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Situational Leadership Theory

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Carla Guerriero

on 1 August 2013

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Transcript of Situational Leadership Theory

Situational Leadership
Situational Leadership:
1969: Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard introduce their "Life Cycle Theory of Leadership". (p. 26). It built upon Bill Reddin's "3-D Leadership Model" which considered the "situational demands" of management. (Reddin's 3D, 2013).

1977: Blanchard and Hersey further develop and rename their theory the "Situational Leadership Theory". (p. 189).
Professor of Management and Leadership Studies, Paul Hersey (1931-2012), left, and Kenneth Blanchard, author of "The One Minute Manager" (b. 1939).
The theory of Situational Leadership asserts that "there is no single best style of leadership for all situations."
(MBA Brief, 2013).

Instead, an effective leader "accurately diagnoses situations and adopts the appropriate style of leadership according to the needs [and maturity] of each individual or group."

(New Jersey, 2002, p. 279).

What is
Situational Leadership?
Development Levels
When selecting the appropriate leadership style for any given situation, the Situational Leader will primarily
consider the "task-relevant maturity" or "Development Level" of the individual or group that they are leading.

The Development Levels are numbered from D1 to D4.

The "Development Level" or "Task-Relevant Maturity" of an individual consists of:

Job Maturity or "Competence" - "the capacity or ability of the individual to perform the job."


Psychological Maturity or "Commitment" - "the motivational
state of the person given the individual's level of self-esteem
and confidence."

(Blanchard, 2001, p. 4; Graeff, 1983, p. 285).
(Blanchard, 2001, p. 4).
Leadership Styles
The Situational Leader will then "match the leadership style that is appropriate to an individual's development level at each stage of development on a specific goal or task. The leader provides the direction and support that an individual needs in order to move along the development continuum".

The various leadership styles are called: Delegating, Supporting, Coaching, and Directing.
(Blanchard, 2001, p. 4).
(Blanchard, 2001, p. 11).
Jimmy Dugan: A Situational Leader
In the motion picture, "A League of Their Own", Tom Hanks plays Jimmy Dugan, the surly, crude, alcoholic coach of the Racine Peaches, a professional women's baseball team.

In his first coaching encounter with Evelyn, a sensitive member of the team, he clearly is not acting as a Situational Leader. He does not take into account her Development Level, as he lashes out on her in his signature brash, insensitive management style.
(Abbot & Marshall, 1992).
However, in his next encounter with Evelyn, several games later, it's clear that Jimmy has modified his management style to match her development level.
(Abbot & Marshall, 1992).
By changing his management style, Jimmy Dugan was on his way to becoming a Situational Leader and helping his team members to be "magnificent". This is the goal of Situational Leadership as expressed by Blanchard in this quote:
"I think people want to be magnificent.

It is the job of the leader to bring out that magnificence in people and to create an environment where they feel safe and supported and ready to do the best job possible in accomplishing key goals.

This responsibility is a sacred trust that should not be violated.

The opportunity to guide others to their fullest potential is an honor and one that should not be taken lightly.

As leaders, we hold the lives of others in our hands.

These hands need to be gentle and caring and always available for support." (2001, p. 1).
Abbot, E. (Producer) and Marshall, P. (Director). (1992). A League of Their Own. [Motion Picture]. USA: Columbia Pictures. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/user/864drums?feature=watch

Blanchard, K.H. (2001). Situational Leadership II: The Article. Retrieved from http://wed.siu.edu/faculty/BPutnam/566/Situational_Leadership_Article.pdf

Graeff, C. L. (1983). The Situational Leadership Theory: A Critical View. The Academy of Management Review, 8 (2), 285-291.

Hersey, P. and Blanchard, K.H. (1977). Management of Organizational Behavior 3rd Edition – Utilizing Human Resources. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Hersey, P. and Blanchard, K.H. (1969). Life Cycle Theory of Leadership. Training and Development Journal, 23 (5), 26-34.

MBA Brief: What is Situational Leadership? (2013). Retrieved from http://www.mbabrief.com/what_is_situational_leadership.asp

New Jersey Department of Education. (2002). Resource Manual for Intervention and Referral Services. Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Department of Education. Retrieved from http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/irs

Reddin’s 3D Leadership Model. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.wjreddin.co.uk/content/14/reddin-s-3-d-leadership-model
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