In trying to determine the right person to lead in organizations, Fred Fiedler took a unique look in how leaders approach different situations. To Fiedler, it indeed took different leaders for different situations. He identified three areas that influenced the effectiveness of a leader in a given situation. Those areas include:
• Leader/follower relations: This involved the amount of respect, trust and confidence followers have in their leader.
• Assignment configuration: This involved the extent to which particular job assignments were scripted or allowed a degree of follower discretion
• Leader authority: This area considered how much effect the leader has on organizational processes ...view middle of the document...
Secondly, stress and intelligence is discussed. Fiedler concluded that in low-stress situations a leader’s intelligence can be advantageous allowing the leader to seek rational conclusions to the problem. However, in high stress environments, intelligent leaders may not be able to perform as effectively. This could also take a negative turn where the intelligent leader must take extra time with their thoughts in dealing with strange situations, which leaves the team out on a limb.
The opposite is true for the experienced leader. In the third point, high stress situations create an environment where the leader’s experience can shine. By considering other situations they have been involved in, the experienced leader does not have to totally rely on intelligence in thinking through the situation and developing an advantageous approach.
Finally, when routine or simple tasks are at hand, neither intelligence nor experience of the leader comes into play. The effectiveness of the leader in these situations is null because followers do not need the direction or support of the leader.
In the field of law enforcement, Fiedler’s Cognitive Resource Theory could play out in any number of scenarios. Consider a police Major tasked with developing an officer ranking program which recognizes officers for tenure, training, and education. This task would be more beneficial for an intelligent leader. The relatively low stress setting would allow the Major to think things through and develop a logical, rational strategy in establishing this new program. The development of the program doesn’t necessarily require forceful commands and could involve much contemplation and changing directions along the way. The Major may call on a group of officers for input into the program. Gathering their thoughts and communicating among them helps the intelligent leader, our Major, to successfully accomplish his task.
Conversely, the intelligent Major who needs a work group, time for deliberation and the ability to change his mind during the process would not fare well in the rapidly evolving emergency situation of a SWAT call-out. This is when an experienced SWAT commander should take the reins. The experience of the commander in dealing with other call-outs and a variety of situations would prove invaluable. During the stressful time, the decisiveness and command presence of the commander is needed to reach a safe, successful conclusion of the emergency situation. There’s no time to be wishy-washy; direct decisions must be made and commands issued to SWAT members who carry them out without question. The commander has no time to necessarily have a group discussion on the approach. He or she goes with their gut-feelings and relies on being in previous situations to come up with the best answers (Leadership-Central.com, 2011).
Dealing with both of these situations and leaders is a must within a law enforcement agency. There could be three different...