There have been various leadership theories that emerged since the concept of leadership has been closely evaluated and analyzed as instrumental in facilitating the achievement of defined goals. Two of the leadership theories: participative and situational, are the subject of the current discourse as various components of these styles would be detailed and examined.
The University of Texas at Brownville’s website published an article on leadership styles online and differentiated authoritarian, participative, delegative, and situational. As disclosed, participative leadership, or also known as the democratic leadership style has been noted to be the most effective style among these styles. The components of the participative leadership include the following: (1) sharing power and authority with the members of the organization; (2) decentralize decision-making so members are able to participate; (3) members are apparently consulted and are encouraged to express their positions, as well as suggest recommendations; (4) communication manifested is a two-way process; (5) permits the development of followers and helps them realize their own potentials.
On the other hand, the situational leadership style is also known as the contingency approach to leadership and has been stated by Martires & Fule (2010) as based on the premise that effective leadership is situational. Rather than looking for the one best way of leading that is applicable in all situations, the situational leadership approach suggests that leadership style should be varied in accordance with the requirements of the leadership situation. As such, the components of this leadership style are as follows: (1) there is the need for flexibility; (2) emphasis on adaptability; (3) need for leaders to be dynamic and enable to adapt and adjust to the situation that leaders are faced with; and (4) it considers three factors which allegedly affect the decision of leaders, to wit: “the situation, the capability of the followers and the capability of the leader” .
In effect, there are similarities in both styles according to the fact that it considers the capabilities of the followers in their decision-making processes. However, the disparities could be inferred from the fact that in situational leadership, leaders are able to discern the need to evaluate the situation and the leaders’ own capabilities prior to applying a particular leadership style. Under participative leadership, the leader has already exemplified exhibiting the democratic style regardless of the followers’ capabilities and the situation at hand.
In explaining how these two styles could be utilized in responding to a given scenario where the pre-planned protest by a militia that has been approved by the city administration, and which is also likely to draw several other protest groups, it could be deduced that the situation calls for a situational leadership which necessitates discerning the situation, the capacities of the followers and the particular style that the leader could apply in the situation. If an organization is faced with this scenario, a leader must assess the potential effects of the pre-planned protest to the different stakeholders of the organization. A participative leader could just allow members of the organization to participate or seek their inputs on the scenario and these actions could be detrimental to the organization as it could disrupt current operations and cause financial losses in terms of delays in production and output due to the protest.
On the other hand, a situational leader would assess this situation in terms of the pros and cons of seeing this scenario from various perspectives. From the assessment, and knowing the capabilities of his followers, the situational leader could either apply an autocratic style to prevent workers to join the protest but at the same time, providing alternative course of action to address the issues being protested. This move would be more advantageous for the organization in the long-run, in terms of preventing work disruption and working towards motivating the workers to enhance performance by addressing their issues of protest.
Martires, C., & Fule, G. (2010). Management of Human Behavior in Organizations. Quezon City: National Bookstore.