Every leader of a successful organization has at least once wondered why some businesses achieve their goals, and others do not. Much of the success of a business depends on whether employees can meet the challenges they face at work. Furthermore, this, in turn, depends on the forms of interaction and models of organizational management adopted by the organization. In today’s management practice, a variety of personnel technologies, and HR management models aimed at the complete realization of labor and creative potential to achieve overall economic success and meet employees’ personal needs are being applied. Competent personnel management at an enterprise is a guarantee of high productivity. Suppose a team works smoothly and accurately in all the work planned by the management and does not overstay its time limit. In that case, management will never pursue disciplinary or punitive action in vain. The right type of psychological behavior of the boss and adequate methods of personnel management allow for building a logically competent and effective system of work organization.
Situational Leadership Model
Today’s leadership theories have begun to refer to the situational approach to change leadership styles according to a particular situation expediently. When analyzing situational models, the description of different leadership styles identifies external factors. It explores situational variables that influence their effectiveness. According to the situational theory of leadership, a leader interacts with the team by diagnosing the problem, and interpersonal relations, and showing flexibility and partnership support of subordinates (Hughes et al., 2019). The main principle of situational leadership is an integrated combination of several levels. These include the leader’s definition of the problem, the focus on the relationship with the team, identifying employees’ readiness to solve the problem, and choosing the leadership style appropriate to the situation. Situational leadership consists of communicating the specifics of the job and its participation in the team activity. The leader chooses the type of encouragement and provides social, professional, and emotional support.
The situational theory of leadership was articulated by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard in 1960 (Hughes et al., 2019). Other representatives of the situational approach in leadership theory were oriented to their model. Situational leadership in the Hersey – Blanchard concept is defined by the varying degrees of readiness of the subordinate to perform leadership tasks (Hughes et al., 2019). The required level of readiness is expressed by a person’s ability, willingness, and confidence to do a project. The task orientation of the staff determines the leader’s management style. Directive style is chosen when the performers are professionally immature, and the leader controls the group. The mentor style implies providing support to people who are incapable but are task-oriented. A supportive style involves partnership and team motivation; the leader allows the team to make decisions, correcting their direction for a quality result. Delegating style is relevant only in a team with high responsibility, creativity, experience, and knowledge.
According to the situational leadership model, there is a direct link between team development and the management style. A directive style is used to interact with staff at a low stage of development and a coaching style for a team at a medium stage. A supportive style is appropriate when employees are not motivated and a delegating style is only in a highly developed team. Situational leadership theory hardly analyses the individual qualities of the leader, nor does it consider the process of his or her positioning by the team. Some researchers do not delve into the relationship between superiors and people and absolutize factors external to the team (Hughes et al., 2019). As an apprentice in my organization, I was able to observe the use of situational leadership. The manager who led the internship was helping several groups of subordinates at the same time. When the group was more experienced and confident, he used supportive and delegating tactics, only occasionally checking progress. In groups where the trainees were less experienced and required more attention, the manager used directing tactics. Thus, he selected situational leadership tactics based on the needs of each group of trainees.
Vroom Yetton Decision Model
Another situational leadership model is the one developed by Victor Vroom and Philip Yetton. Similar to the Hersey and Blanchard model, this model proposes to define an effective leadership style depending on the situation. The main difference in the model is that it only focuses on one aspect of leadership behavior – the involvement of subordinates in decision-making (Hughes et al., 2019). The main idea of the model is that the degree of subordinate involvement in decision-making depends on the characteristics of the situation. After analyzing and assessing each aspect of the problem, the leader determines which style he or she should use in terms of subordinate participation in decision-making. The effectiveness of the decision depends on the quality of the decision and the level of commitment of the subordinates to the implementation of the decision. Decision efficiency also depends on the degree of urgency of the decision. The model’s premise is that the time allotted by the situation for a decision, along with the other two, is a critical factor.
Depending on the situation and the degree of subordinates’ involvement, the model suggests the use of five styles: autocratic I (A1), autocratic II (A2), consultative I (C1), and consultative II (C2), and collaborative II (G1). With style A1, the manager makes the decision himself using the information available to him at the time. In style A2, the supervisor gets the necessary information from his subordinates and then makes the decision himself. Employees are only involved in the information-gathering phase. The decision is developed and made by the supervisor. In style C1, the manager individually shares the problem with the subordinates concerned in order to get ideas and suggestions from them without gathering them into a group. He then makes the decision himself, which may or may not be based on input from the subordinates (Hughes et al., 2019). In option C2, a group of employees is assembled to whom the issue of concern is voiced. Afterward, everyone has the right to express their views and ideas, but the director will still make the decision himself, irrespective of the employees’ previous thoughts.
Finally, when using the G1 style, the manager takes on a moderator who only moderates the discussion but has no influence on the outcome. The group chooses the most comfortable and effective way of solving a problem, either by brainstorming or simply by having a conversation. In my workplace, the leader uses different styles depending on the situation. If there is enough time to make a decision and listen to the opinions of each subordinate, he uses the G1 style. In situations where time is short, and a firm managerial decision has to be made, he uses A2. I think this is the proper management model because the director does not have to choose between democracy and autocracy concerning his subordinates out of personal considerations. This model allows one to base decisions solely on the situation at hand and make the most effective ones.
Individual Behavior, Perceptions, Stereotypes and Judgements within the Workplace
The interpersonal behavior of employees in the organization also plays an important role and can either cause tensions between people or contribute to building relationships of trust. It can also promote positive interactions or cooperation and contribute to realizing the organization’s goals (Hughes et al., 2019). Individual behavior in an organization can manifest itself in various forms, such as assertive, motivated, deviant, cooperative, and others. It is inherent in all personnel in the organization regardless of functional responsibilities and position. Assertive behavior is the performance of a confident person concerning others. Such a person can assert their point of view without aggression, without giving in, without manipulation; such action is aimed at problem-solving, and cooperation in interaction. Motivated behavior is based on the realization of an employee’s actual need (Hughes et al., 2019). It can be multidirectional and can be both positive and negative. For example, the need for respect and recognition motivates the employee to perform his or her work tasks better. Conversely, the motive of enrichment may lead to illegal actions.
Deviant behavior is abnormal action contrary to socially accepted legal or moral norms and often manifests itself in immoral acts. It violates generally accepted norms and rules resulting from negative trends in the development of civilization. Stereotypes in the workplace may be both a cause and a consequence of deviant action. These sound judgments, which are firmly embedded in people’s minds, can motivate people to destroy them or obey them. When an employee seeks to break a stereotype, deviant behavior can occur. For example, suppose a bank office has a predominantly male staff who think finance is not a woman’s job. In that case, female staff may start to work deliberately hard to prove otherwise. Stereotypes in the workplace are destructive to the team, and companies regularly implement policies to eradicate them.
Perceptions and judgments are other essential factors in the workplace climate. Subordinates tend to perceive their boss’s behavior through the prism of their life situation and the decisions they would have made if they were in his position. A lack of understanding of the overall situation and a one-sided perception of management decisions can lead to poor judgment and the destruction of a favorable work climate. Therefore, it is essential to let employees understand the company’s overall situation and make sure that management’s actions are not subjective. At my workplace, the management regularly holds general staff meetings to discuss how the company is doing. The manager of our unit often consults with subordinates when making management decisions. In addition, our company regularly conducts various personal development training, including stereotype breaking. All these measures help maintain a favorable working climate both in each division individually and in the company as a whole.
Theory X & Y Management Styles
Going back to leadership models in modern management theories, the goal of any manager is to achieve the necessary productive results through the efforts of his subordinates. The American social psychologist Douglas McGregor suggested that leading people is primarily determined by a leader’s assumptions when managing his subordinates (Hughes et al., 2019). He classified all assumptions into two groups, calling them Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X describes a manager’s fundamentally negative attitude towards his subordinates. According to this view, employees have no desire to work, and they will not miss an opportunity not to work where they can. In order for people to work as they are required to do, they must be managed rigidly. What people want, according to Theory X, is stability and security. Independence and taking responsibility are not inherent in most performers, and the supervisor must retain this responsibility.
Theory Y reflects a radically different, optimistic view of the nature of employees. It assumes that it is as natural for people to work as it is for them to rest (Hughes et al., 2019). Work helps employees realize their need to communicate, gain respect, and achieve. To govern employees in the right direction, an atmosphere must be created. They are involved in setting performance targets, are empowered, supervised, provide developmental feedback, and are rewarded for their achievements.
Although most managers tend towards the X theory, this approach severely limits managers in the way they manage. Thus, if the job does not satisfy the needs mentioned, employees will look outside the workplace for fulfillment. The focus of employees’ attention would shift to the nonproductive environment, which would have a negative effect on their productivity. Moreover, unsatisfying work would be perceived as an obstacle to fulfilling their needs, so they would demand a pay raise to compensate for their discomfort (Hughes et al., 2019). To be highly effective, the work environment must be created to realize their own individual goals. Thus, McGregor believed that developing employees within work tasks is far more conducive to following the Y theory. However, it should be noted that the applicability of Theory Y is limited, for example, by the specifics of production, so for the management of workers in mass production, Theory X may be more applicable.
In my workplace, management applies both Theory X and Theory Y. This is because different subordinates approach their tasks differently. Employees who see work as an opportunity for self-fulfillment get a softer environment and more flexible leadership. Those who take every opportunity not to work get harsh management and strict rules. This approach is correct because it is impossible to apply one concept to an entire firm because of employees’ individuality.
To summarize, only with the help of adequate leadership, which employs various management concepts, as well as with the help of a favorable psychological climate in the team, is it possible to build efficient work. Situational leadership models in contemporary management theories are represented by many concepts, each of which aims to solve its specific problems. Despite the significant differences in these management styles, it is impossible to identify those that are totally effective or ineffective, as it all depends on the situation in which they are applied. Possessing just one situational theory may enrich the managerial range. However, a fuller picture may be drawn only by understanding the managerial effects of different models. The authors of numerous situational theories argue that there is no universal management style and that management style should be adjusted depending on several factors.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R.C., & Curphy, G. J. (2019). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (9th Ed.). McGraw-Hill Irwin.