Situational leadership theory

Situational leadership theory

One weekness – Limited Flexibility resulting to Pressure

Lack of flexibility is one weakness of situational leadership theory, which is evident to cause pressure at work as supported by Northouse (2013) where he prescribed the situational leadership theory as being fully dependent on the situation where the leadership style is to be applied. Following some studies which define leadership levels like the models derived by Thompson and Vecchio (2009), leadership can be dependent on task-orientation and relationship-orientation. Goodson et al, (1989) suggested that ‘leadership is a phenomenon that resides in the context of the interactions between leaders and followers and makes leadership available to everyone’. When the situational model gives little room for balancing tasks, individual dedication and relationship, flexibility is constrained hence pressure to the individuals.

This concern in the situational leadership model of lacking flexibility is valid since it results to pressure, where the leader has to constantly analyze his situation before making decisions on actions (Northouse, 2013). Other leadership models have flexibility which enables leaders to sometimes act at dilemma situations and therefore reducing pressure at work. The perfect response leadership can thus be achieved by considering the situation and followers as suggested by Thompson & Vecchio (2009).

Since leadership is a process involving influence of followers towards common goals (Northouse, 2013), situational leadership model which indicates that a manager must be placed in the right situation for his specific leadership style creates pressure in dilemma times. Therefore, other leadership styles like ‘the path-goal theory’ call for leadership to embrace strength, power and natural traits which enable fair handling of dilemma situations for perfect leadership. In conclusion, lack of flexibility in situational leadership creates pressure from hanging decisions which require the leaders’ resolution and can therefore be improved by applying flexibility in leadership.



Goodson, J. R., McGee, G. W., & Cashman, J. F. (1989). Situational Leadership Theory: A Test of Leadership Prescriptions. Group & Organization Management, 14(4), 446-461.

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications

Thompson, G., & Vecchio, R. P. (2009). Situational Leadership Theory: A Test Of Three Versions. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(5), 837-848.

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