Situational Leadership as the Key to Effectively Managing People

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For over 25 years, major corporations and organizations throughout the world have used the concepts of Situational Leadership to improve the effectiveness of their managers. Dr. Heresy and Dr. Blanshard at Ohio State University to provide managers with a practical and simple approach to achieve the best results from their people developed one of the most outstanding leadership models.

There are many ways you can be an effective leader – there is no single “school solution” to the management process.

Real leadership means managing people fairly for mutually rewarding and productive purposes and has nothing to do with manipulation – taking unfair advantage of or influencing others for self-interest, or making people feel uncomfortable.

Motivating and controlling people toward accomplishment of planned objectives requires 3 important skills:

- understanding past behavior

– predicting future behavior

– directing, changing and controlling behavior.

Research studies indicate that effective leaders can be engaged in different types of behavior: task behavior relationship behavior. Task behavior provides guidance and direction – the leader clearly spells out duties and responsibilities to an individual or group about everything.

Relationship behavior emphasizes two-way communication with followers and exchanging information with them. This type tends to be more nonverbal than task behavior. Synonyms for relationship behavior are supporting, facilitating, and encouraging.

Some good leaders manage to combine both types of behavior in their work, though all of them have different leadership styles.

Leadership style is defined as the leader’s patterns of behavior – including both words and actions as perceived by others.

There are 4 leadership styles:

- High task, low relationship behavior (the leader provides specific instructions and supervises followers closely, sometimes it’s called “telling”)

- High task, high relationship behavior (the leader explains decisions and provides followers with opportunities for clarification – “selling”)

- High relationship, low task behavior (the leader shares ideas with followers and facilitates decision making – “participating”)

- Low relationship, high task behavior (the leader turns over responsibility for decisions and implementation to followers – “delegating”)

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