What is the Leadership Continuum? Description
According to the Leadership Continuum model of R. Tannenbaum and W.H. Schmidt
(1973) an autocratic leader will likely make his own decisions. He
will not delegate to his subordinates. Whereas a more democratic leader
(laissez-faire manager) gives subordinates a greater degree of delegation
In 1938, Lewin and Lippitt proposed
classifications of leaders. These were based on how much involvement leaders
placed onto task and relationship needs. These types of leadership behavior
were expressed in 1973 along a continuum by Tannenbaum & Schmidt. The spectrum
ranges from boss-centered (task) to subordinate-centered (relationship).
Forces to consider for Leaders
To choose the most appropriate style and use of authority, the leader should
take into consideration:
Forces in the manager: belief in team member participation and
confidence in capabilities of members. Compare:
Theory of Needs
Forces in the subordinate person: subordinates who are independent,
tolerant of ambiguity, competent, identify with organizational goals.
Forces in the situation:
- the team has requisite knowledge.
- the team has organizational values and traditions.
- the team works effectively.
Time pressure: need for immediate decision under pressure. Mitigates
Advantages of the Leadership Continuum Model. Benefits
Gives managers a range of choices for involvement.
Presents criteria for involvement and delegation.
Focuses the decision maker on relevant criteria (e.g. forces & time).
Emphasizes employee development and empowerment.
Is heuristic. Encourages research to see how effective delegation may
be under the model.
Limitations of the Leadership Continuum. Disadvantages
Involves only the initial step of assigning a task to someone, not the
following processes that may determine the effectiveness of the outcome.
Assumes that the manager has sufficient information to determine the
disposition to himself or to the team.
Assumes "neutral" environment without social bonds or politics.
Simplifies complex decisions towards a two-polar dimension; more simple
than the reality is.
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Compare with Leadership Continuum:
Path-Goal Theory |
| Leadership Styles
| Level 5 Leadership
| Theory X Theory Y
| Contingency Theory
Values Framework |
EPIC ADVISERS |
Levels of Culture
| Culture Types
| Expectancy Theory
Result Oriented Management
| Hierarchy of Needs
| Two Factor Theory
| Theory of Needs
| Bases of Social
| Seven Habits |
Organization Cultures |
| Stages of Team
Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills | Decision-making & Valuation | Human
Resources | Leadership
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