Free to act, or closely controlled?
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some are authoritarian and prefer to tell their teams exactly what to do. Others use a much more participative style. And, of course, leaders may use a style anywhere between these two extremes.
These differences suggest a continuum of leadership behavior – with leaders being able to choose the style they use.
So how do you choose the leadership style that's right for you? One popular approach to leadership, the "contingency" approach, argues that your choice should be based on the situation, and not on your personal preferences (here, "contingency" means that your approach is dependent on/contingent upon the situation).
In 1958, contingency theorists Robert Tannenbaum and Warren Schmidt identified a continuum of seven distinct leadership styles, which they published in the Harvard Business Review. By understanding this continuum, you can see some of the options available to you, which helps you think about which leadership style is most appropriate in a given situation.
The Tannenbaum-Schmidt Continuum shows where a manager's approach lies on a continuum, running from...
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