Leading people can be a challenging experience. It can be even more challenging if the persons being led are highly skilled and knowledgeable people. Application of the SLii model can be a useful tool in dealing with situational leadership challenges. The essay will discuss the implementation of SLii model in respect of the case study in focus.
Considering the postulations of the SLii model, one can infer that Jim Anderson is employing directing leadership style. This model identifies four types of behaviors leaders use to influence compliance in their followers. Directing, as one of the leadership styles is characteristic of the unidirectional flow of information from the leader to followers or the group they are leading. Put in another way, it is telling subordinates what to do at a particular location, in a given approach within a specified period (Benson, Zigarmi, & Nimon, 2012; Northhouse, 2012).
In the context of the case study, several behaviors exhibited by Anderson give credence to the position that he employed a telling leadership style in managing behavior in the seminar. First, Anderson designed a six-week training program on listening and communication. He further developed a variety of methods of which he applied in the exercise, as well as solicited active involvement of the attendees in the seminar sessions. From these actions, it is evident that Anderson has made several decisions which qualify his leadership style of a telling leader; he decided on the period (a 6-week period), place and what to be done by the managers. In other words, he does not actively involve the stakeholders in the training program hence the lack of enthusiasm. His actions only focus communication on goal achievement as posted by Northhouse. Additionally, there is the little amount spent on encouraging specific behaviors (Northhouse, 2012).
SLii model identifies four levels of maturity inherent in followers which leaders need to recognize before adopting a given leadership style. Among the four levels (M1, M2, M3, M4) proposed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard, M3 denotes a group of followers that are capable but unwilling to submit to the directions of leaders under which they serve (Benson, Zigarmi, & Nimon, 2012; Northhouse, 2012). Subordinates who fall under this category are experienced and can carry out the duties and responsibilities required of them by leaders but show little commitment to do so (Northhouse, 2012).Stated in another way, the followers resist against following the instructions of leaders due to lack of understanding on the need to act as the leaders direct them.
When looked at from the prism of the SLii model, one can rate the managers as belonging to the level of M3. As stated earlier, this is a situation where those who are led do not exhibit an adequate commitment to the achievement of goals as espoused by the leaders (Benson, Zigarmi, & Nimon, 2012). In context, Andersons trainees are middle-level managers and have qualifications of advanced degrees. Such qualifications are adequate to give them information on the need for advancing their management skills. Besides, it is a general expectation that individuals at the level of managers are very much aware of the benefits that can be derived from undergoing training on effective communication. Furthermore, the text indicates that the managers have previously attended training albeit the issues pointed in the case study. The mentioned factors indicate a high-level of awareness on the part of the managers. However, there is lack of commitment to the training as evidenced by the decision of the managers to abscond some of the sessions of the training.
From a leadership perspective, there are several actions and behaviors that Anderson has exhibited leading to the lack of the cooperation and commitment among the managers. First, Anderson does not involve the trainees in his program. This is done against overwhelming evidence in the management circles suggesting that involvement of followers is critical for such persons to understand the need for attending trainings (Sofijanova & Zabijakin - Chatleska, 2013). Besides, Anderson has failed to require everybody to participate and observe punctuality during the sessions. The inability to provide leadership in this respect has resulted in the trivialization of the training, which in turn, made some managers abscond. Anderson also appears to work on assumptions. For instance, he assumes that individuals at a managerial level cannot walk out on a training session. To this end, it can be said that his leadership style is devoid of effective communication.
It is critical for leaders to learn their followers in order to institute appropriate mechanisms of foster listening. In the context of the case, Anderson can improve the seminars by the active involvement of the trainees. Active participation of the managers in the training process can help Anderson make them understand the need for sparing their time in order to attend the training. As research has demonstrated, involving people allows leaders to strike a balance between their view of issues and that of the followers. For meaningful results to be realized in any engagement between leaders and workers, modern managers need to act as facilitators of work engagement rather than controllers of the work processes (Sofijanova & Zabijakin - Chatleska, 2013). Such strategy would promote attendance of the training sessions as the managers are likely to take the exercise as a personal responsibility rather than a waste of time as exhibited in the case study.
As a conclusion, it is apparent that Jim Anderson lacks some leadership skills essential for managing people of the caliber of managers. Effective communication and active involvement of the participants can be important tools for Anderson to redeem his position. Application of these tools has a potential to make the managers understand the need for attending seminars.
Benson, J., Zigarmi, D., & Nimon, K. (2012). Managers emotional intelligence, their perceived use of directive and supportive leader behaviors and resultant employee satisfaction. Journal of Business Administration Research, 1(2), 30-50. doi:10.5430/jbar.v1n2p30
Northouse, P. G. (2012). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Sofijanova, E., & Zabijakin - Chatleska, V. (2013). Employee involvement and organizational performance: Evidence from the manufacturing sector in republic of Macedonia. Trakia journal of Sciences, 11(1), 31-36.
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