Situational Approaches to Leadership

Subject: Business
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 610
Topics: Human Resources, Leadership, Management

In understanding leadership, it is imperative that the approaches used in doing the same be desirable in identifying the behaviors and traits that effective leaders have in common. It is found that the standard characteristics can be a bit elusive and there is lack of consistency because the cases vary from each other. As such, a particular situation required that a specific style of leadership be efficient in handling the job at hand. The situational or contingency theories arose to provide the guidelines to managers and other leaders the chance to examine the fit between the leader and the situation at hand. In this type, the leadership will utilize the leadership style that will be based on the leadership situation and the unique combination of factors in the circumstances as discussed below.

In the situation of being in charge of the team architects, the leadership style that would be appropriate in handling the case would be the Hersey- Blanchard situational model. Since the team of architects are highly skilled and do not necessarily follow instructions, the maturity level reflects the low directive behavior and low supportive behavior (Northouse 2015). The architects here are free thinkers with a tendency of doing things their own way and delegation (S4) is appropriate as they  require not only low directing but also low supporting  in order to carry their carry out their duties.  Delegating is useful for leaders whose followers are ready to accomplish tasks and are ready to take full responsibility for their actions since they are motivated and competent in their work.

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When running a fast food restaurant, where the employees are still teenagers who haven’t even graduated from yet from high school, the most appropriate situational leadership model used will be the directing (S1). This style is suited to this situation as it is low supportive and has high directive behavior. Since for most of the teenage employees, this is their first job, as the leader of such a group is supposed to provide specific direction and clear instructions on the activities to carried out to ensure the success of the operations undertaken. This style is best suited for this situation due to its low follower readiness level and because the follower is enthusiastic beginners who are high on commitment and low on competence (McCleskey, 2014)

When overseeing a team of software engineers who are both highly motivated as well as skilled in their line of work, the appropriate leadership style to undertake with them is the participating/ supporting model (S3). It will prove useful in this situation as it will involve low directing for the leadership and high supporting for the followers. Since the engineers firmly believe in the mission of the company and all are used to working independently, the leader will be able to share decision making with the followers, and thus the relationship is not directive anymore (Todd, et al 2014). The team of engineers will be under the cautious, but capable contributor to the decision making followers with moderate competence and commitment to the job and the participating style is be suited for the medium follower readiness level. 

All in all, it is crucial to note that in choosing the appropriate leadership style, the employees’ performance and satisfaction play a significant role. It is up to the leaders to identify the behaviors of the employees and the level of maturity about the task at hand. The leader should be able to counter for the shortcomings in the leadership style used by finding ways to make the model easier to understand and apply to the wide range of usage while at the workplace.

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  1. McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117.
  2. Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.
  3. Todd, S. L., Young, A., O’Connell, T., Hutson, G., Anderson, L., & Breunig, M. (2014, January). Situational Leadership of Outdoor Pursuits Trip Leaders: Self-Perceptions vs. Others’ Perceptions of Dominant Styles, Adaptability, and Appropriate Style Choices. In Coalition for Education in the Outdoors Twelfth Biennial Research Symposium (p. 15).
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