Think of a great leader whom you know personally—someone who has made a positive contribution to your life.
Describe their leadership style—what are they like?
If you are to categorize them using a theory of leadership, which would you use to best describe this person?
Hello, and welcome to this lecture on contingency theories of leadership. Contingency theories state that we’re looking at the interaction and characteristics of both the leader and the situation. So there’s someone by the name of Fielder.
And so in this contingency model, it states that there needs to be an effective balance between style and situation. And so as we go through this particular lecture, I’ll give you some insight in what the balance between the style and the situation is.
So let’s look closely at that with this next line. According to the contingency theories, we know that we can look at preferences in things like relationship orientation versus task orientation. And there’s a way to look at that and there’s a way to measure it.
And according to the contingency theory, you can do that by using something called the least preferred co-worker scale. And when you look at it, focus on the first bullet point.
You see that it’s a bit tricky to understand, let me help you get through it. And so when taking this scale or this instrument, the person who gives their, see it as the most harsh rating, that leader tends to be more task oriented.
So you’ll see it like a low LPC score and so just to reframe how I said this, the person who gives these preferred co-workers harsh ratings, those tend to be the task oriented leaders. On the flip side, when we look at persons who rate their least preferred co-worker somewhat leniently, so not as harsh, those tend to have relationship oriented mindsets and focus.
So remember, there’s task oriented and then there’s relationship oriented. And as we move into some of these other theories and components of leadership, we see that in order to assess the situation, there are a few variables that we need to examine.
So the first one being the leader member exchange or the leader remember relationships. And so this refers to quality of relationship between someone in a leadership position and their followers. The next thing is a task structure. This is how well elements of work are structured within a business unit or a dynamic within leader and follower.
And then there’s also position power. So authority to punish or to reward and that comes from leader to the rest of the unit or to a particular team. So let’s look at contingency theories, specifically around task oriented leadership.
So the first bullet point, we can maximize for you to see, there’s task oriented leaders. These tend to be successful in unfavorable situations. So this is where the leader and member relationships, the exchange where it’s poor and the task is unstructured. This is where the leader can show up and put some task into place, create the process of how it could work, and they take charge.
I’ll show you a visual representation, so this can become easier for you to understand. The next bullet you’ll see that task oriented leaders are effective in situations where they are encouraged to give high productivity. Remember, they’re focusing on the task, not so much on the relationship.
And so they’re going to skyrocket because they need to focus on the task. They can execute against that, right? You see it. The last one is relationship oriented leaders are effective in situational control where influence is neither high or low, meaning they could base it on their relationships style.
They could influence through their own dynamics and so that’s where they will tend to have higher performance. Now, let’s show you a visual so that you can wrap your mind around what we’re trying to say here. Look at this image here.
At the top, you’re going to see– top left hand corner– good performance and then you’ll see at the very bottom poor group performance. And then as we go from left to right, you see that there is a dotted line versus a solid line. The solid line, those are leaders who are focused on the task.
And so you can see visually that they are going to perform high when it’s focused on a task and it’s heavily influencing what they need to do to drive performance, whereas the relationship leader might not do as great because the task is not to build a relationship.
The task would be get the task done. And so you’ll see that the dotted line is low for that leader and so as you then go from left to right, you see that now there’s a swap. And so the relationship dotted line leader, they tend to have higher performance or a higher connection at the good group performance when the situation is in the middle, in the moderate space.
That’s because they could flex to their style. And then when you’re looking at the task oriented one, they drop that performance in the middle and then they pick it back up in the unfavorable situation. And so when times get difficult, when things are tough, and someone needs to take charge, the chances are that someone who is task oriented is going to be favored and they’re going to do well.
Because they can help to execute against that work in comparison to someone who’s trying to build relationships and make people feel better when maybe that’s not what’s being called for. Maybe we just need to get the work done. And so in that situation, you’ll see that the task oriented leader will outperform the other one.
Let’s look at another aspect of contingency theories. So we have this thing called the path goal theory. Here, the leader sets a path or they set a goal and then they help bring others along in that path. That’s why it’s called the path goal theory. And so in those situations, there’s four things that can happen to drive that performance.
So the first one is there’s directive behavior. So specific instructions are given, specific ideas are generated to help in the path to achieve that goal and attain that performance. The other one is achievement oriented behavior. And this is focusing on work outcomes.
So we set a goal, we know where we’re going everything. We need to do is headed in that direction. Let’s do what it takes to go down that path. We’re going to hit that goal. And then the third is supportive behavior. So as we’re going through this process and things are getting tough, things will get difficult at some point or another, when there’s support or a support system in place, this helps to reach that level of accomplishment in that path goal.
And number four, that’s behavior that encourages the members to assume active role playing. And the key is they participate in the process. They take an active role with the path goal task in the path goal setting. Let’s look at a decision making model. It’s another aspect of contingency theories.
And so here, we’re essentially saying that there’s a match between characteristics of the situation and decision making strategies. As the bullet point states, it’s encouraged to look at different strategies to drive decisions to get that goal.
And so it’s as simple as the name says, decision making model. And that’s part of a contingency theory found within leadership. As we look at this last slide, there’s the term leader-member exchange. See the word exchange as another way of saying the relationship between the leader and the member.
Member could be part of a group or it could be the individual contributor or the follower who is part of that relationship. And so there’s an exchange between the two. There’s a dynamic there that we see. And so what we see in the leaders who are effective in this space is that they’re paying attention to the quality of that relationship, to the quality of that exchange.
And there’s a range from low to high but the key is focusing on aspects of high relationship maintenance, high focus on individual consideration, and things around a relationship, and finding the balance between a situation, a task and the relationship at hand. And so leaders who are effective in this space tend to consider all those aspects as they’re going through their communication process and as they’re guiding others through the journey that they’re going on. And so this brings us to the close on contingency theories of leadership. I’ll see you in the next lecture.Tags: leadershipLeadersPositive Contribution