What is the Hersey-Blanchard model?
The Hersey-Blanchard model suggests that there is no single leadership style that is better than another. Instead of focusing on factors in the workplace, the model suggests that leaders adjust their styles to followers and their abilities.
According to the model, successful leadership is both relevant to the task and relevant to the relationship. It is an adaptive and flexible style, whereby leaders are encouraged to consider their followers – individuals or a team – and then consider the factors that affect the work environment before deciding how they will lead. This ensures that they will achieve their goals.
Because the Hersey-Blanchard model depends on the decision-making skills of a leader, it uses an individualistic approach rather than a collective one.
The Hersey-Blanchard model is also called the situational leadership model or theory.
Understanding the Hersey-Blanchard model
The Hersey-Blanchard model, or situational leadership, was developed by author Paul Hersey and leadership expert Ken Blanchard, author of “The One Minute Manager”. The model is not a static leadership style. Instead, it is flexible, in which the manager adapts the management style to various factors in the workplace, including his relationship with other employees.
This means that managers who live according to the model must choose the leadership style according to the maturity of the followers. For example, if the followers’ maturity is high, the model suggests that the leader provides minimal advice. On the other hand, if the followers’ maturity is low, the manager may need to provide explicit instructions and closely supervise the work to ensure that the group has clarity about their goals and how they are expected to achieve them.
The maturity level of subscribers is divided into three categories: high, moderate and low. High maturity includes highly capable and confident people who are experienced and work well on their own. Moderate maturity is generally divided into two groups: the first are employees who are capable but lack the confidence to take responsibility for doing so, and the second has confidence but is unwilling to do the job. Employees of low maturity are not sufficiently qualified to do the job but are very enthusiastic.
Hersey-Blanchard model and leadership styles
Hersey and Blanchard proposed four different styles of leadership depending on the task and the relationships that leaders have in the workplace. Depending on the model, the following leadership styles can be used:
- Style of delegation: A low task, low relationship style in which the leader allows the group to take responsibility for task decisions. It is best to use it with highly mature subscribers.
- Participation style: A low task, strong relationship style that emphasizes shared ideas and decisions. Managers who use the participant style tend to use it with moderate followers who are not only experienced, but with those who are not as confident in performing the assigned tasks.
- Sales style: Refers to a style of high task and high relationship, in which the leader tries to sell his ideas to the group by explaining the directions of the task convincingly. This is also used with moderate followers. Unlike the previous style, these followers have the ability but don’t want to get the job done.
- Revealing style: Refers to a high task and low relationship style in which the leader gives explicit instructions and closely supervises the work. This style is intended for followers of low maturity.
Key points to remember
- The Hersey-Blanchard model suggests that no style of leadership is better than another.
- The model suggests that managers adapt their leadership style to tasks and relationships in the workplace.
- The leadership styles of the model are directly linked to the different maturity categories of followers or employees.
Application of the model and its limits
This method of leadership allows leaders, managers and other positions of authority to support their supporters according to the group’s insight, understanding and context. By considering how the strengths, weaknesses and awareness of followers can affect their performance and project results, leaders can apply an appropriate structure and degree of control to achieve the desired result.
There are limits to the model that can escape the control of the leader. The leader’s position and authority may be limited by an organization’s chain of command or operational hierarchy, which could force them to adopt rigid styles rather than adjusting to the maturity of the followers. . In addition, time constraints, a limited range of options and the limits of available assets can also force managers to act according to the circumstances they face, thus eliminating the possibility of implementing strategies built around the maturity of followers.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Hersey-Blanchard model
While this leadership model can be solid, in theory, it is not necessarily applicable in all situations. It therefore has advantages and disadvantages.
Some of the benefits of using an adaptive leadership style are that leaders can change their style at their own discretion at any time. Second, employees can find a leader who adapts to changing changes in the workforce as a desirable trait. It is also a simple and easy to apply leadership style, which means that a manager can quickly assess a situation and make decisions as they see fit.
On the downside, situational leadership can put too much responsibility on the manager, whose decisions may be wrong. The model may not be equally applicable to different cultures. The model can also prioritize relationships and tasks, as opposed to a company’s long-term goals.