Situational leadership is an adaptive style of leadership that allows managers to make decisions based on what the organization needs in particular circumstances. According to the leadership theorist Ken Blanchard, “in the past, a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders can no longer lead solely based on positional power” (cited in Spahr, 2015, para. 1). Therefore, situational leadership is a model of choice for leaders that need to develop teams and workgroups, encourage effective rapport and bring out the best qualities in workers, as well as use the same adaptive style of leadership across all organizational units based on their needs and skills.
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As mentioned by Allio (2012), leaders usually hold positions of authority, and thus they have the potential to improve the likelihood of success through motivating the staff, rewarding exemplary behaviors, and communicating the values of the organization both by example and symbolically. If to explain how the situational approach to leadership can help managers approach the individual outlooks, the mentioned strategies can be implemented with regards to each employee separately.
For example, regarding the employee that has a reputation for being lazy, the manager should invest into increasing the employees’ motivation; as to the team member that is ready to start a project immediately, his or her attitude should be rewarded with positive feedback; concerning the two team members that only want to work together, the manager should communicate the values of the organization that focus on teamwork and not the interests of two people, and so on.
Applying the situational leadership approach can be useful for resolving the problem of having workers with different individual outlooks. Such individual outlooks are classified as situational variables, which include performance pressure, interpersonal conflict, threats to self-efficacy, ethical issues, the authority of people involved in interactions, autonomy, and dimensions of ethicality (Stenmark & Mumford, 2011).
Ethicality is the most important point when dealing with a situation where employees have different outlooks on a team project. It is important to preserve the integrity of each employee while making sure that the organizational goals are met when completing the team project. It is important to develop a unique and individualized approach by using situational leadership; also, the team leader can use quick situational judgment assessments to determine workers’ job-related skills and knowledge (Peus, Braun, & Frey, 2013).
In the case study scenario, the group leader is presented with a challenge of applying the situational leadership approach to managing employees with different individual outlooks while making sure that the project is completed. In the case of the employee that is not available for a few days, the team leader should negotiate a schedule for subsequent assignments associated with the team project’s completion. The member of the team that is known for laziness should be given an assignment and encouraged to do it in time.
The two members that want to work together should also be given an assignment and instructed to look after the progress of the employee known for laziness. The fifth team member should also be given an assignment and advised to communicate and collaborate with the other three employees that are also working on their tasks. In this situation, the needs and desires of employees should be met; however, the leader can encourage collaboration between employees to facilitate the spirit of teamwork and mutual effort.
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Allio, R. (2012). Leaders and leadership – many theories, but what advice is reliable? Strategy & Leadership, 41(1), 4-14.
Peus, C., Braun, S., & Frey, D. (2013). Situation-based measurement of the full range of leadership model – development and validation of a situational judgment test. The Leadership Quarterly, 24, 777-795.
Spahr, P. (2015). What is situational leadership? How flexibility leads to success. Web.
Stenmark, C., & Mumford, M. (2011). Situational impacts on leader ethical decision-making. The Leadership Quarterly, 22, 942-955.