Situational leadership is defined as a model or theory where the leader puts its onus on empowering the followers to get the job done. The situational leader will look at the circumstances and the individuals who are involved in the process and then evaluate the situation to create an action plan.
Meaning of situational leadership
Situational leadership is described as an adaptive style that encourages leaders to take stock of their team members and make adjustments as per their needs and desires.
It does not ask the leader to put his onus on workplace factors instead suggests them to adapt their styles as per their follower’s ability and style.
The situational leadership model categorically states that it is impossible to find one leadership style that is better than the other. Hence, it is better to encourage relationship-relevant and task-relevant leadership that is flexible and adaptive.
Leaders should be encouraged to look for the factors that are affecting the environment and then choose the way they will lead their team or followers.
The maturity level of team or followers is separated into three distinct categories: low, high, and moderate. The high maturity is referred to as a confident and capable workforce who has the experience to work on their own.
Low maturity is referred to the employees or workforce that is enthusiastic but not skilled to complete the task on their own. Moderate maturity is itself subdivided into two categories.
The first is referred to a workforce that is capable but lacks the required confidence to own responsibility and the second to the people who are confident enough but lack the zeal to tackle the job.
Situational leadership is a matter of choice for organizations that want to develop a group of people for the necessary work and establish a feeling of togetherness so that the method can bring out the best in the workforce.
Styles of situational leadership
Situational leadership refers to the following four leadership styles
1. Delegating Style
This situational leadership style is most suited for followers or team members with high maturity levels. The members are experienced and have the necessary confidence to do the job on their own and in a proper manner.
They are willing to take responsibility for their actions hence the leader permits them to take task decisions
2. Telling Style
This situational leadership style is most suited for followers with low maturity levels. The leader will have to give precise directions and supervise it from time to time.
The leader uses the telling style with members who are enthusiastic and willing to work but lack the proper skills to complete the job by themselves
3. Selling Style
This situational leadership style is most suited for followers with moderate maturity levels. The leader uses selling style on his followers who can do the work but are unwilling to own the responsibility of doing it on their own.
The leader is persuasive in his efforts by explaining and giving directions for the task.
4. Participating Style
This situational leadership style is most suited for followers with moderate maturity levels. It puts its onus on shared decisions and ideas as the leader uses the participating style with the followers who are experienced but who are not confident to tackle the task by themselves.
8. Characteristics of situational leadership
The basic characteristics of situational leadership are-
- Adept at change
- Ability to diagnose
- Good at communicating
- Clear vision
6. Functions of situational leadership
The functions of situational leadership are as follows-
- Every human being is different from the other in terms of his experience, work capabilities, thinking the process, and owning responsibilities. A situational leader accepts this fact and works with every follower in his team individually. He recognizes the need to be flexible and assigns job as per the ability of his follower and not what he expects them to do.
- The situational leader tries to create an environment where all team members are encouraged to come forward and do their bit. A situation is created where the team members are comfortable and can easily gel with others to reach a positive outcome. The situational leadership theory helps the leader to motivate his team so that they feel satisfied and happy in their work environment.
- The situation leadership does not lump all its members in one single group and allocate work as a whole instead, it looks at the individual situation as well as the workforce. Its goal is to evaluate the competency level of the team members, boost their motivational level, and allocate work as per their abilities. It is a unique approach that has the power to increase and improve team efficiency and productivity.
- A situational leader needs to be on his toes if he wants to taste the fruit of success. He must be receptive to assess any change in the environment and also in the behavior of his team members. Some days can be stressful for specific individuals, and the leader needs to recognize and adopt an approach that will help him to stay productive.
- Situational leadership is all about flexibility and intuitiveness. It offers the members a chance to find their rhythm so that petty issues do not have an impact on the team and organizational goals.
- The situational leadership puts its onus on short-term needs and requirements. It opts for training scenarios that will boost the efficiency levels of the members. It offers opportunities that will ensure its growth.
Advantages of situational leadership
The advantages of situational leadership are as follows-
- The situational leader can vary his style as per the need of the hour
- It is a simple method that involves lots of flexibility and intuitiveness
- Situational leadership creates a relaxed and comfy environment for the team members
- It takes into account the various developmental phases
- There is a greater chance of open communication
- The situational leadership helps in building constructive relationships between the team leader and team members
Disadvantages of situational leadership
The disadvantages of situational leadership are as follows-
- Every manager cannot adapt the mantle of situational leadership with ease because he is not programmed to make changes as per the needs of his workforce
- Situational leadership puts its focus more on short-term goals and immediate needs rather than long-term goals.
- Defining the maturity levels of all the team members is a complicated task that needs patience, time and lots of effort
- The situational leadership has proved ineffective in task-oriented environments where you have to follow a specific set of regulations, policies, and rules that are inflexible.
- If a situational leader misreads any situation, the task will crumble down like a house of cards
- Situation leadership is based on the fact that the leader has to shift his approach as per the need of the hour and it can create confusion
- It encourages corporate dependency
- The situational leadership theory is as strong as its leader. If the leader is not up to the task, then it can create chaos in the existing scenario