A number of students of the Leadership/Management subject have postulated multi-modal models of Leadership. Perhaps one of the most renowned is Ken Blanchard’s (http://www.kenblanchard.com) ‘Situational Leadership” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_leadership_theory. This model not only states that different types of Leadership modes exist, but also that they each have a pre-eminent role to play in an enterprise dependent on what stage the enterprise is in its maturity lifecycle.
In true stereotypical management consulting style, Blanchard proposes a two-by-two matrix of Leadership attributes: ‘Directive’ and ‘Supportive’. Combining ‘high’ and ‘low’ propensities on each of these dimensions creates each of the 4 Leadership types:
1. High Directive – Low Supportive: Directing Leader
2. High Directive – High Supportive: Coaching Leader
3. Low Directive – High Supportive: Supporting Leader
4. Low Directive – Low Supportive: Delegating Leader
Furthermore, he postulates that as projects or undertakings evolve through a ‘lifecycle’, each one of these leadership mode comes more to the fore. For example, the high confusion and energy of the early stages of an endeavour call for a more ‘Directing’ leadership to provide focus, while later in the high performing stages, the leadership style needs to get out of the way of the team.
I don’t think that Blanchard Leadership modes directly map to the personas of ‘Leader’ and ‘Manager’ examined in this blog because the definitions are made on different criteria and considerations. The Blanchard model looks at ‘Directive’ and ‘Supportive’ behaviours/skills while my model looks at risk perspectives. For each of the Blanchard styles and phases, there are upside and downside risk considerations. For example, at the outset of a project, ‘Leader’ skills evangelising upside could be key to set a bold vision, while ‘Manager’ skills guarding downside could be key to ensure that matters don’t crumble and deteriorate at such a fragile and vulnerable stage. The common thread is the ‘Situational’ model which underscores the need for a more than one Leadership/Management style and the need for balance and capability across a range of styles in an organisation for optimal stewardship.