According to Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H Schmidt, a successful leader is neither strong nor persuasive in his behaviour. He judges the situation and displays appropriate behaviour and leadership style to control and guide his juniors. So, he has to assess such forces as are operational in a given situation. These forces are as follows:
(a) Forces are the manager (his value system, belief in subordinates, leadership inclinations, tolerances for ambiguity of outcomes etc.)
(b) Forces in subordinates (level of subordinates, need for independents, readiness to assume responsibilities, tolerance to ambiguity, identification with the organisational goats etc.)
(c) Forces in the situation (values of the organisation, geographical distribution of units, nature of the problem, resource constraints, time constraints, group cohesiveness etc.)
These forces combine to form a set of factors, which the leader must comprehend. Then, they must define his leadership style, which ought to be effective according to the requirements of the organisational goals.
In 1973, Tannenbaum and Schmidt replaced the old continuum with a new one. They stated that societal changes also affect various changes in organisations. Such societal forces act on the organisation from outside.
The total area of freedom shares by the manager and non-managers is regularly redefined by interactions between them as well as by the environmental forces. The arrows indicate that there is a continuous flow of interdependence influence among systems and people.
The points on the continuum inform us about the types of manager and his behaviour that would be displayed with a given amount of freedom. A successful leader is one who understands the types of such forces that are more relevant to his behaviour at any given time.
He understands the types of such forces that are more relevant to his behaviour at any given time. He understands himself and the group he plans to direct. He also knows about this organisation and the social environment in which, his firm operates.
Determination or assessment of forces is vital in the view of Tannenbaum and Schmidt to emerge as a successful leader in the modern world. That is because the firm cannot remain aloof from its environment. The manager must assess the forces prevalent at the time he is trying to act as a leader.
He has to behave according to the situation. Finally, he has to be flexible and sensitive towards the forces and people so that he can steer his ship through difficult situation that he is required face in his job.