The Hersey Blanchard Model of Leadership, otherwise known as situational leadership theory (SLT), is a contingency theory that focuses on followers’ readiness (Robbins and Coulter, 2005). Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed their situational leadership theory back in the 1960’s to respond to the pressing needs of many organizations. The fundamental theory behind their thinking is that there is no one way to manage a group of employees. Leaders adjust their management styles based on the response of their followers (Schermerhorn, 2010). A manager can adapt their techniques depending on how willing their followers are to perform a task. In the situational leadership model, there are four quadrants, each of which depends on task and relationship behaviors (Robbins and Coulter, 2005). The four leadership styles are telling (high task-low relationship), selling (high task-high relationship), participating (low task-high relationship), and delegating (low task-low relationship). The first leadership style, telling, is very authoritative because the leaders tell his followers what they should do and when. The focus is on completing the task and keeping a healthy relationship does not come into consideration at all. Leaders of this style are highly motivated to succeed and have very little time for anyone else. However, this style may be beneficial where followers are unsure of what is required of them (Schermerhorn, 2010). The second leadership style, selling, is similar to the previous style, except it is more open to suggestions. This style of leadership is still highly motivated but wants to make sure that his followers are in a healthy working environment. The employees’ needs are just as important as work production. The next leadership style, participating, focuses on everyone sharing and constructing ideas so that work productivity can be increased. However, the leader still acts as a facilitator and provides direction to the group (Robbins and Coulter, 2005). Followers of this type of leader are sure of what their responsibilities and do not need constant supervision in their tasks. The final leadership style, delegating, is where the leader does not really provide any support to his followers. There is very little direction and the employees’ needs are not taken care of. The total responsibility of a project is placed upon the followers. But, this hands-off leadership style could be useful in situations where the followers already know what is expected of them and they need very little assistance. A strong leader is someone who has authority over others and can influence them in a positive manner. There is not one way to be a good leader because it all comes down to the personalities of those who are being led. Also, a good leader should be flexible enough to change when they realize that something is not going to plan. Leaders should be responsible for their actions and also their followers’ actions.
Robbins, S.P. & Coulter, M. (2005) Management. 8th ed. United States, Pearson Prentice Hall.
Schermerhorn, J.R. (2010) Introduction to Management. 10th ed. Asia, John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd.
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