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Hersey and Blanchard developed a model of leadership (known as situational leadership theory) that essentially focused on the maturity, competence, or ability of subordinates as one of the crucial factors that should influence leadership style. In short, different types of subordinates need different types of leaders. The best way to lead subordinates with a very high degree of ability is through a "delegating" approach, assigning important tasks and decisions to workers themselves. The best way to lead subordinates with a very low degree of readiness is "telling," which essentially means that a leader tells them exactly what to do and supervises them all the way. More competent workers need to be valued, and less competent workers need to be nurtured. The way that this relates to decision-making is that effective leaders need to be able to consciously determine which leadership style works the best in which situations, and tailor their behavior accordingly. So effective leaders not only need to know how to manage different types of people, but need to decide when and when not to do so. Situations, in other words, determine leadership styles.
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