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Situational leadership for productivity through people

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Continued from last Monday




We saw last week how the two management gurus, Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey interpreted their secret to success of leadership. Through their popular theory called situational leadership, they advise managers that there is no best style of leadership. The most effective leaders, they conclude, adapt their style to fit the situation and group.

The type of situational leadership style to adopt depends on the leadership requirements (leadership style) to meet the needs of a group (group style). Situational leadership considers four leadership styles and four group styles.



S1 – Tell. It is similar to the top-down leadership style based on one-way communication. The leader sets the agenda, defines the roles of group members and assigns the tasks for getting the job done. A weakness of this style is lack of employee participation and empowerment and thus motivation, which are factors shown to lead to lower performance.


S2 – Sell. It provides a two-way communication path to the leader who allows input from other stakeholders. Since the stakeholders help to set the agenda, they are more likely to support the process and be motivated to meet goals.


S3 – Participate. It allows for employee participation. This is more of a two-way bottom-up model. Stakeholders have a say in how tasks will be accomplished.


S4 – Delegate. It is the employee empowerment model. Decisions are made from the bottom-up. Employees are empowered and motivated, which are factors shown to produce higher performance.
As you can see, styles S1 and S2 are focused on getting the task done. Styles S3 and S4 are more concerned with developing team members’ abilities to work independently.



Maturity levels

According to Hersey and Blanchard, knowing when to use each style is largely dependent on the maturity of the person or group you’re leading. They break maturity down into four different levels:

M1 – Low competence, low commitment.  At this level of maturity members are at the bottom level of the scale. They lack the skills or confidence to work on their own and they often need to be pushed to take the task on.

M2 – Low competence, high commitment. At this level, followers might be willing to work on the task but they still don’t have the skills to complete it successfully.

M3 – High competence, low commitment. Here, followers are ready and willing to help with the task. They have more skills than the M2 group but they’re still not confident in their abilities.

M4 – High competence, High commitment. These followers are able to work on their own. They have high confidence and strong skills and they’re committed to the task.


The Hersey-Blanchard model maps each maturity level to each leadership style, as shown below:

M1:--S1: Telling/directing
M2:--S2: Selling/coaching
M3:--S3: Participating/supporting
M4--S4: Delegating


Process

To use this model, you must reflect on the maturity of individuals within your team. The table above shows which leadership style Hersey and Blanchard recommend for people with that level of maturity. All teams and all team members, aren’t created equal. Hersey and Blanchard argue that leaders are more effective when they use a leadership style based on the individuals or groups they’re leading.

Start by identifying whom you’re leading. Are your followers knowledgeable about the task? Are they willing and excited to do the work? Rate them on the M1 - M4 maturity scale and then use the leadership style that’s appropriate for that rating.




To keep the monkey off of your back and develop highly competent and committed employees, learn motivational leadership




Situational leadership is a model and tools to help leaders read their employees. Foremost, it helps leaders determine the development level of employees. Once this is ascertained, the communication model can be developed to support a high-performance organisation. The coach needs a full set of tools to help employees achieve high performance, including active listening, providing feedback and coaching and facilitating problem solving. Accountability is key to ensuring both employees and leaders perform their goals.

To empower employees, as a leader, you want to develop them into highly competent and highly committed employees. When you do not have high-performing employees, then you have to manage from top-down. Only bottom-up management creates empowered employees and frontline managers who motivate others.

Situational leadership is a model; it should be supported with ongoing leadership skill development. To keep the monkey off of your back and develop highly competent and committed employees, learn motivational leadership. Emotional intelligence may be another missing link in your productivity, retention, team building and customer loyalty programmes.


Leaders

Leaders are essentially people who know their goals and have the power to influence the thoughts and actions of others to garner their support and cooperation to achieve these goals. A leader needs to be constantly informed of the motivational needs of the employees since it is one of the simple factors of success cited for a motivated workforce.

The discussed four leadership styles can be used as per the motivational need of the subordinates. For example, for a supervisor who has been recently recruited and who boasts of an illustrious career graph would need more responsibilities and opportunities to prove himself i.e. delegating to remain motivated. On the other hand a fresher joining the organisation may look at more telling and a little participative approach to keep him motivated. A leader has to carefully evaluate and then decide on the right approach for the subordinate.


Vision

Apart from this, a leader has to provide a vision to the followers; it is the vision which helps them direct and redirect their efforts towards it. In the recent times where changes are rapid in the organisations, the leaders have to be fully sensitized to what style would work the best, sometimes they might have to use a combination of styles to address issues effectively.

For example, for a new change that is being introduced, the initial approach has to be selling, where people are educated about the change, the next step becomes telling, where the people have to be instructed as to how the change would be carried out.


The type of situational leadership style to adopt depends on the leadership requirements (leadership style) to meet the needs of a group (group style)





When the change starts settling in and people adopt it, they style can become participating, where the people get an opportunity to partner in the change and take it ahead. The last change would then become delegating when the change can now be carried on by the others. The ultimate aim of any leader is to smoothly arrive at a stage where he/she can easily delegate tasks without worrying about its completion or effectiveness.

(Lionel Wijesiri, a corporate director with over 25 years’ senior managerial experience, can be contacted at lionwije@live.com)
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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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See Kapruka's top selling online shopping categories such as Toys, Grocery, Flowers, Birthday Cakes, Fruits, Chocolates, Clothing and Electronics. Also see Kapruka's unique online services such as Money Remittence,News, Courier/Delivery, Food Delivery and over 700 top brands. Also get products from Amazon & Ebay via Kapruka Gloabal Shop into Sri Lanka.

 


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