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The role of situational contingency approaches in leadership Essay

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According to Hersley (2001) Situational Leadership is the level of readiness of the follower continues to increase in terms of accomplishing a specific task, the leader should begin to reduce task behavior and increase relationship behavior. This should be the case until the individual or group reaches a moderate level of readiness. As the follower begins to move to an above average level of readiness, it becomes appropriate for the leader to decrease not only task behavior but relationship behavior as well.

Now the follower is not only ready in terms of the performance of the task but also is confident and committed. People at this level of readiness see a reduction of close supervision and an increase in delegation by the leader as a positive indication of trust and confidence. A Situational Leadership Model helpful to managers in diagnosing the demands of their situation has been developed as a result of extensive research.

Situational Leadership is based on interplay among the amount of direction (task behavior) a leader gives, socio-emotional support (relationship behavior) a leader provides and “Readiness” level that followers exhibit on a specific task, function, activity, or objective that the leader is attempting to accomplish through the individual or group. (Hersley,2001) The situational leader is therefore expected to play the following roles: He is supposed to tell, thus he defines the roles of followers and tells them what, how, when, and where to do various tasks, this Hersley attributes it to the fact that communication is one way.

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The second role is that of selling which is typical because with this style most of the direction is still provided by the leader. The leader also attempts through two-way communication and socio-emotional support to get the followers psychologically to “buy into” decisions that have to be made. (Hersley,2001) The leader is also expected to participate since with the style the leader and followers now share in decision making through two-way communication and much facilitating behavior from the leader, since followers have the ability and knowledge to do the task.

Finally (Hersley,2001) concludes that delegating is necessary because the style involves letting followers “run their own show. ” The leader delegates since the followers are high in readiness, have the ability, and are both willing and able to take responsibility for directing their own behavior. These roles are attributed to various dimensions that exist in relation to tasks to be accomplished and the behavior of the leader who depicts the said characteristics. Strategies of managerial influence Luthans and Davis (1979) have identified strategies that a manager may adopt towards influencing the organization he leads.

Among them are Reason, Sanctions, Assertiveness and Friendliness. Reason involves the use of facts and data to put the message across board. In most cases the data will always be available but since the whole organization is always privy to the same information, it may not rouse the attention desired and may just be considered as a regurgitation effort not yielding much. However if the data is remote to other members of the organization then the manager will be sure to call the shorts. Friendliness involves the use flattery and goodwill to elicit desired behavior.

However this strategy will be limited in use if the manger applies authoritative leadership. In cases where team work is necessary for success of organization, then such a strategy will be very apt. Assertiveness involves the use of direct and forceful approach to influence action and behavior. It involves standing firm on decisions made without due regard to effects on persons or perceived friends of the manager. Where the manager has previously benefited from creating friendships, assertiveness may hurt and boomerang in its application.

A manager who opts for this strategy has to do so from the word go. Sanctions involves the use of rewards and punishments. This strategy is always very effective because the manager can condition behavior of respondents in various ways to elicit the desired response. Because subordinates are engaged by organizations subject to rewards to be received, they also expect that errant behavior will be punished therefore their behavior will be fairly predictable and thus playing the way of the manager.

Major Indirect Conflict Management Approaches Individuals’ behavior is unique and may not always represent the behavior of the organization or its culture. On the other hand, managers according to Mintzberg have a role to play as resource allocators. The distribution of these resources may by default or by design favor some individuals or functions making conflict inherent in an organization. The manager may apply the following strategies in dealing with conflict as it arises as identified by Polya (1957). The manager may choose to ignore conflict as it occurs.

Of course problems which are not solved may go away with time as the old adage say. The danger in such a strategy is that the conflict may prove very expensive in the long run and may always recur to haunt the organization or the manager. In some cases, the subordinates may read this as a weakness impeding on the manager’s decision making capacity. The manager may use his authority to coerce one party to the conflict to change its position so that the conflict disappears altogether. How the coercion is achieved will depend on the merits of the case.

For example threats can be applied with great success on unskilled labor but such will not do for line managers conflicting because budgetally allocation. Some authorities advice that a positive attitude towards conflict will go along way towards conflict resolution. If conflict is perceived as not bad occurrence in very way, then its resolution becomes more focused, an opportunity for leaning and a drive to change. A manager who adopts this kind of attitude has an important strategy up his sleeve.

Proactive conflict resolution may be practiced by anticipating conflict and removing object, events or persons that may yield to such conflict . for example, if a certain category of employees in an organization get a pay rise because of trade union action, it is expected that those left out will be disgruntled. It is expected that the manager will have adequate foresight to deal with such eventuality. Overcoming Resistance to Change Change management principles which a manager ought to bear in mind when introducing change include:

All the time incorporating and accepting support from stakeholders within the system. System comprises the environment, processes, culture, relationships, behaviors, etc, whether personal or organizational, Understanding where the organization is at the particular time, Getting to understand where the organization wants to be, when, why, the measures to enable that success, Developing towards the above mentioned in stages that are suitable, achievable and measurable, Enabling and facilitating involvement from people in early stages as possible and in open manner. ( Recardo, 2003)

According to CIPD (2007), change management models are three tiers composed of Lewin, beer and shaw’s. Lewin’s model This model considers that change involves a move from one static state via a state of activity to another static status quo. Lewin specifically considers a three-stage process of managing change: unfreezing, changing and re-freezing. The first stage involves creating a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, which creates conditions for change to be implemented. The second stage requires organizing and mobilizing the resources required to bring about the change.

The third stage involves embedding the new ways of working into the organization. Beer’s model Beer and colleagues advocate a model that recognizes that change is more complex and therefore requires a more complex, albeit still uniform set of responses to ensure its effectiveness. They prescribe a six-step process to achieve effective change. They concentrate on ‘task alignment’, whereby employees’ roles, responsibilities and relationships are seen as key to bring about situations that enforce changed ways of thinking, attitudes and behaving.

Their stages are: Mobilize commitment to change through joint diagnosis. • Develop a shared vision of how to organize. • Foster consensus, competence and commitment to shared vision. • Spread the word about the change. • Institutionalize the change through formal policies. • Monitor and adjust as needed. ( Armstrong, (1999) cited in CIPD, 2007) Shaw’s model This model looks at change in a different form. Change is seen as both complex and also evolutionary. The starting point for their (and a number of other more recent models) model is that the environment of an organization is not in equilibrium.

As such the change mechanisms within organizations tend to be ‘messy’ and to a certain extent operate in reverse to the way outlined by Lewin. It is not appropriate to consider the status quo as an appropriate starting point, given that organizations are not static entities. Rather the forces for change are already inherent in the system and emerge as the system adapts to its environment. ( Higgs, M. And Rowland, D. (2003) cited in CIPD, (2007). Consequently change management strategies available to a manager according to CIPD (2007) are : Normative-re-educative strategy

This approach believes that changing the norms, attitudes and values of individuals will lead to changes in their behaviors. (As such this strategy is the reverse of the model Beer et al propose above. ) It is based upon core beliefs, values and attitudes. So change will occur as individuals change their attitudes and this leads them to want to behave differently. Rational-empirical strategy This strategy is based on persuasion, and assumes that individuals are rational and as such they will follow their own self-interest once this is made clear to them.

The benefits of a change therefore need to be highlighted and sold to the individuals as being of personal benefit to them. Power-coercive strategy This strategy is based on the application of power, with the belief that most people are compliant to those who have greater power. A potential issue with this process is that once the power is removed, individuals may revert to previous behaviors. Action-centered strategy This focuses on problem solving, looking at problems and focusing on remedial actions.

However when change introduced to the organization is resisted by individual and groups alike, the manager may apply the following approaches in dealing with such resistance: Effective leadership is a key enabler as it provides the vision and the rationale for change. Different styles of leadership have been identified, for example coercive, directive, consultative and collaborative. These different styles may each be appropriate depending on the type and scale of change being undertaken. For example, when there is a large-scale organization-wide change a directive style has been identified as most effective.

Appropriate and timely training is frequently identified as key to effective change. Examples of training requirements might include: • project and programme management skills to ensure change initiatives are completed both on time and to budget • change management skills, including communication and facilitation • leadership coaching. Organizational development is one approach or intervention used when trying to bring about change orientated to improving organizational effectiveness. A more developed organization is going to accept and receive change as an ongoing process which must be embrace.

Two-way communication with employees and their active involvement in implementation has also been identified as a key enabler of change. Active participation is one suggested means of overcoming resistance to change. However, research has indicated that part of the communication/participation issue might arise from a potential mismatch between what the employer and employee opinions are regarding levels of communication. For example, in a recent study of both employers and employees, employers believed they were involving and communicating with employees at a considerably higher level than was reported by employees.

Finally, linking all the change agendas within an organization coherently, rather than completing changes in isolation is vital to ensure that change effectiveness is maximized. CIPD research has identified seven areas of activity that make successful change happen – ‘the seven c’s of change’: • Choosing a team. • Crafting the vision and the path. • Connecting organization-wide change. • Consulting stakeholders. • Communicating. • Coping with change. • Capturing learning.

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