Why Aren’t They Listening – Situational Leadership Explored
Jim Anderson developed a 6 week training program on listening and communication skills to improve management at a large pharmaceutical company (Northouse, 2013). Jim decided to train the middle level managers from research and development first. The managers are highly skilled, but skeptical of the value of the seminar. After the third week, Jim begins to notice problems. Attendance has dropped and the attendees are frequently late or leave early. Jim is unsure how to turn the problem around.
The Situational Leadership II Model
Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Zigarmi (1985) developed a leadership model using four leadership styles and four levels of subordinate development. According to their model, the leadership style should match the development level of the subordinates. The S1 style of leadership is directive, with very few supportive qualities and is used with D1 subordinates. These are subordinates with few skills but a high level of enthusiasm. They are frequently new employees.
The S2 style can be considered a coaching style. The D2 subordinate is developing skills, but has lower motivation. They may be learning their job, but frustrated with continuing low levels of competency.
The S3 style places the leader in a supporting role. It focuses on support and is much lower in directive qualities. The D3 subordinate is skilled and capable of performing the job. However, he may lack confidence in his own abilities. It is the leader’s task to encourage and support him as he gains confidence.
The S4 style is a delegating approach. At this level the D4 subordinate is highly skilled, confident, and motivated. He is fully capable of completing the task and knows he is. The leader simply gives the assignment and gets out of the way.
Diagnosing the Problem
Jim has been using the S4 approach in his handling of the seminar. He focused on the experience and capability of the managers and assumed they would be motivated to complete the seminar and learn new skills. The managers, however, have attended unproductive seminars in the past (Northouse,...