SL Theory

SL Theory is a way of thinking in which the leadership which people in charge of management should provide varies depending on the degree of maturity of subordinates. Situational Leadership Theory.


1. Overview

To Achieve effective management, a style of leadership needs to be changed depending on a situation.

SL Theory is a way of thinking in which the desirable leadership which managers provide should be changed depending on maturity of subordinates. The theory is proposed by P.Hersey and K.H.Blanchard in 1977. It can be also said that the theory is developed from a situational component in F.E.Fiedler’s Contingency Model and focuses on the degree of maturity of subordinates.


2. Relationship according to the degree of business maturity of subordinates

The ideal leadership (Relationship) according to (1)low maturity, (2)medium-low maturity, (3)medium-high maturity, (4)high maturity.

2-1. Low maturity followers (e.g.:New employees)

Give detailed directions for work, but do not work cooperatively.(Directing)

2-2. Medium-low maturity followers (e.g.:employees who have worked for less than 5 years)

Give detailed directions for work, and work cooperatively. Leaders explain their idea and execute tasks, answering to questions that subordinates have. These leaders sometimes have subordinates think of something, or ask them for their opinions.(Coaching)

2-3. Medium-low maturity followers (e.g.:mid-career employees)

Work cooperatively without giving detailed directions for work. Leaders of this type encourage subordinates and improve the working environment for the sake of promoting their autonomy. They try to make decisions with combining leaders’ and subordinates’ ideas. (Supporting)

2-4. High maturity followers (e.g.:experienced employees)

Leaders of this type do not give detailed working directions, nor work cooperatively. They delegate the responsibility of executing tasks to subordinates (who are more familiar with the situation of business than leaders). They delegate privileges and responsibilities to subordinates and try to manage them as little as possible. (Delegating)


3. Business Process definition according to differences of relationship

With relationship in which leaders should give detailed working directions, Business Process need to be designed so that it flow to subordinates from leaders. With relationship in which leaders do not give detailed working directions, the steps leaders must be involved should be eliminated.

In the steps which need cooperative operations, leaders should take positive actions such as advising or making a counterproposal.


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Y. External Sites

  • > PDCA