relationship behavior in terms of Consid (...)

Situational Leadership® II

Training on SL
The Ken Blancard company is now teaching Situational Leadership® II (SLII®), a method based on three key skills: 1. Dia (...)
Information Sources

Sign up

Various sources of information regarding Situational LeadershipⓇ. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.


Situational Leadership Overview

Overview
Good overview presentation on Situational Leadership. (...)

Contingency Leadership Theories In-depth

Contingency Theory, Normative Decision Model, Situational Leadership Theory, Path-Goal Theory
This presentation covers the subject of contingency theory of leadership and situational leadership. The presentation in (...)

Intro to Situational Leadership II

Situational Leadership
Situational Leadership II is a management model managers may use to adapt their style of leading more purposeful and int (...)

Situational Leadership versus Contingency Theory

Situational Leadership, Contingency Theory, Trainings, Workshops
Dr. A. Adams sharply contrasts situational leadership theory with contingency theory: - Situation Leadership Theory: Le (...)

Measuring Psychological Maturity in Situational Leadership

Situational Leadership
Traditional scale construction procedures were used to develop an 11-item scale to measure psychological maturity. Preli (...)

Practical Communication Tips for Managers

Management Skills, Leadership Skills, Management Development, Leadership Development, Situational Leadership
As manager you need to combine professional expertise and experience with specific character traits, interpersonal and c (...)

10 Leadership Theories in a Nutshell

Leadership Theories Overview, Leadership Development, Management Development, Leadership Styles, Coaching, Mentoring
This 5-minute video gives a brief overview of 10 theories of leadership, explaining their main differences: 1. The Grea (...)

Young Steve Jobs on the Role of Managers

Management, Leadership, Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, Talent Development
This video is a nice start for any management course. Jobs shares some ideas on managers (in a high-tech environment) an (...)

Video Introduction to Leadership

First Understanding of Leadership, Trainings, Workshops
Quick visual intro to the subject of leadership by showing short impressions of: harmony, driving performance, followin (...)

Situational Leadership Diagrams

Situational Leadership
Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in (...)

Research Links

Sign up

Automatically jump to further useful sources regarding Situational LeadershipⓇ.


News Videos Presentations Books More

News

Videos

Presentations

Books

More


Compare with Blanchard and Hersey Situational LeadershipⓇ:  Leadership Styles  |  Stages of Team Development  |  Leadership Pipeline  |  Leadership Continuum  |  Hagberg Model of Personal Power  |  Managerial Grid  |  Path-Goal Theory  |  Theory X Theory Y  |  Contingency Theory  |  Competing Values Framework  |  Expectancy Theory  |  Result Oriented Management  |  Bases of Social Power  |  Seven Surprises  |  Seven Habits  |  Results-Based Leadership  |  Level 5 Leadership  |  Servant-Leadership


Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Human Resources  |  Leadership


More Management Methods, Models and Theory


Situational LeadershipⓇ and Performance ReadinessⓇ are trademarks of Leadership Studies, Inc. Copyright© 1972, 1977, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2015, Leadership Studies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Special Interest Group

Are you interested in Situational LeadershipⓇ? Sign up for free

Notify your students

Copy this into your study materials:

and add a hyperlink to:

Link to this knowledge center

Copy this HTML code to your web site:

 


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2021 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 20-4-2021. All names ™ of their owners.