According to business consultant Ken Blanchard and behavioural scientist Paul Hersey, there are four stages employees experience throughout their service. They should all be managed and led differently and it is critical to do so to optimize employee potential. Below are the four types of employees and the best ways to manage them are listed:
Consider Sam – a new hire for your call centre. She is just starting out and needs guidance, direction, and a manager that is hands-on to show her the ropes. As time passes, Sam is able to handle many calls, resolve issues efficiently, and provides great customer service.
As she continues, she is trusted with more tasks and can now take ownership of her work. If she becomes highly competent and highly willing, but is still being directed, her motivation will drop – since she’s not empowered.
The Situational Leadership model is one of the world’s most adopted leadership models that “equips leaders around the globe with the skills necessary to address a specific challenge, drive behavior change and increase productivity” 1. Of course, there are many models of leading and managing a workforce but why is the Situational Leadership Theory an industry best practice?
1. Provides Personalized Guidance
When an employee is guided and supported in his/her position, they are given the assurance that they have what is needed to be successful.
2. Empowers employees at appropriate times
An employee will perform at his/her potential when he/she is empowered. With the Situational Leadership Theory, once the employee is competent and willing enough, management empowers them by giving them autonomy over their work.
3. They can see their progress
When managers give more responsibility to an employee it indicates their performance is improving. The more a manager trusts an employee, the more visible it is that he/she is progressing.
4. Intrinsically motivates employees
People want to be empowered and trusted. According to a world leader in business and behavioural science, Daniel Pink believes people are motivated by autonomy, purpose, and mastery. With the Situational Leadership Theory, as their competence increases and management distances themselves; this encourages employees to “do their thing”.
5. Encourages transparency and communication
Through the first three steps, the manager is able to maintain enough communication for the employee to feel confident in his/her competence. Leaders develop and train employees until they are successful and being able to communicate feedback is important for both parties to grow.