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Describe A Situational Leadership Model And Give Examples

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 27th January 2013

This question is asking you to describe hersey and blanchard situational leadership model, tell, sell, participate and deligate. Remeber this applies to the leader, follower and the situation. Five points based on this model are easy, the marks are in the examples which demonstrate relivance to project management. 

  1. Paul says:

    paul this looks fine to me, ten more like this and you have It in The bag.

  2. Paul says:

    Steve, I think your answer it good enough, but project management examples would really help. I had in mind something like.

    Telling typically would used with direct temporary labour who are hourly paid or staff members who are not performing.
    Selling with a graduate team member who needs guidance and support.
    Participation with a subject matter expert such as a designer.
    Delegation to a very experiences and competent member of the team who you trust.

    These however are huge generalisations so my I may be setting my self up for criticism.

  3. Student says:

    The Hersey and Blanchard situational leadership model is based upon a diagram which sustains supporting behaviours and preferred choice of direction from leaders to followers within a certain project situation.
    The model aids leaders to understand situations and control them whereby conforming to specific styles needed within a project to apply a certain standard of direction to the PMs delegates. The following situations are most commonly adopted within its model.
    -(S1) Telling – This behaviour is used with a view to one way communication of influence to the follower within a team. The project manager is basically telling the follower what to do and spends time explaining what is required by them to fulfil the task in hand.
    -(S2) Selling – This follows a similar approach to telling however the PM will seek to explain more about why the follower is doing what they have been asked. PM must try and subscribe them to the situation with more intent, reason and depth to the direction ready for participation.
    -(S3) Participating – The notion behind this is for the follower to partake in key decisions and work with the PM to contribute in the task with a more hands on approach. The follower may well be in a position to advise the PM on a better approach/solution with sometimes less support from the PM as trust starts to build.
    -(S4) Delegating – This is the final behaviour in which the PM can prescribe to the follower, it involves mutual trust to make decisions with no bearing from the PM. Full responsibility lies with the follower and so does the method of achieving that outcome. The PM will be there only to overlook and monitor the situation.
    -The model also incorporates a scale of maturity level listed underneath the diagram to represent the followers’ demeanour of work ethic. Listed from M1 – M4, each has prescribed skill set in which PMs can apply to the follower in logic as to how their maturity correlates into the grid to make benefit choice and application of leadership practice.
    The model does not advocate a favourable behaviour within a project as influence is deemed task specific depending on the situation the PM has been presented with.

    So Paul, I’ve made a school boy error and only just realized, after I got far too involved with it and overlooked the question (not to mention obliterated the 15 minute cap)!!! I haven’t applied it to any PM have I really? Grrrrrrrr!

  4. Student says:

    Hi Paul,

    How’s this for size – do you think the relevance to PM is thorough enough?

    A situational leadership model is one that describes how followers will require a different style of leadership depending on the situation in hand. The Hersey and Blanchard model is an example, which describes four styles of leadership: S1 (Selling), S2 (Telling), S3 (Participation), S4 (Delegation), which for each style, formulates the amount of support and direction a leader gives to their followers. The level of competence and commitment of the followers plays a big part in the situational style to be used. In principle, the four styles are:

    S1 – Telling; this is where the leader gives specific directions to the followers who will tend to follow with little or no input to the situation. This will arise when a new team is being formed, or a new member joins a team, who doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to work unassisted. This situation will be a large overhead to the Project Manager, who will be required to spend a large proportion of their day assisting the followers.

    S2 – Selling; this is the next stage, whereby the leader will be providing the majority of the direction, however, there will be a certain amount of 2 way communication. With this input, the follower will buy-in to the situation. An example of this is where a team is relatively immature, having some of the skills to perform the job, yet lack the motivation or commitment to perform the work unassisted. For the project manager, this stage can bring about conflict and confrontation as the followers find their way within the team.

    S3 – Participation; this is where the leader and followers share the decision making process and there is fluid 2 way communication channel between them. Typically, this will occur when a team has been in existence for some time, and has experience in the work, yet for some reason, are unable to fully complete the work unassisted. For example, younger members of the team may not have the confidence or authorisation to communicate with senior management when required, and the PM may need to act as a go-between, or will need to be aware that information is not flowing up the chain of command in an efficient, or in the required, manner.

    S4 – Delegation; This is the optimum stage to reach, whereby the leader still remains involved in the decisions of the team, but predominately, the team is able to manage their own work, and to an extent, take their own decisions. An example of this could be when a team has existed for some time, and a new Project Manager has been parachuted in to take control. The team will likely be more skilled than the PM, so the sensible option would be to leave the team for the most part unassisted. The risk in this situation would be that the PM becomes a by-stander as the project ploughs on without the effective control and management.

    Many thanks for any advice.

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