Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. Define leadership style. Identify, explain, and give examples of behaviors corresponding with four proposed styles.
  2. Define development level. Identify, explain, and give examples of followers who would fit each of the four proposed development levels.
  3. Explain the two steps leaders must fulfill to be effective. Apply these steps to a current situation in which you are a follower. What style would be most appropriate for leading you, according to the theory, and why? Do you agree?
  4. Complete Case 5.2 (or 5.1 or 5.3). Answer all questions.
  5. Complete the measure, Situational Leadership: A Brief Questionnaire. How well did you do? What factors might make it harder for you to be more directive as a leader? More supportive?
  6. Does a leader’s motivation for adapting his or her leadership style have any effect on followers? In other words, would a leader with a high concern for task differ from a leader with a high concern for relationships?
  7. Do you think the prescribed leadership behaviors in the SLII model apply to all cultures? Why or why not?
  8. Would the prescribed leadership behaviors in the SLII model work as well with a virtual team?
  9. How well defined is the developmental level of followers in the SLII model? What outside influences might affect followers’ commitment or competence?
  10. What would follower competence and commitment look like in your line of work (i.e., how are these qualities conceptualized)?
  11. Are seasoned workers permanently at the D4 level? How well does the SLII model fit the work experience of an employee who’s held the same position for 20 years?
  12. If a leader uses a different style of leadership with each of his followers, how might that lead to perceptions of favoritism? What could a leader do to avoid such impressions while still being adaptable to follower needs?
  13. How might the situational approach be affected by the number of followers that a leader has?
  14. How easy is it for you to vary your leadership style?
  15. If a leader matches his or her style to the overall developmental level of the group he or she is leading, how might this affect the performance and motivation of the workers who are different from the mean (more or less committed, more or less competent)?
  16. How can leaders simultaneously adapt their leadership styles to the development levels of individual group members and to the group as a whole?
  17. How can a leader be sure his or her perceptions of followers’ competence and commitment are accurate?
  18. Why wouldn’t the coaching style be effective in every situation?
  19. Evaluate the empirical support (or lack of support) for the validity of the situational leadership model.
  20. Compare the findings of various studies by Vecchio and colleagues of the validity of the situational leadership model with different sample populations: (a) school teachers, (b) university employees, (c) Military Academy cadets, and (d) bank employees. Would the prescribed leadership styles be a better fit with a different population?