When discussing the contingency theories of leadership, it becomes important to start considering the environment where the leader works and other situational factors that lead to the interplay of that leader’s unique skill set. When the details of a situation are combined with the assigned task of the leader, it means different leadership styles will be required to maximize the results which can be achieved.
Everyone has a natural leadership style. With contingency theories of leadership in play, everyone also adapts other leadership styles in order to get a job done.
There Are Two Essential Factors Which Must Be Considered
In order to determine where your leadership style is going to fit into any given situation so that you can be an effective leader, you must determine what your least favorable and preferred environments are going to be. Who is the type of person that will just irritate you to no end and always push your buttons while you’re trying to work? What would be the best environment for you to get this current job task completed.
Under contingency theories of leadership, the leader will take the information from the answers of these two questions and break down all of the factors that are involved. They will determine if they need a strong or weak position of power and if there needs to be task structure. Then the leader can choose the best style that is required for that particular set of tasks and become that leader. As tasks change, then leadership styles can change as well.
The key to making the contingency theories of leadership work is to be open and honest about the information that is gathered. Accurate information is necessary for absolute results to be achieved.
Why Is This Information So Important?
Let’s say you’ve just stepped into a role as a new executive. Your direct reports don’t trust you at all because you’re new, but you have authority because you have an executive role in the organization. Your first tasks are highly structured through exact definitions. This means that your focus as a leader can be on building relationships while the team gets the job done.
Now let’s fast-forward 10 years. You’re still in this executive role and now your team respects you. A new contract comes in that requires creative work, which means it is very unstructured. Because you still have that leadership role, you can evaluate these circumstances and see that focusing on tasks is the role that you should take on during this situation.
Contingency theories of leadership aren’t perfect. Sometimes the best outcome during the evaluation is for a leader to be replaced. Sometimes the results can be skewed if a leader ends up scoring a situation right down the middle of the theory, which means there is no definitive result for a leader to choose. In many situations, however, knowing these theories will allow every leader to be more flexible and help them identify what their focus should be.