Leadership

            Anybody who has ever been a leader, whether it be at work, in a school project, in sports, or in a club knows how tough it can be. Situation represents a big part of when, where, and how a leader should take charge, which is why specific ways of leadership can backfire and cause conflict rather than get things achieved. Through multiple theories and research, such as Fiedler’s Contingency Model, the Path-Goal Theory, and the Normative and Descriptive Models of Leadership and Decision Making, it is clear that leadership should change depending on the style, but that no matter what, they should keep the goals in mind: motivating their followers. The reasoning behind situation being such an essential element comes from the fact that each individual, group, or target might need a relationship-motivated leader or a task-motivated leader since everybody is different and people are motivated differently.

Fiedler’s Contingency Model used eight different situations with two different types of leadership: relationship-motivated and task-motivated. His research showed that one leader performed better in four of the scenarios, while the other leader played out better in the different four scenarios, therefore showing that certain types of leadership can be a better fit for certain situation. After Fiedler published his theory, the Path-Goal Theory came out, saying that a leader should aim for individual and group goals, make sure expectations are clear, and to add any rewards if the environment and situation are lacking rewards once the goal is achieved. The theory says that the significant factors that will affect leadership are the subordinates' characteristics and the environmental characteristics, which shows the importance of leadership.  Lastly, the Normative and Descriptive Models of Leadership and Decision Making tie in multiple models, all of which include situation as a variable. Research shows numerous situational variables that can influence the appropriate behavior and leadership style. Looking at the previously mentioned theories and models makes it clear that organizational effectiveness is affected by situational factors not under leader control and that situations shape how leaders behave, which all loops back around to the idea that conditions influence the consequences of leader behavior. By seeing the influence and impact that a situation can have when with different leaders, it is evident that it is better to have a leadership style that fits the circumstance, rather than forcing a scenario to adapt to a leader.

While older schools of thoughts and models might have thought that any leadership style could work under any circumstances, studies show that performance and followers’ contentment can be significantly influenced if the leadership style fits the situation, including multiple situational variables that may come up. However, studies also show that a constant change of leadership, which would mean a substantial lack of consistency, could hurt performance. It is also shown that no matter how well the leadership style fits with the situation, if the leader cannot motivate the group, the goal will not be achieved. When finding the best way to lead a group, one should focus on the leadership style fitting the situation, but should not forget to maintain a sense of consistency and motivation.