Hersey Blanchard Model - Explained
What is the Hersey Blanchard Model?
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What is the Hersey-Blanchard Model?
The Hersey-Blanchard model, also known as the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory, is a theory that advocates the existence of more than one optimum style of leadership. The model also addresses the relationship between leadership style and subordinate maturity. Maturity concerns the ability to orient one's actions and behavior toward the job requirements.
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How does the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Model Work?
The model came into being in the 1970s because of the combined efforts of academician Paul Hersey and leadership professional Ken Blanchard, both renowned authors as well. The Hersey-Blanchard model introduces the concept of "follower maturity" which is a measure of the capability and willingness of a group to perform a task under the guidance of a leader. This model empowers managers to adopt different leadership styles to suit the variable behavioral parameters of task and relationship. The Key aspects of the model are as follows:
Leadership Style- Style is determined based upon:
- Relational Behavior - This is the interpersonal relationship between leader and subordinate.
Task Behavior- This concerns the amount of direction provided by the leader to subordinates This relationship creates a matrix of:
- Hi Relational - Hi Task
- Hi Relational - Low Task
- Low Relational - High Task
- Low Relational - Low Task
- Subordinate Maturity - The subordinates skill and knowledge are called job maturity. The confidence and commitment of the subordinate to use this toward the accomplishment of work tasks is psychological maturity. This leads to the following matrix:
- High Ability - High Willingness
- High Ability - Low Willingness
- Low Ability - High Willingness
- Low Ability - Low Willingness.
The model then identifies four leadership styles that will correspond with these leader and subordinate attributes:
- Delegating - When the subordinate is hi-ability-hi-willingness, the leader must show low-task-low-relationship behavior.
- Participating - When the subordinate is hi-ability-low-willingness, the leader must show low-task-high-relationship behavior.
- Selling - When the subordinate is low-ability-hi-willingness, the leader must show high-task-high-relationship behavior.
- Telling - When the subordinate is low-ability-low-willingness, the leader must show high-task-low-relationship behavior.
It is obligatory for supervisors employing the Hersey-Blanchard model to be able to choose a leadership style in keeping with the level of maturity of their followers. A group with a high level of follower maturity requires the least amount of guidance; hence, a delegating style of leadership is the way to go here. Conversely, a group with low follower maturity is obviously inexperienced and lacking in confidence; so, the leader needs to adopt a telling style to communicate to the group what their goals are and how to achieve them.
Uses and Limitations of the Hersey-Blanchard Model
The Hersey-Blanchard Model allows leaders to exercise control over their respective groups based on their maturity levels. Since this model provides a thorough understanding of the capabilities, shortcomings and cognizance levels of different groups, it invariably helps leaders choose the best leadership styles for their groups. However, the 'Hersey-Blanchard Model does come with its own set of drawbacks. Many a times, the hierarchy in the organization becomes a pivotal force that dictates leadership styles irrespective of the maturity levels of the followers. Additionally, a lack of time and limited availability of resources also come across as massive restraints that force the leaders to act circumstantially. This severely limits the scope of an ideal maturity level-based strategy.