One of the first concepts of the leadership approach was Fiedler’s situational theory. She focused on the situation and identified three factors that influence the behavior of the leader. They are the relationship between the leader and subordinates, the structure of the task, and the authority of the leader.
Fred Fiedler was an American psychologist and one of the leading specialists in the field of organizational psychology of the past century. He seriously studied leadership problems, and after a huge number of experiments. He came to the conclusion, which was manifested in Fiedler’s contingency theory.
It states that each individual situation requires a leader of his own type, and such a type as an ideal leader does not exist at all. The ideas of this scientist to a large extent influenced not only the organizational psychology of the West, but also the whole world. Fiedler’s contingency theory established two important facts related to providing effective leadership.
Task-oriented managers provide higher group productivity in favorable and unfavorable situations. Relationship oriented executives provide better group performance in intermediate states. The effectiveness of the leader in Fiedler’s contingency theory depends both on the degree of favorable situation and on the leadership style.
The decisive factor is the consistency of leadership style and the situation in which the team works. This can be achieved in two ways, such as adapting the leader to the situation or changing the situation by giving the leader additional powers.
The optimality condition for management styles is orientation to the solution of production problems and to the establishment of favorable relationships in the team. Fiedler’s situational theory argues that an effective leader should demonstrate both styles and apply them depending on the nature of the current management situation.
It is also important to conclude that each situation in which leadership manifests itself is always a combination of the leader’s actions, the behavior of his subordinates, time, place and other circumstances.