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leadership styles

leadership styles

connect the four leadership styles of the situational leadership model examined in the article

with the leader behaviors explored in the text.

How does examining such styles or behaviours lead to a better understanding of the interaction

between leaders and followers?


The contingency leadership model together with the psychological empowerment specifies the
situations and circumstances that the followers of self-leadership need encouragement. The
model maintains that critical contingency factors that involve the situational urgency, task
structure and follower development determine the leadership approaches that should be adopted.
These approaches are transactional, transformational and directive. Specific leadership approach
combines with other outcomes that reflect the level of involvement by the followers.
The situational model is basically based on the beliefs that followers mostly require different
types and styles of leadership for different management situations and which rely on the
employee commitment to a given task and their competence on the performance of specific

tasks. A person who possesses high commitment but exhibits low competence requires a
leadership strategy that’s quite different from one who has both high competence and high
The following table summarizes the leadership strategy and the follower’s development levels;

Followers Development level Leadership Strategy
A1 Low Competence T1 High directive, low  
    Directing Supportive

A2 Low competence, T2 High directive, high  
  Low commitment Coaching Supportive

A3 Moderately high T3 Low directive, high  
  competence, variable Supporting Supportive

A4 High competence, high T4 Low directive, low  
  commitment Delegating Supportive

The model above demonstrates the commitment and competence levels ranging from the
development levels A1 to A4 and the associated leadership strategy from T1 to T4. The major
steps involve the development of goals in conjunction with the followers while the leaders
determine performance standards using the four categories described above. The leader has to
determine the right level for the follower and decides the choice of the most appropriate
leadership strategy that addresses the follower’s level.
The four styles of leadership have been included in the situational model of leadership which is
associated with all the four approaches of leadership. These approaches are transactional,

transformational and directive. Specific leadership concepts combine with other outcomes that
reflect the rate or level of involvement by the followers (Bass 1985).
The situational model is founded on the beliefs that followers mostly require different types and
styles of leadership for different management situations and which rely on the employee
commitment to a given task and their effectiveness on the performance of specific tasks.
The ultimate contingency factor is the existing task environment which refers to the follower’s
task environment and whether it’s structured or unstructured. Structured task environment is
made up of simple but clearly specified processes that are routine in nature with low levels of
uncertainty and little behavioral discretion. Unstructured task environment refers high exposures
to higher levels of uncertainty and adequate behavioral discretion. The transformational
leadership theory is appropriate for followers who are under unstructured task environment while
transactional leadership style is appropriate for structured task environment. Daniel and Esser
(1980) confirmed that intrinsic motivation is more common when contingency is rewarded
externally while in a high structured environment. Its however different in unstructured
environment where intrinsic rewards are discouraged. Bass (1985) reflected that transformational
leadership is common where goals and structures in an organization are unclear while
transactional leadership is common in mechanistic organizations or companies where goals and
structures are very clear and structured. Leadership theorists suggest that directive leadership
style is most appropriate for task environment that are unstructured (Keller 1989). However, the
directive style is not appropriate for simple structured tasks as the leaders instructions on tasks
are largely viewed as unnecessary and at times irritating (House 1996).


Bass, B.M., 1985, Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations, New York, Free Press.
Daniel, T.L. & Esser, J.K., 1980, Intrinsic motivation as influenced by Rewards, Task Interest
and Task Structure., Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 566-573.
House, R.J., 1996, Path-goal theory of leadership, Lessons, legacy and a reformulated theory,
Leadership Quarterly, 7, 323 – 352.
Keller, R.T., 1989, A test of the path-goal theory of leadership with need for clarity as a
moderator in research and development organizations, Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 208 –

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