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Situational Leadership Theories

Theories of leadership: Situational theory

Trait theories focus on traits and the skills theories on skills. Situational leadership theories highlighted the importance of situation in the making of the leaders. According to the situational theories there are situations that give birth to leaders. These theories suggest that if leaders choose to act in a certain way then it is after considering the situational variable. So, based upon the situations different styles might be used to be successful.

However, in the history of the leadership research, the situational leadership is the most used theory. Paul Hershey and Ken Blanchard were the two people behind this theory. The situational leadership theory tried to prove that it is not the leader but the situation that is important. In simpler words one single style does not suit all the situations but that leaders must adopt different styles according to the situation.  This style has also been named after the founders of the theory as the Hershey-Blanchard theory. One important thing about the theory is that it shows that leaders must be able to adopt styles that suit the situation. Hershey and Blanchard theory of leadership demonstrated that there are mainly four styles used by the leaders. The first of them is called the telling leadership style. When leaders use this style, they tell the people what to do and when to do.  The second style is the selling leadership style. under this style, leaders need to gain buy in from the followers so their ideas find acceptance.

There is a lot of back and forth between the leaders and followers involved in the selling leadership style. The third style included in this model is the Participative style. Under this style, the leaders invite the participation of the followers to help them make better decisions and actions. The last leadership style is the delegating style where leaders delegate authority to their followers to make them perform. The Hershey-Blenchard model is one of the most important theories that has remained at the center of research for quite long.