The behaviors and effectiveness of leaders are not always indicative of the leadership process or style. Situational modifiers such as task structure, group environment, and the leader’s power position play a big role, with each factoring into the equation of leadership effectiveness (Bass & Stogdill, 1990). Yukl (1994) described the use of situational modifier variables relative to leadership and the Contingency Approach. Fiedler’s Contingency Theory posits that “leadership effectiveness is the result of the interaction between the style of the leader and the characteristics of the environment in which the leader works” (12manage, 2008). According to Chen & Silverthorne (2005) the follower dictates the most appropriate leader behavior.
Relative to my personal workplace, as a business owner our environment consists of the environment at large working in different locations on varied job-sites and if we are working in a private residence then the home-owner is always an independent variable that can influence and contribute to the “culture” of the work group in either negative or positive ways. If we are working in a public space then there is an even larger diverse group of people that can contribute to the mix of the employee work group. There are also other contractors within each job site that factor into the equation. Our work environment and the group environment are always changing depending upon our location and what other individuals might be influencing the structure. The task structure itself is somewhat repetitive but can change with each job site as every builder incorporates multiple surfaces which create greater and lesser degrees of difficulty with application. The products used with each job also influences task structure and difficulty level. The abilities of employees become relevant here as experience plays into how difficult each task may or may not be for each individual. Leader power position may change as we deal with employees and also with home owners, business owners, builders, and other stakeholders. Leadership effectiveness on each level may vary as each of these situational variables are always changing. However, we always strive to communicate effectively, clarify performance expectations, and develop supportive group relationships.
Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s handbook of leadership: theory, research, and managerial applications, 3rd edition, Free Press:
Chen, J. & Silverthorne C. (2005). Leadership effectiveness, leadership style and employee readiness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. Vol. 26, Iss. ¾; p. 280
Yukl, G. (1994). Leadership in organizations, 3rd edition, Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs.
12manage, 2008. Contingency Theory. Retrieved October 9, 2008 from http://www.12manage.com/methods_contingency_theory.html