An Introduction to Situational Leadership
Imagine you are the leader of a team of developers creating a new mobile game. The team has worked well together, but recently you’ve noticed that two of the senior members are butting heads. Today, they are really getting into it, arguing in front of the rest of the team. You can tell that this is having an impact on the morale and effectiveness of the team.
- Meet with both of them and tell them how they can resolve their conflict and make sure they do it? 與他們兩個好好談談，告訴他們如何解決之間的衝突，然後持續追蹤確保狀況真的解除？
- Speak with them separately about the problem, and then get them together to discuss it. Encourage them to work better together and support their attempts at improving collaboration? 分別與他們談，然後再一起討論。鼓勵他們化解恩怨，支持他們朝向齊心合作的方向？
- Talk to them separately to get their thoughts, then bring them together and show them how to work out the conflict between their ideas? 分別與他們談，然後再招集他們，告訴他們該如何解決他們的衝突。
- Tell them you are concerned about the problem and the impact of it on the team, but give them time to work it out by themselves? 告訴他們你注意到了問題，以及對團隊的影響，然後給他們一些時間自己解決。
Which is the best answer? It depends on the team. Teams have different levels of maturity that must be matched with a leadership style best suited to it. By “maturity”, I don’t mean how grown-up they act; we game developers don’t usually care much about that. In this context, maturity means the skills the team applies to work out problems among themselves and their performance as a team. We want teams with high levels of maturity because they are more effective and enjoy working together the most. This is where situational leadership comes in.
Situational Leadership Theory
Developed in the late 1970’s by Paul Hershey and Ken Blanchard, Situational Leadership is a set of principles that help guide how leadership is applied to teams of differing maturity levels. They defined four leadership categories:
情境領導是由 Paul Hershey 與 Ken Blanchard 提出，他是一連串的守則，幫助指引領導如何套用在不同成熟度的團隊。總共定義了四個類別：
- Directing – A leader defines roles and tasks for developers and the team. 指導，領導者定義團隊的角色與工作。
- Coaching – A leader still sets the direction for the team, but coaches the team in the how roles and tasks are determined. Allows the team more freedom in tracking their work. 教練，領導人設定目標，但在旁說明角色與工作應是如何。讓團隊試著自己追蹤工作。
- Supporting – A leader allows the team to make decisions about roles and tasks, but still shares in decision-making and progress monitoring. 支持，領導者允許團隊自己決定角色及工作。但會緊盯決策流程與進度。
- Delegating – A leader is involved in decision making and progress monitoring, but the team is fully self-organizing in their roles, practices and work. 委任，領導者自己也是決策與進度的參與者，但團隊實際上自己組織，運作。
The goal of a leader is to help teams adopt higher levels of maturity and change their approach to leading from directing through delegating:
|The Situational Leadership Model|
This is just a model, not reality, but it is an effective model to help guide leaders to apply different standards to different teams, just as a parent applies different parenting principles to a teenager than they do a toddler; at least I wish my parents had.
Situational Leadership Applied
Take a look at the answers to the question raised above and see how each of them might apply to teams at different maturity levels. A newly formed team will most likely need the directing (S1) category applied, while others that have been together longer and are working well can have later categories applied.
The challenges to this are identifying the maturity level of the team, including what model to use, and coaching teams to reach higher levels of maturity. Future articles will address those topics.