This model, developed by Kenneth Blanchard, describes the development of workgroups from the first phase when everybody is new on the job, keen to learn but in need of direction, to be told what to do and how. At this stage the leader should be high on control and doesn’t need to be very supportive. This is traditional authoritarian leadership, which is right under these special circumstances.
Following the broad arrow we then get to the phase when the group has learned some and acquired some experience. Here the motivation goes down, the enthusiasm of the beginning has waned and the routine of the job has become more apparent. The leadership required here is coaching which means both control and support.
Further along the group has become more proficient but still needs a lot of support. Giving too much direction at this stage will only make the group irritated “we know how to do it, don’t boss us!”
The ultimate stage is when the group is both well experienced and well motivated. This is when they experience that they are professionals and can feel proud of doing a good job. At this stage the leader should step back and delegate to the group to lead itself. A directing leadership at this stage will only result in the group throwing out the leader. They are often more proficient than the manager at this stage.
This model can be applied to groups but also to individuals. In a workgroup you can have individuals that can belong to any four of the stages. This is one of the reasons why leadership is difficult. You must get to know each one of your staff and adjust your leadership style to his/her needs in order to achieve the best potential out of everyone in the group.