Making the Most of the Management Theory of Fred Fiedler

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Fred Fiedler is best known for his contributions to a contingency theory of leadership, which claims that there is no one best way for ...

Fred Fiedler is best known for his contributions to a contingency theory of leadership, which claims that there is no one best way for a leader to manage a company, and that instead leaders must vary their leadership styles depending on the situation. Realizing that a manager needs to be sensitive to situational contexts is one of the most fundamental ways of making the most of the management theory of Fred Fiedler.

As a business leader, you can also employ Fiedler management philosophies by using the Least Preferred Co-Worker scale to assess your leadership style. By doing so, you can adapt your leadership to different scenarios when necessary. Fiedler's management theory represents a revolutionary turn in leadership thinking, but is easy to implement with some time and concentration.

Consider the following options for making the most of the management theory of Fred Fiedler:

  1. Use the Least Preferred Co-Worker scale for assessing leadership through Fiedler's management theory.
  2. Consider Fiedler's theories of contingency when making business decisions.
  3. Get to know Fred Fiedler more in depth through books and articles.

Incorporate Fiedler management philosophies using the LPC scale

The LPC, or Least Preferred Co-Worker scale, is one of the most famous contributions of Fred Fiedler to the field of business management. The LPC scale asks a leader to imagine his or her least preferred co-worker, and then to rank that person's traits. The rankings are then used to characterize leadership type as "high" or "low" on the LPC scale.

Understand the leader's situational role in Fiedler contingency theory

Fiedler contingency theory emphasizes that leaders have situational control over their organizations. According to Fiedler, a leader's actions will vary depending on three factors: leader-member relations, task structure and leader position power. Leadership effectiveness depends on the leader's ability to adapt his or her leadership type to the given situational factors.
Bellevue College and Changing Minds. Remember when using contingency theory to adapt your leadership style that effective management depends on your ability to recognize your realistic position in terms of power and relationships, rather than attempting to achieve results that the situation does not support.

Read books and articles published by Fred Fiedler for a deeper understanding

For truly making the most of the management theory of Fred Fiedler, it is important to read the significant works Fiedler has published. Although many of Fiedler's most famous works, such as A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness, were published in the 1960s and 1970s, many tenets of Fred Fiedler contingency theory are still used today and can be better understood by reading the original sources.
  • Educate your employees and co-workers about the management theory of Fred Fiedler to make sure that you will have the support you need to implement his philosophies. Your organization as a whole will be able to adapt to different situations more effectively if changes in leadership style don't come as a surprise.

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