Hersey And Blanchard Model

DEFINITION of 'Hersey And Blanchard Model'

A situational leadership model which suggests that there is no single optimal leadership style, and successful leaders adjust their styles based on "follower maturity." Follower maturity is determined by the ability and confidence of the group they are attempting to lead. The model proposes that leaders deal with varying levels of follower maturity by adjusting their relative emphasis on task and relationship behaviors. According to the model, this gives rise to four leadership styles -


Delegating Style: a low-task, low-relationship style, where the leader allows the group to take responsibility for task decisions.


Participating Style: a low-task, high-relationship style that emphasizes shared ideas and decisions.


Selling Style: a high-task, high-relationship style, in which the leader attempts to "sell" his ideas to the group by explaining task directions in a persuasive manner.


Telling Style: a high-task, low-relationship style where the leader gives explicit directions and supervises work closely.

BREAKING DOWN 'Hersey And Blanchard Model'

Managers using the Hersey-Blanchard model must be able to select the leadership style that matches the maturity of followers. For example, if follower maturity is high, the model suggests a delegating style of leadership where the leader has to provide minimal guidance.


The model was developed in 1970s by professor and author Paul Hersey and leadership expert Ken Blanchard, author of "The One Minute Manager."

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