LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOR SURVEY

Section I:The Survey

This survey has been designed to help you become more aware of your own characteristic approach to leadership.In completing this survey, imagine yourself in a leadership role of a committee, group, or unit of an organization or program.

The survey consists of twelve situations which you might encounter as a leader. Each situation has four possible behavioral responses. Please study each situation and the behavioral responses carefully and then rate each of the responses in the space provided from “1” to “4,” with 4 being the response you would be most likely to do in the situation, and 1 being the response you would least likely to choose. Do not assign more than one “4” (or other number) to responses in any given situation. (Thus, for each item, the four spaces next to the responses will have four different numbers in them.)

Situation 1:

You have been providing the group with facilitation of their discussions but little task direction.Relationships between group members have been good and work performance very effective.The group members in their conversations are making useful suggestions for needed changes.You would:

_4__ A.           Allow the group to plan the changes, while you facilitate the discussion.

_1___ B.         Plan the change strategy yourself, giving clear assignments to group members.

_3_ C. Propose your conception of the necessary changes to the group and give a rationale for why those are the most important.

_2__ D.           Give the group a chance to plan the change on its own, checking with you before implementing it.

Situation 2:

Your group has been almost entirely self-directed and very effective.It is currently having difficulty carrying out its present task.You would:

_1___ A.         Leave the group free to work out the difficulty.

__2__ B.         Provide specific step-by-step instructions for carrying out the task.

__4__ C.         Encourage the group to continue working on the task, remaining present for consultation and support.

__3__ D.         Provide instructions for carrying out the task, incorporating the group’s suggestions and giving a rationale for your decision.

Situation 3:

You have been supportive of the group’s work, facilitating their interactions.Working relationships between the members are good.However, theirusual effectiveness is beginning to decline.You would:

__2__ A.         Present new procedures, emphasizing the need for following them closely.

__3__ B.         Encourage the group to formulate plans for improving effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support.

__4__ C.         Share your observations with the group, inviting suggestions and incorporating those into an overall plan for improving effectiveness.

__1__ D.         Do nothing until it becomes clear whether effectiveness would improve or continue to decline.

Situation 4:

You are the new leader of a very ineffective group.A lot of confusion exists around the task and relationships are poor.The previous leader was uninvolved in the group’s affairs.You would:

__3__ A.         Elicit the group’s suggestions on how to go about doing the task, and then provide directions with your rationale on how to proceed.

__1__ B.         Allow the group to determine its own direction.

__4__ C.         Clarify the task and assignments for the group and provide close follow-up.

__2__ D.         Encourage the group to formulate plans for improving effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support.

Situation 5:

Your group has just completed developing objectives as part of a systematic planning process and is now ready to put the approved plans into action.You were almost entirely uninvolved in the planning process.You would:

__3__ A.         Allow the group to implement the plans on its own, reporting back to you periodically on their progress.

__4__ B.         Join the group to provide support as it moves forward with its plans.

__2__ C.         Initiate and direct the implementation of the task, incorporating group recommendations.

__1__ D.         Direct the implementation of the plans by defining specific role and assigning responsibilities.

Situation 6:

The group has recently become effective and relationships between the members are good.You have been providing support and have been present to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute but are feeling concerned that you may not be giving the group as much direction as you should.

__4__ A.         Discuss your feelings with the group and begin to provide more structure and direction.

_1___ B.         Exercise more control by specifying procedures and responsibilities.

_3___ C.         Continue to play a supportive, facilitative role.

__2__ D.         Leave the group free to provide for its own support and direction.

Situation 7:

In a new team, group member relationships and task effectiveness have been improving steadily.You have been defining the task and giving explicit instructions for implementing it.You would:

 __4__ A.        Turn planning and decision-making over to the group, remaining present for consultation and support.

___1_ B.         Emphasize the importance of their work and continue providing explicitinstructions for new assignments when current tasks are completed.

 ___2_ C.        Continue to emphasize the importance of improved effectiveness while allowing the group more to say in defining and planning the task.

__3__ D.         Allow the group to determine its own direction.

Situation 8:

Previous group morale and task effectiveness have been poor.By giving clear assignments and providing close follow-up, both are improving.Now, however, the group seems veryconfused over a requirement to reduce its budget within two weeks.You would:

__1__ A.         Leave the group alone to do the necessary budget planning.

__2__ B.         Solicit the group’s recommendations on how to proceed, then structure the task incorporating their suggestions.

__4__ C.         Encourage the group to revise its budget, remaining present as supporter and facilitator of the discussion.

___3_ D.         Clarify the budget planning task and give the group explicit procedures for carrying it out.

Situation 9:

You have just been appointed the leader of a group with an excellent record of effectiveness and group member relationships.The previous leader was relatively uninvolved in group affairs.You would:

_1___ A.         Define new roles and responsibilities and make specific assignments.

_4___ B.         Encourage the group to continue operating in the same way, while you join the group as facilitator.

_2___ C.         Allow the group to function as before.

__3__ D.         Solicit group suggestions, then assign new roles and responsibilities.

Situation 10:

Your group has a long record of effectiveness and group member relationships have been good.It has not been necessary for you to give support or direction.Now, disagreements about how to proceed with their work have developed that are affecting morale and effectiveness.You would:

__2__ A.         Listen to group members’ perspectives and then tell them what the best way forward will be, providing a rationale for your decision.

__1__ B.         Do nothing; allow the group to work it out themselves.

__3__ C.         Redefine the group’s task, assign specific roles, and provide close follow-up.

__4__ D.         Encourage members to resolve the conflict, remaining present for consultation, facilitation, and support.

Situation 11:

You have been giving explicit instructions and providing close follow-up.The group has grown in maturity in handling its work.Now, however, morale is declining and members seem to be questioning your directive leadership.You would:

 _1__A.           Allow the group to function on its own.

_4___ B.         Encourage the group to assume responsibility for its effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support.

_3___ C.         Incorporate more of the members’ suggestions and coach them when their decisions seem to ignore important factors for decision-making.

__2__ D.         Emphasize the importance of the task, give specific assignments, and provide close follow-up.Situation 12:

Situation 12:

Your group consists of several newly appointed, inexperienced members who are excited about the task.You must now initiate a rather complex task.You would:

__1__ A.         Allow the group to implement the task on their own.

__3__ B.         Solicit member recommendations and incorporate these suggestions into your new policies.

__4__ C.         Explain the task to the new members in detail, assign initial roles and provide close follow-up to launch the new project.

__2__ D.         Encourage the members to plan the task implementation, remaining present for facilitation and consultation.

Section II:Scoring the Survey

  1. Scoring for Leadership Behavior Preferences

      You should now have a number next to each lettered response, indicating your preference rating of that response.Follow the directions listed below to determine which of the four styles described in Section III is your most and least preferred.

  1. Transfer your rankings from the survey to the appropriate spaces in Figure 1.(Notice that the letters are not in the same order as they appeared on the survey.)
  2. Add the scores in each column and enter the total for each in the spaces marked “Scores.”
  3. Transfer the total scores from each column, from highest to lowest, onto the “Scores” column in Figure 2.
  4. List the Leadership Style name corresponding to your highest score on the first line under “Styles” in Figure 2.Continue on the second line with the name of the style corresponding to your second highest score, and so on.When you finish, you will have listed the four leadership styles in order of your preference for them.

Situation Rankings  
1 C __3_____ A ____4___ B ____1___ D __2_____  
2 D __3_____ C ___4____ B __2_____ A __1_____  
3 C ___4____ B ____3___ A ___2____ D ____1___  
4 A __3_____ D ____2___ C ___4____ B __1_____  
5 C ____2___ B ___4____ D __1_____ A ___3____  
6 A ___4____ C ____3___ B __1_____ D __2_____  
7 C ____2___ A ___4____ B __1_____ D __3_____  
8 B ___2____ C ____4___ D __3_____ A __1_____  
9 D __3_____ B __4_____ A ___1____ C ___2____  
10 A ____2___ D ___3____ C ___3____ B ___1____  
11 C ___3____ B __4_____ D ___2____ A ___1____  
12 B ___3____ D ____2___ C __4_____ A ___1____  
                   
Scores (Totals):   ___33____   _____41__   ____25___   ___19____
118
Leadership Style:   Coaching Supporting Directing   Delegating Grand Total

Figure 1: Preferred Leadership Style Scoring

Ranking Styles Scores

(highest to lowest)

1st _______supporting_____________________________________ ___41____
2nd ____________coaching________________________________ __33_____
3rd ___________diercting_________________________________ __25_____
4th __________delegating__________________________________ _19______

Figure 2: Order of Your Leadership Behavior Choice

  1. Scoring for Leadership Effectiveness
  2. Circle the letter for each situation in Figure 3 that corresponds to the letter for which you entered the ranking “4” in Figure 1.This was your most preferred leadership style choice for each situation.
  3. Add the values (the numbers) of the letters you circled in each column and enter the totals in the space marked “Scores.”
  4. Add the four column totals to compute the grandtotal, and enter it in the space labeled “Grand Total.”
  5. Effectiveness ratings range from 0 to 48.The higher your score, the more effective your choice of leadership styles was for the various situations presented on the survey.
Situation Rankings  
1 C ___2___ A ___3___ B ___1_x__ D ___4___  
2 D ___3_x__ C ___4_x__ B ___1___ A ___2___  
3 C ___4_x__ B ___2___ A ___3___ D ___1_x__  
4 A ___3__x_ D ___2_x__ C ___4_x__ B ___1_x__  
5 C ___2__x_ B ___3___ D ___1_x__ A ___4___  
6 A ___3___ C ___4___ B ___2___ D ___1___  
7 C ___4___ A ___3___ B ___2___ D ___1___  
8 B ___3___ C ___2___ D ___4___ A ___1_x__  
9 D ___2___ B ___3___ A ___1x___ C ___4___  
10 A ___3___ D ___4_x__ C ___2___ B ___1_x__  
11 C ___4___ B ___3___ D ___2_x__ A ___1_x__  
12 B ___3_x__ D ___2_x__ C ___4__x_ A ___1_x__  
                   
Scores (Totals):   ___15____   ___12____   ____13___   ____6___
46
Leadership Style:   Coaching   Supporting   Directing   Delegating Grand Total

Figure 3: Leadership Effectiveness Scoring

Section III:Situational Leadership Theory

Your Course Book presents an overview of Hersey and Blanchard’s leadership theory (on pages 27 – 34).What follows here is a summary of Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard’s “Situational Leadership Theory” to help you understand the scores on the survey you just completed.

Early research on leadership tended to focus on what the characteristics of a “natural” leader might be, so as to be able to select leaders more effectively for positions of authority.Countless studies on personality characteristics yielded very little fruit in this search.(And when you think about persons who have risen to leadership positions– Gloria Steinem, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope Paul VI — you might be hard pressed to name their common personality characteristics!)

Leadership theories developed in the 1950s and 1960s tended to focus on the differences between “autocratic” or directive leaders and “democratic” leaders, postulating that democratic leaders would develop better morale in their teams and would therefore be the more effective leaders.Again, actual research produced mixed results and did not always support the theory.

It was not until researchers began looking at what effective leaders actually do that they unlocked some significant insights into leadership development.One insight, discovered by researchers at Ohio State University was that being “task-oriented” and being “process-oriented” (or present to support and facilitate the discussions) in behavior were not an either-or choice.Leadership behavior did not lie along a one-dimensional continuum as had been previously often suggested.

                        Process                                                         Task

                       Oriented                                                      Oriented

Rather, observations of leaders showed them to sometimes be high in both task structuring and process structuring behaviors, sometimes low in both, and sometimes high in one and low in the other.Another significant observation was that effective leaders vary their behaviors according to the demands of the situation in which they find themselves, so that instead of using one leadership style in all situations, they assess the needs at hand and respond differently depending on the needs presented.

Hersey and Blanchard took these results and developed instruments and leadership development courses to help people learn how to become effective leaders and they called their model “Situational Leadership.”Their model broadly describes four basic leadership styles that vary according to how much task-structuring (directive) behavior and how much process-structuring (supportive) behavior the leader is displaying in any particular situation.

Supportive Behavior

(LOW) (HIGH)

High Supportive

Low Directive

Behavior

S3

High Directive

High Supportive

Behavior

S2

Low Supportive

Low Directive

Behavior

S4

High Directive

Low Supportive

Behavior

S1

Directive Behavior

(LOW)(HIGH)

 

Figure 4: The Four Basic Leadership Styles

Each of the four styles described in Figure 4 represents a different combination of directive and supportive behaviors.

Directive or Task-Structuring Behavior involves teaching and explaining to another what to do, giving directions, showing someone how to do a task, correcting errors, and providing structure.

Supportive or Process-Structuring Behavior involves listening, asking for opinions and ideas, facilitating interaction, suggesting ways that a discussion might unfold, and encouraging others in their efforts.

Hersey and Blanchard originally named their four styles:Telling (S1), Selling (S2), Participating (S3), and Delegating (S4).Later they changed the names of the first three to Directing (S1), Coaching (S2), Supporting (S3), and Delegating).

Following the insights of the Ohio State studies on leadership, Hersey and Blanchard suggest that there is no one best leadership style that should be used in all situations.Rather, the best style in any given situation depends upon the Developmental Level of the followers, defined as the competence and commitment of the staff to perform a particular task.Competence includes the skills and knowledge of the person to get the job done; commitment rests upon the motivation and confidence of the person to do the task.

When a person’s developmental level with respect to a task is very low (for example, the person has never had experience with this kind of task before), the most effective response of the leader is to assist the person in structuring and learning the task, i.e., high directive behavior.While the leader may be very concerned for developing a relationship, if we were to observe this leader’s behavior with the inexperienced worker, he or she would be mostly engaging in teaching and explaining the task and relatively less involved in listening to the worker’s suggestions on what to do.(If the worker had such suggestions, he or she would be at a higher developmental level that would warrant more of this kind of interaction on the part of the leader.)The leader’s behavior, then, with persons unskilled at a task tends to be “Directing.”

When the follower increases in competence and commitment, the leader’s best response is to coach the person in proceeding with problem-solving.The leader might ask questions such as, “What do you think is the best way of handling this?” or “What would you do if this scenario emerged?”The leader affirms and encourages insightful problem-solving and gives alternative approaches and reasons for them when the follower’s judgment seems to fall short.Because the leader is incorporating the follower’s ideas and giving a strong rationale when other avenues are chosen, Hersey and Blanchard originally named this the “Selling” style.Their more recent name for this style is “Coaching.”It is high in both task structuring and supportive behaviors on the part of the leader.

As followers become relatively strong in competence and commitment, the leader can encourage more decision-making on the part of the followers.Often the leader does this by facilitating discussions, ensuring that everyone has a chance to speak, and summarizing consensusdecisions.The leader also acts as a co-participant and consultant to the group in areas where they still lack the confidence and skills to complete the task.The leader is, therefore, less involved in structuring the task for the followers (low on directive behavior) but is present and high in supportive behaviors.Hersey and Blanchard call this the “Participating” or “Supporting” leadership role.

Finally, when the followers are at their highest developmental level, they can function on their own without the help of the designated leader.The leader can delegate the task and allow the follower(s) to complete it without coaching or facilitation.Decision-making on how to proceed is left to the followers and there a longer periods of time when the leader is not present at all.Accordingly, Hersey and Blanchard refer to this as the “Delegating” leadership style.

The leader’s behavior should help the followers develop confidence and skills in their ability to perform a task.Theoretically, behavior will progress along the curve outlined in Figure 5 as the developmental level with respect to the task of the follower(s) increases.The theory is thus a growth-oriented one in that the leader strives to empower “followers” to be able to function on their own without the leader.

On a new task, the same follower who isdelegatedone task may be learning another.The leader might thus be using two different styles with the same person, depending upon the task and the person’s competence and commitment to accomplish it.The leader’s effectiveness rests on his or her ability to choose the style that appropriately fits each situation.

 

Section IV:Situation Diagnoses

Each of the twelve situations in the survey provided information on the following:

  1. developmental level of the group,
  2. previous leadership behavior, and
  3. results of that behavior in the situation.

Your task is to analyze each of the situations and select the most appropriate leadership behavior for the situation presented.

Complete the Situation Diagnosis Worksheet for each of the twelve situations using the knowledge you now have about leadership and the Situational Leadership Model.For each situation, indicate your assessment of:(a) the Developmental Level of the group, (b) previous leadership behavior, and (c) the most appropriate leadership behavior for the new situation.

Situational Diagnosis Worksheet  
Situation Level of Group Maturity (1) Current Leadership Behavior Most Appropriate Leadership Behavior for New Situations  
1. You have been providing the group with facilitation of their discussions, but little task direction. Relationships between group members have been good and work performance effective. The group members in their conversations are making useful suggestions for needed changes. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
2. Your group has been almost entirely self-directed and very effective. It is currently having difficulty carrying out its present task. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
3. You have been supportive of the group’s work, facilitating their interactions. Working relationships between the members are good. However, their usual effectiveness is beginning to decline. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
4. You are the new leader of a very ineffective group. A lot of confusion exists around the task and relationships are poor. The previous leader was uninvolved in the group’s affairs. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating

A Situational Analysis is provided in Section V.Do not consult this section until after you have met in small group to discuss your answers.

 

Situational Diagnosis Worksheet Continued

Situation Level of Group Maturity (1) Current Leadership Behavior Most Appropriate Leadership Behavior for New Situations
5. Your group has just completed developing objectives as part of a systematic planning process and is now ready to put the approved plans into action. You were almost entirely uninvolved in the planning process. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
6. The group has recently become effective and relationships between the members are good. You have been providing support and have been present to ensure that everyone has a chance to contributebut are feeling concerned that you may not be giving the group as much direction as you should. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
7. In a new team, group member relationships and task effectiveness have been improving steadily. You have been defining the task and giving explicit instructions for implementing it. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating

 

Situational Diagnosis Worksheet Continued
Situation Level of Group Maturity (1) Current Leadership Behavior Most Appropriate Leadership Behavior for New Situations
8. Previous group morale and task effectiveness have been poor. By giving clear assignments and providing close follow-up, both are improving. Now, however, the group seems very confused over a requirement to reduce its budget within two weeks. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
9. You have just been appointed the leader of a group with an excellent record of effectiveness and group member relationships. The previous leader was relatively uninvolved in group affairs. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
10. Your group has a long record of effectiveness and group member relationships have been good. It has not been necessary for you to give support or direction. Now, disagreements about how to proceed with their work have developed that are affecting morale and effectiveness 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating

Situational Diagnosis Worksheet Continued
Situation Level of Group Maturity (1) Current Leadership Behavior Most Appropriate Leadership Behavior for New Situations
11. You have been giving explicit instructions and providing close  follow-up. The group has grown in maturity. Now, however, morale is declining and members seem to be questioning your directive leadership. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating
12. Your group consists of several newly appointed, inexperienced members who are excited about the task. You must now install new organizational policies. 1. Very Low Directing Directing
2. Moderately Low Coaching Coaching
3. Moderately High Supporting Supporting
4. Very High Delegating Delegating

Section V:Situation Analysis

The suggested leadership behavioral style and the rationale for selecting it are presented in this section to enable you to evaluate your responses.Review this section only after you have discussed your responses in small groups.

Situation 1:

You have been providing the group with facilitation of their discussions but little task direction.Relationships between group members have been good and work performance effective.The group members in their conversations are making useful suggestions for needed changes.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental Level of the group:Very High
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Supporting
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Delegating (D)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Allow the group to plan the changes, while you facilitate their discussion.(Supporting)

      This choice represents no change from you previous leadership style, and while it would maintain relationships and ensure effectiveness, it would not facilitate further group development.

  1. Plan the change strategy yourself, giving clear assignments to group members. (Directing)

      This style is inappropriate with this group of high maturity and could damage relationships.Effectiveness could decline sharply because of resulting tensions.

  1. Propose your conception of the necessary changes to the group and give a rationale for why those are the most important. (Coaching)

      This may get the change implemented.However, it would not reinforce the group maturity already achieved.Effectiveness may decline.

  1. Give the group a chance to plan the change on its own, checking with you before implementing it.(Delegating)

      The group has grown to a high Developmental Level under the Supporting style and is showing no problems with relationships or task performance.You should be considering a change to reinforce this growth.Now with the need for change, and the obvious interest of the group in planning its implementation, you have a good opportunity to reinforce their growth by giving them greater responsibility in a major issue.

Situation 2:

Your group has been almost entirely self-directed and very effective.It is currently having difficulty carrying out its present task.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental Level of the group:Moderately High (having slipped back from Very High)
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Delegating
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Supporting (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Leave the group free to work out the difficulty. (Delegating)

      This style represents no change in your leadership style which is no longer effective, since the group is currently having difficulties without your support.

  1. Provide specific step-by-step instructions for carrying out the task. (Directing)

      This provides more structure and direction than the situation calls for and would, most probably, be experienced by the group as a lack of confidence in their ability.Relationships would likely suffer and effectiveness could decline.

  1. Encourage the group to continue working on the task, remaining present for consultation and support. (Supporting)

      Providing some assistance and support is necessary to enable this group, moderately high in maturity and effectiveness.It has previously been functioning well with a delegating style, but its ability to handle this current problem shows that the Delegating style would not maximize effectiveness.The Supporting style would give the group the assistance it needs while allowing the group to find its own solution.

  1. Provide instructions for carrying out the task, incorporating the group’s suggestions andgiving a rationale for your decision. (Coaching)

      While this approach would work, it might create an unnecessary dependency upon you to provide structure and direction in future difficult situations.Group development might be hindered.

Situation 3:

You have been supportive of the group’s work, facilitating their interactions.Working relationships between the members are good.However, their usual effectiveness is beginning to decline.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental Level of the group:Slipping from Moderately High to Moderately Low
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Supporting
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Coaching (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Present new procedures, emphasizing the need for following them closely. (Directing)

      This amount of structure and direction would be more than necessary for a group of this maturity level and could possibly damage relationships, slow group growth, or both.

  1. Encourage the group to formulate plans for improving effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support. (Supporting)

      This style represents no change from your previous behavior and, while maintaining good relationships, it could be expected to result in a continuing decline in effectiveness.

  1. Share your observations with the group, inviting suggestions and incorporating those into an overall plan for improving effectiveness as appropriate.(Coaching)

      Your group, until recently, has been effective under your Supporting style of leadership behavior.The present decline indicates a need for a bit more structure and direction.By increasing your task structuring behavior to suit the situation, you are moving to a Coaching style.

  1. Do nothing until it becomes clear whether effectiveness would improve or continue to decline. (Delegating)

      Effectiveness is already suffering from a lack of structure and direction.This response would result in even less structure and direction, increase ineffectiveness, and might tend to cause a resulting tension in relationships.

Situation 4:

You are the new leader of a very ineffective group.A lot of confusion exists around the task and relationships are poor.The previous leader was uninvolved in the group’s affairs.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group:Very Low
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Delegating
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Directing (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Elicit the group’s suggestions on how to go about doing the task, and then provide directions with your rationale on how to proceed.(Coaching)

      This should help establish relationships but may lead to frustration for the group since they are not yet at the developmental level relative to the task to make effective suggestions.The group needs principle help in structuring the task before it can begin functioning effectively.

  1. Allow the group to determine its own direction. (Delegating)

      This is no change from the previous leader’s behavior, which has proven to be ineffective.

  1. Clarify the task and assignments for the group and provide close follow-up. (Directing)

      This immature group is suffering so much from a lack of sufficient structure and direction, it cannot function at all.An approach that puts emphasis on task orientation is needed to give the group a sense of purpose and direction.

  1. Encourage the group to formulate plans for improving effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support . (Supporting)

      This would do no more than further frustrate the group, since this immature group would be unable to formulate plans for improving effectiveness.

Situation 5:

Your group has just completed developing objectives as part of a systematic planning process and is now ready to put the approved plans into action.You were almost entirely uninvolved in the planning process.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group:Very High
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Delegating
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Delegating (A)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Allow the group to implement the plans on its own, reporting back to you periodically on their progress.(Delegating)

      This approach best allows the group to continue its development by providing its own direction and support for implementing its plans.

  1. Join the group to provide support as it moves forward with its plans.(Supporting)

      This should be effective for implementation.However, it does not fully reflect the group’s maturity and may run the risk of developing a tendency of the group turning to you for advice too quickly when difficulties are encountered.

  1. Initiate and direct the implementation of the task, incorporating group recommendations. (Coaching)

      This would provide more structure and control than this group needs.Relationships may be damaged.Maturity and effectiveness would then likely decline.

  1. Direct the implementation of the plans by defining specific role and assigning responsibilities. (Directing)

      This is an inappropriate approach to use with a group that has demonstrated its ability to provide its own structure and direction.Conflict would likely erupt and effectiveness would decline.

Situation 6:

The group has recently become effective and relationships between the members are good.You have been providing support and have been present to ensure that everyone has a chance to contribute but are feeling concerned that you may not be giving the group as much direction as you should.

Diagnosis

  1. Task maturity of the group:Moderately High
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Supporting
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Supporting (C)

 

 

Rationale for Selection

  1. Discuss your feelings with the group and begin to provide more structure and direction. (Coaching)

      This would not reflect the group’s new maturity and effectiveness and therefore would be inappropriate.The group’s maturity and effectiveness would decline.

  1. Exercise more control by specifying procedures and responsibilities. (Directing)

      This would be in direct opposition to the growth of the group.Group morale and effectiveness would probably sharply decline.

  1. Continue to play a supportive, consultative role. (Supporting)

      The group is in transition and you are now questioning your leadership behavior.You could begin to provide more structure, but the group’s maturity and effectiveness do not warrant this.You could become less involved.However, this group has become effective “recently” and still needs some support and consultation.Your best approach would be to continue your present style.

  1. Leave the group free to provide for its own support and direction. (Delegating)

      The group might experience this withdrawal as a loss of interest in their welfare and task.The group should establish more confidence in its effectiveness before you move to this style.

Situation 7:

In a new team, group member relationships and task effectiveness have been improving steadily.You have been defining the task and giving explicit instructions for implementing it.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group:Moderately low
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Directing
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Coaching (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Turn planning and decision-making over to the group, remaining present for consultation and support. (Supporting)

      This approach may make the group feel more important and involved.However, it runs the risk of creating a perceived vacuum of leadership and a loss of sufficient structure to facilitate increased effectiveness.

  1. Emphasize the importance of their work and continue providing explicit instructions for new assignments when current tasks are completed. (Directing)

      This would be no change from your current leadership behavior.With no increased opportunity to assume more responsibility, the group’s maturity and effectiveness would level off and, eventually, would probably begin to decline.

  1. Continue to emphasize the importance of improved effectiveness while allowing the group more to say in defining and planning the task. (Coaching)

      The group has matured under your directing leadership behavior.This growth pattern would now be best facilitated by a leadership behavior which provides less control but enough to maintain a sense of direction.This style recognizes the development which has occurred by allowing the group a greater say in how they want to carry out their task.

  1. Allow the group to determine its own direction. (Delegating)

      This would place inappropriate responsibilities on this group of moderately low maturity and could be experienced as a loss of interest or sense of direction on your part.The group is not ready to assume this level of responsibility and effectiveness would probably decline.

Situation 8:

Previous group morale and task effectiveness have been poor.By giving clear assignments and providing close follow-up, both are improving.Now, however, the group seems very confused over a requirement to reduce its budget within two weeks.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group:Very Low.
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Directing
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Directing (D)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Leave the group alone to do the necessary budget planning. (Delegating)

      The group does not have the developmental level to work on their own.Time deadlines would probably not be met.Confusion would increase dramatically and effectiveness would decline.

  1. Solicit the group’s recommendations on how to proceed, then structure the task incorporating their suggestions.(Coaching)

      At present, this group is not demonstrating the degree of development necessary to do the necessary planning in the time allowed, unless you give more structure than coaching leadership style would provide.

  1. Encourage the group to revise its budget, remaining present as supporter and facilitator of the discussion.(Supporting)

      This inappropriate approach would not get the job done in the short time allowed and would reinforce the group’s present state of confusion.Newly gained effectiveness and maturity would be lost.

  1. Clarify the budget planning task and give the group explicit procedures for carrying it out. (Directing)

      Though developing, this group is still not effective as evidenced by their reaction to the new situation.The group has been responding satisfactorily to your directing behavior.Your best choice here would be to continue providing structure and direction.

Situation 9:

You have just been appointed the leader of a group with an excellent record of effectiveness and group member relationships.The previous leader was relatively uninvolved in group affairs.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group: Very High
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Delegating
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Delegating (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Define new roles and responsibilities and make specific assignments.(Directing)

      This approach would not reinforce the group’s maturity and effectiveness.Relationships would be damaged.Group effectiveness would decline.

  1. Encourage the group to continue operating in the same way, while you join the group as facilitator.(Supporting)

      This should be effective for establishing relationships.However, it would not fully reflect the group’s level of development.

  1. Allow the group to function as before.(Delegating)

      Under the previous leader’s delegating leadership behavior, the group has developed highly effective capabilities.Your best choice would be to reflect that maturity by continuing with the leadership behavior.

  1. Solicit group suggestions, then assign new roles and responsibilities.(Coaching)

      This is an inappropriate approach for an already very effective group, whose present structures are working very well.Time would be wasted and effectiveness would probably decline.

Situation 10:

Your group has a long record of effectiveness and group member relationships have been good.It has not been necessary for you to give support or direction.Now, disagreements about how to proceed with their work have developed that are affecting morale and effectiveness.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group: Moderately High
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Delegating
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Supporting (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Listen to group members’ perspectives and then tell them what the best way forward will be, providing a rationale for your decision.(Coaching)

      This would be appropriate only if the Supporting style did not prove successful in managing the conflict.

  1. Do nothing; allow the group to work it out themselves. (Delegating)

      This approach, though normally the most appropriate for this group, would be inappropriate where relationships have broken off completely.Restoring communication would be a necessary precondition to managing the conflictsatisfactorily .

  1. Redefine the group’s task, assign specific roles, and provide close follow-up. (Directing)

      This approach would be inappropriate for a group of this maturity.Relationships and effectiveness would probably suffer.

  1. Encourage members to resolve the conflict, remaining present for consultation, facilitation, and support. (Supporting)

      This approach is the most appropriate because of the serious nature of the conflict.The group possesses the skills and maturity to manage most conflicts.However, support is needed from you to restore relationships.

Situation 11:

You have been giving explicit instructions and providing close follow-up.The group has grown in maturity.Now, however, morale is declining and members seem to be questioning your directive leadership.

Diagnosis

1.Developmental level of the group: Moderately Low

2.Previous Leadership Behavior:Directing

3.Appropriate Leadership Style now:Coaching (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Allow the group to function on its own.(Delegating)

      This is an inappropriate approach with a group of moderately low development whose effectiveness is already declining.It would be experienced as a leadership vacuum.Effectiveness and relationships would likely decline.

  1. Encourage the group to assume responsibility for its effectiveness, remaining present for consultation and support.(Supporting)

      This would correspond to a greater degree of development than has been achieved, and effectiveness could be expected to continue declining.

  1. Give less explicit instructions, incorporating more of the members’ suggestionsandcoach them when their decisions seem to ignore important factors for decision-making.(Coaching)

      The group has achieved a new level of maturity and effectiveness, but your leadership has not changed to reflect this.Since you have not reinforced their new level, the group is beginning to regress.A coaching approach, while a little late in coming, should reverse this downward trend.

  1. Emphasize the importance of the task, give specific assignments, and provide close follow-up.(Directing)

      This is no change from your current style.Group maturity and effectiveness could be expected to continue declining.Relationships could be damaged.

Situation 12:

Your group consists of several newly appointed, inexperienced members who are excited about the task.You must now install new organizational policies.

Diagnosis

  1. Developmental level of the group:Very Low
  2. Previous Leadership Behavior:Not indicated
  3. Appropriate Leadership Style now:Directing (C)

Rationale for Selection

  1. Allow the group to implement the policies on their own.(Delegating)

      This would create a leadership vacuum.Group morale would suffer and relationships and effectiveness would most likely be severely retarded or greatly damaged.

  1. Solicit member recommendations and incorporate these suggestions into your new policies.(Coaching)

      Because the group is inexperienced, they have little basis for suggesting organizational policy.They need more information before they can make suggestions relevant to the organizational context in which they are working.

  1. Explain the task to the new members in detail, assign initial roles and provide close follow-up to launch the new project.(Directing)

      Group members are new and inexperienced and have had little time to develop relationships.Your best choice is to provide structure and direction until the group begins to mature, which may be soon, since the group wants to work.

  1. Encourage the members to plan the task implementation, remaining present for facilitation and consultation.(Supporting)

      This would not provide the amount of structure and direction needed to ensure group development.Confusion would probably set in.Developing relationships and effectiveness would be negatively affected.

[1] Adapted from Paul Hersey and Kenneth H. Blanchard, “Leadership Effectiveness and Adaptability (LEAD)” in The 1976 Annual Handbook for Group Facilitators (San Diego: University Associates, 1976) and from Kenneth H. Blanchard,Leading at a Higher Level, Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice-Hall, 2007.)

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