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on 21 November 2013

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Anne Sullivan
Clara Barton
Oprah Winfrey
Historical Context
The shift to introducing behavioral components in leadership began with Chester Barnard (1938), who created a paradigm change from industrial productivity (extrinsic motivation) to communication of goals and worker motivation (Hatch, 1997). Following his lead, Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey created a model for Situational Leadership in the late 1960's that allowed leaders to analyze the needs of the situation and then adopt the most appropriate leadership style. It was originally introduced as the "Life Cycle Theory of Leadership" and changed in the 70's to The Situational Leadership Theory.
1. The Situational Leadership Model or Theory was adapted from the Life Cycle Theory of Leadership developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the mid 1970’s. (Blanchard, Hersey, 2001). This theory portends that instead of one universal style of leadership, “successful leaders should change their leadership styles based on the maturity of the people they’re leading and the details of the task” (Mind Tools, 2013). The Situational Leadership model is a continuously changing style of leadership which is a huge factor in its success; the type of leadership displayed alters by the situation presented. In this model, effective leaders follow three basic steps: Identify the most important tasks or priorities at hand; diagnose the maturity level of the subordinates; and choose the appropriate leadership style (The Situational Leadership Model).
1. Directing: Leader must direct by giving explicit directions and making expectations clear. The followers' ability and maturity are sub-par.
2. Coaching: Leader defines tasks but the followers’ input is taken into account. The leader listens more and leads followers to autonomy. The followers have a willingness but lack the ability for the task.
3. Supporting: Leader finds out why followers are unwilling to perform and finds ways to gain cooperation. Followers have a high level of ability but a low willingness to complete tasks.
4. Delegating: Leader delegate and believe the followers will rise to the occasion. Followers have high ability and high willingness.

Blanchard, K. H., & Hersey, P. (2001). A Leadership Theory for Educational Administrators.
Education, 90(4), 303-310.

The Situational Leadership Model: Adapted from the model by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey
in Management of Organizational Behavior, ’96. (ND). Retrieved from

Mind Tools (2013). The Hershey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory: Choosing the Right
Leadership Style for the Right People. Retrieved from Mind Tools website:

Stone, Gregory A., & Patterson, Kathleen. (2005). The History of Leadership Focus.
Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, August, pp. 1-23.

Famous women who exemplify Situational Leadership
Paul Hersey
Key Figures & Components
Ken Blanchard
Chester Barnard
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Movies with Situational Leadership Exemplified
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Full transcript