Situational Leadership

Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard proposed a theory of Situational Leadership. This was designed to address the problem of managers not matching the right levels of maturity, and leadership skills, for the right jobs. In effect, hiring people with the wrong levels of leadership, and maturity, can be worse than hiring no one at all. Looking at this issue, one can see the merits, and the problems of making the right or wrong choice.

  1. Proper Manager
  2. Weak Manager
  3. Benefits and Consequences

Proper Manager

A new employee has been trained and shown the proper way to do a job. The manager leaves to do other work, and comes back a few hours later, and it is not only done, but other work is done as well. That is how it should work. With the right leadership skills, and the right maturity, the Manager is able to direct the employee more effectively. They can tell what they are looking at, and how that person is likely able to respond.

A leader needs to be able to direct and to lead. Hersey and Blanchard, set levels on their theory, measuring the levels of leadership and maturity, independently. Such as an “S1” is someone that has to be in constant control. While an “S4” knows how to delegate power, and who to delegate it to. An “M1” is low maturity, and will likely be an “S1” as well. While an “M4” is high maturity, and will usually be an “S4” as well. For jobs that cannot be managed all the time, an “S4”or “S3” and “M4”or “M3” would be the best choice.

Weak Manager

Taking the example from above; the work is not done, and in fact nothing is done. This is an immature and low leadership skilled employee. This is the type of person that an “S1” and “M1” would likely hire. The reason being, that the Manager would be needed to give constant directions, and would need to be in control of. A low maturity manager will likely hire people that will allow them to be in control, and constantly needed. They would have little time for other things that need to be done. Thus making them a weak manager, and an ineffective one as well. In operations that the manager is needed to do many things, they would be problematic.

Benefits and consequences

The point here is that a manager is needed to operate in the best interest of the business. Selecting the right manager for the right job is crucial. In some businesses, a weak manager is fine. But in many, more mature and stronger leadership skills, are needed.

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