Task Behavior Directive

Moderate

M4

M3

M2

Ml

Maturity of Perform er(s)

Each of the styles is a combination of task behavior (concern for the doing the job, shown on the y-axis) and relationship behavior (concern for the support of the followers who must do the job—the performers, shown on the x-axis). The curved shape suggests a typical "journey" of styles through an individual's situations, from S1 to S4 (right to left movement). This is similar to the journey that a team makes in the forming-storming-norming model described earlier.

Figure 6-10 suggests the leaders' role in each of the four styles. In telling, the leader tells the performers not only what to do, but how to do it. The leader's role becomes less aggressive in selling and participating, until the leader is just an observer in delegating.

Figure 6-10. Leader's Role in Situational Leadership

Figure 6-10. Leader's Role in Situational Leadership

In every case, the actions of the leader are determined by the readiness of the performers at the moment. Performer readiness is described in terms of their maturity, which is a combination of their willingness to do the task and their ability to do it (knowledge of how to do the task), as shown in Figure 6-11.

Figure 6-11. Performer's Readiness in Situational Leadership

Performer's Readiness

Willing

Able

Willing

Unable

Unwilling

Able

Unwilling

Unable

Table 6-14. Situational Leadership Behavior

Leader's Style

Leader's Behavior

Performer's Maturity

Telling

Give strong direction for what to do, and how to do it, with little regard for the feelings of the performers

Unwilling Unable

Selling

Give softer direction, with a high degree of sensitivity to the feelings of the performers

Unwilling Able

Leader's Style

Leader's Behavior

Performer's Maturity

Participating

Show a high degree of concern for the feelings of the performers, and join in to help them do the task

Willing Unable

Delegating

Just give them the task, and observe from a distance

Willing Able

If the performers are both unwilling and unable to do the task, their maturity is M1 and the leader should adopt a telling management style (S1). This is the drill sergeant approach.

If the leader assesses the performers as willing to do the task but not very able (perhaps lacking some skill or knowledge), their maturity is M3, so the leader should adopt the S3 style of leadership (participating). This is a "Let me show you how" style in which the leader participates with the performersto accomplish the task.

If the performers are both willing and able to do the task (M4), the leader should adopt the delegating style (S4). This is the research lab manager's approach. The leader must only throw the task to them, and they will perform it with little supervision.

S4 is the easiest style for the leader, but it does not permit as much rest as you might think. If the team runs into difficulty with the task, the leader must step in, assess the situation, and act accordingly.

Situational leadership is why leaders must be able to read individual and team personalities well. It is one of the primary remedies for helping a team toward maximum performance.

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