Organizations need realize that all individuals in a workgroup do not compare in terms of maturity and competence levels. Situational leadership requires a leader to understand the level of the follower in the development process and his/her predominant approach before determining the best actions in a particular situation (Peus, Braun, & Frey, 2013). Such actions can either be directive or supportive. Directive behavior entails communicating to the followers by showing them the procedure of accomplishing a particular task and providing regular feedback at the end (Northouse, 2016 p. 92). Supportive behavior, on the other hand, involves recognizing their efforts, listening, inspiring and engaging followers in policy-making decisions. Supportive responses include asking for employee contribution, resolving issues, recognition, distributing information, and enagaging employees (Northouse, 2016 p. 93). The situational leadership style is determined by the extent of directive and supportive effort given by a supervisor to an employee. This paper provides an analysis of situational leadership using my upcoming project case.
I will be working with colleagues that have different issues in my project that will begin shortly. As the pioneer, I will have to adapt to these unique issues for the success and timely completion of the project. This requires an understanding of the different situations and the development of a culture that empowers people to unite with a common motivation of ensuring the success of the venture (Allio, 2013). It is important to listen and attend to the needs of the followers as this creates a collective intelligence which is a crucial resource for the project. Communication is equally important for a leader who is impacting the direction of an enterprise (Chamberlin, 2013). Leaders must inspire and motivate the followers frequently through the stories about the past, the present and the prospects of the organization. In so doing, they empower their supporters to discover the importance of their work. Additionally, the leaders must manage every employee individualistically based on their perceived personal needs.
Therefore, the situational leadership approach focuses on leadership in different circumstances. The model purports that effective leadership requires a leader to adapt to the demands posed by various situations (Northouse, 2016 p.93). The model highlights that all employees go through a development cycle starting from D1 to D4 (Dunbar, 2011). Different leadership styles should be utilized at each level to prevent employees from getting stuck. D4s are the best performers with a high degree of commitment and competency. They go up against difficulties, work autonomously and are regularly promoted first (Dunbar, 2011). In a situation where a team member has other commitments and is not available, style 4 (delegating) approach is the most appropriate. It is used in cases where the employees are enthusiastic and able to complete the task. Leaders should delegate in such situations since the worker can do the job and is highly motivated to accomplish it.
According to Dunbar (2011), D3s are highly competent (they know the work) but they have reduced commitment to the job. Therefore, in a situation where two of the team members want to work together to accomplish a particular task, style 3 (supporting) leadership approach is most appropriate. It is best applied when the workers have high capabilities but little commitment to the job at hand. Supportive leadership applies when an employee knows the job but lacks a consistent level of engagement to the job. In this case, the leader does not need to worry about coaching the individual but instead should be concerned with finding the reasons for the not doing the task. After finding out, the leader should solve then and find a way to motivate them to accomplish the task. Style 3 can create a shared decision and two-way communications that make the employee feel appreciated thus motivate them to work (Stenmark & Mumford, 2011).
A lazy team member who needs regular motivation to work is a D2. D2s possess some level of competence or skills but have little or no commitment (Dunbar, 2011). They require style 1 (directing) of leadership where the leader determines the roles and tasks for the follower. He/she provides close supervision and builds strong relationships to encourage willingness and improve capacities. The fifth team member who is ready but anxious to start work is at Developmental Level One (D1). D1s are less competent and but have a high level of commitment. They are usually excited to finish their tasks despite being new to them (Dunbar, 2011). Style 2 (coaching) can help such followers to adapt to the project requirements. Leaders should provide direction to such members by selling their ideas to them as they have little experience in the job. Also, D1s need support and praise to build their self-esteem as well as consultation before decision-making to establish commitment. The leader should listen, advice, and help them to gain the necessary skills for independent completion of the task (Stenmark & Mumford, 2011).
In conclusion, organizations face with different situations. Therefore, they need to realize that all individuals in a workgroup do not compare in maturity and competence levels. Therefore, the leadership style used is influenced by the situational variables affecting the organization. The situational leadership model presents the best leadership approaches in different circumstances. This model requires an administrator to evaluate the development or maturity level of an employee and the state of affairs to adjust their management method accordingly for the realization of best outcomes. This model proposes coaching for Developmental Level 1 (D1) employees, directing for D2s, supporting for D3s and delegation for D4s. This will ensure greater flexibility in the execution of organizational tasks and promotes maturity of the followers to achieve particular goals in different situations leading to the success and timely completion of the project.
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Chamberlin, J. (2013). Situationally-speaking. Management Services, 57(2), 4247. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Dunbar, L. (2011). Leadership: Situational Leadership The 4Ds of Your Employees | New Directions Consulting. Newdirectionsconsulting.com. Retrieved 9 September 2016, from http://www.newdirectionsconsulting.com/leadership-engagement/situational-leadership-the-4ds-of-your-employees-2/
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th Ed.). Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage
Peus, C., Braun, S., & Frey, D. (2013). Situation-based measurement of the full range of leadership modeldevelopment and validation of a situational judgment test. The Leadership Quarterly, 24(5), 777795. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Stenmark, C. K., & Mumford, M. D. (2011). Situational impacts on leader ethical decision-making. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(5), 94255. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
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