Leadership Styles is a concept that has been widely studied. Various scholars at different times have tried to understand leaders and styles of leadership. The wide attention given to leaders and leadership testify to the importance of leaders in the society. Leaders are found at different areas of the society.
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They give directions to the society on various issues. Leadership is very important in organizations. Leaders within an organization are expected to offer leadership on various issues experienced in an organization. Just like there are many leaders, the styles of leadership also vary.
Conventionally, leadership styles are categorized in various groups such as transformational versus translational leadership and authoritative, democratic and free reign style. Although these are the major categories of leadership, styles of leadership are known to vary from one leader to the other (Sharlow 2006, para 2).
Leaders can change the way they behave, their personality and leadership style. Situational leadership style, developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey explains the ability of leaders to adapt their leadership style to different situations.
Leadership style can be explained as the approach that an individual take in leading others. It involves the ways in which leaders motivate, direct and interact with their followers (Sharlow 2006, para. 3). Leadership has been considered as a major factor in the success of an organization in the recent past.
Effective leadership enables an organization to meet its goals and gain competitive advantage (Hughes, Ginnett & Curphy 2006, p. 81). Organizations’ environments have changed significantly in the recent past. To be effective, leaders have to be flexible to various leadership situations.
They must be able to deal with their subordinates in different ways depending on situations. Effective leadership depicts the manner in which a leader is able to adjust their style of leadership depending on the people being led and the respective missions. Situational leadership proposes four styles that a leader can adopt depending on situation. These include directing, supporting, coaching and delegating (Cooley 2001, para. 3).
Situational leadership is considered to be a function of leader’s personality, group personality and situation. It is represented by the formula: L=f (LP, GP, S) (Cooley 2001, para. 2). This implies that leadership style vary with personality of the leader, personality of subordinate and the situation.
Group personality and situations vary frequently. The personality of the group may vary with education, experience and other factors in subordinates. Leadership situations on the other hand vary depending on the missions and other internal and external factors. An effective leader must therefore be able to adjust to these factors by assuming the most appropriate leadership style.
Leaders can be able to change their behavior. Using situational leadership style, leaders can be able to adjust their leadership style depending on leadership situations as well as nature of subordinate. The four leadership styles can be appropriate at different situations (Cooley 2001, para. 5).
Ability of a leader to choose the most appropriate style for a situation determines leadership success. For instance, when dealing with inexperienced subordinate, a leader can adopt directing leadership style. Through this style, leaders provide direct instructions on what is to be done and follows it up to ensure that the instructions are adhered to.
After the subordinates have gained a considerable experience, a leader can use coaching style where lever of follow up is reduced. Depending on the confidence of the leader on the subordinate, supporting and delegating styles can be adopted.
Currently, the business environment has become very competitive. In order to survive in this environment, it is vital for firm’s management team to consider developing and sustaining their competitive advantage. Leadership is one factors affecting competitive advantage.
Organizations with effective leaders are able forge their way in the competitive environment thus becoming successful. Situational leadership style is one of the most effective leadership styles in the changing business environment. By incorporating this style, a leader can be able to apply the most appropriate leadership style depending on situations.
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Cooley, R. 2001. Leadership in an action, not a word. Web.
Hughes, R., Ginnett, R. & Curphy, G., 2006, Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience. (5th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Sharlow, B. 2006. Situational Leadership. Web.