Life Cycle Leadership

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Perhaps the best model for analyzing leadership in a project management environment was developed by Hersey and Blanchard.11 The model, as shown in Figure 5-9, is the life-cycle theory of leadership. Hersey and Blanchard contend that leadership styles must change according to the maturity of the employees, with maturity defined as job-related experience, willingness to accept job responsibility, and desire to achieve. This definition of maturity is somewhat different from other behavioral management definitions, which define maturity as age or emotional stability.

As shown in Figure 5-9, the subordinates enter the organization in quadrant S1, which is high task and low relationships behavior. In this quadrant, the leadership style is almost pure task-oriented behavior and is an autocratic approach,

11 Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard, Management of Organizational Behavior (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), p. 165.

Figure 5-9. Expanded Situational Leadership Model. Adapted from Paul Hersey, Situational Selling (Escondido, Calif.: Center for Leadership Studies, 1985), p. 35. Reproduced by permission of the Center for Leadership Studies.

where the leader's main concern is the accomplishment of the objective, often with very little concern The leader is very forceful and relies heavily on his own abilities and judgment. Other people's opinio Blanchard assume that, in the initial stage, there is anxiety, tension, and confusion among new employ inappropriate.

In quadrant S2, employees begin to understand their tasks and the leader tries to develop strong behav of trust and understanding between the leader and subordinates becomes a driving force for the strong although the leader begins utilizing behavioral relationships, there still exists a strong need for high ta

Figure 5-10.

Personality and situational factors that influence effective leadership. Source. James A. F. Stoner, Management, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc. Used by permission.

Figure 5-10.

Personality and situational factors that influence effective leadership. Source. James A. F. Stoner, Management, 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall Inc. Used by permission.

well, since employees may not have achieved the level of competency to assume full responsibility.

Quadrant S3 is often regarded as pure relationship behavior, where the leader is perhaps more interes gaining the respect of the employees than in achieving the objectives. Referent power becomes extrer important. This behavior can be characterized by delegation of authority and responsibility (often excessive), participative management, and group decision making. Hersey and Blanchard believe thai this phase, employees no longer need directives and are knowledgeable enough about the job and self motivated to the extent that they are willing to assume more responsibility for the task. Therefore, the leader can try to straighten his relationships with subordinates.

In quadrant S4, employees are experienced in the job, confident about their own abilities, and trusted handle the work themselves. The leader demonstrates low task and low relationship behavior as the employees mature.

This type of life-cycle approach to leadership is extremely important to project managers, because it implies that effective leadership must be dynamic and flexible rather than static and rigid (see Figure 10). Effective leaders are neither pure task or relationship behavioralists, but maintain a balance betw them. However, in time of crisis, a leader may be required to demonstrate a pure behavioral style or a task style.

In pure project management, the situation is even more complex. Line managers have sufficient time to develop a meaningful relationship with subordinates to the point that they get to know each other quite well. The line manager can then "train" his subordinates to adapt to the line manager's leadership style.

Project managers, on the other hand, are under a severe time constraint and may have to develop a different leadership style for each team member. To illustrate this graphically, the quadrants in Figure 5-9 should be three-dimensional, with the third axis being the life-cycle phase of the project. In other words, the leadership style is dependent not only on the situation, but on the life-cycle phase of the project.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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