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MNGT 5500.02 A New Approach to Leadership Spring I, 2013
Dr. David Pendleton and Dr. Benjamin Akande
While rational and logical, the Situational Leadership model presents as incomplete when compared with the Primary Colours Leadership model. The straightforward approach of Primary Colours means leaders and followers can more easily understand and apply the concepts. This leads to a much higher adoption rate. The plain language of the Primary Colours model lets leaders and followers concentrate on competencies and the core business purposes instead of learning a foreign language while mastering the tango.
Situational Leadership Theory is really the short form for "Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory" and draws major views from contingency thinking. Situational leadership is a theory that says leaders should vary their style based on the changing needs of their followers. The key issues in when to vary the leadership style is follower maturity – the follower’s readiness to perform in work situations. Readiness is based on two factors – follower ability and follower confidence.

• The theory has scales that a leader can use to give a "thumb in the wind" assessment of what leadership style to use
• Maturity and competence of the group are often overlooked factors in good leadership and it helps to focus on these
• The theory may not be applicable to managers as administrators or those with limited power but in structurally in a leadership position
• There are situations in which the theory may be less applicable such as those involving time constraints and task complexity
• Testing of the theory doesn't seem to bear out the predictions
• To have a successful outcome the leader must exhibit a high level of self-awareness and an acute ability to relate to the followers
• Testing of the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory so far has produced poor test results; more work is needed to show that the theory works
The Hersey-Blanchard situational leadership model identifies four leadership styles –
• S-1 telling – information flows from leader to followers only (do this)
• S-2 selling – leader attempts to convince followers by providing social and emotional support
• S-3 participating – leader shares decision making with followers
• S-4 delegating – leader assigns tasks to followers

Each style represents a different combination of task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors.
Four maturity levels of the group are posited by Hersey and Blanchard with letter designations:
• M-1: basic incompetence or unwillingness in doing the task
• M-2: inability to do the task but willing to do so
• M-3: competent to do the task but do not think they can
• M-4: the group is ready, willing, and able to do the task
In the situational leadership model, leadership effectiveness requires the correct match of style and follower maturity; the suggested match-ups are:
• telling style with low readiness
• selling style with moderate-high readiness
• participating style with low-moderate readiness
• delegating style with high readiness

In certain circumstances this theory may need to be thrown out the window. For example emergencies or wartime. In these circumstances there wouldn’t be time to assess followers maturity or willingness. If a group or team already has an agenda, the leaders actions may be less relevant the their ability to create change would be powerless. If followers willingness to do a task changes or the initial judgement of the leader is wrong quick adjustments by the leader are required.

Primary Colours leadership theory

Leadership proposition 1 builds on three overlapping pillars:
Strategic domain - Setting strategic direction
Interpersonal domain - Building and sustaining relationships
Operational domain - Delivering results