View our FREE leadership webinar

What Is Situational Leadership? Understanding the Core Principles and Benefits

What Is Situational Leadership? Understanding the Core Principles and Benefits

Let’s be honest, no matter what size or stage of business, it’s tough. A mentor of mine says the bigger you are, the bigger the challenges you’re faced with.

When you’re just starting out, and it’s just you, you have to worry about marketing, messaging, reputation, sales, cashflow, as well as personal performance. As you hire in, you now have the added responsibility for them being able to pay their mortgage, feed their kids, etc, on top of motivating them to perform to their best consistently.

When you get to the size that you need extra managers to manage the day-to-day, you also have the concern of whether or not they have the skills to be able to lead effectively.

If there’s one word to describe being in business, it’s ‘dynamic’

Things change – all the time! The marketing strategy that brought in record results last year, next year falls on deaf ears.

The new hire you brought in last time, turned out to be brilliant. This time, you’re sifting through hundreds of applications, none of which are appropriate to the role.

The bonuses you offer to reward performance, were working brilliantly 5-yrs ago, these days people aren’t interested.

In the ever changing, or ‘dynamic’ world of business, having leaders, at all levels, able to adapt to circumstances – be that the people, the situation, or both – is essential.

This is what makes situational leadership so important. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of situational leadership, its principles, benefits, and how you can develop these essential skills through leadership training, leadership development, leadership mentoring and leadership coaching.

What is Situational Leadership?

Situational leadership, put simply, is having the ability to adapt to the situation presented. 

Business Meeting

It’s an approach that requires flexibility and recognition that there isn’t a single style of leadership. It requires leaders to have an in-depth appreciation of the task at hand, the people involved, their stage of development, experience, knowledge, and motivational factors.

It’s not an excuse to take shortcuts in the leadership tactics adopted, because “the person doesn’t respond to that”, or “there just isn’t the time”.

It’s about having the skill to adopt tactics relevant to the person, people, and situation.

The model was developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard.

Core Situational Leadership Principles

Situational leadership principles are based on four main styles: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating.

1. Directing

This is manager led. They’re highly directive and tend to rely on their authority to get tasks done. This style can be very effective when team members are new or inexperienced, or when the situation is urgent. Managers provide clear instructions and closely supervise tasks.

    2. Coaching:

    This is still manager led; decision making still lies with the manager but is based upon open conversations that allow team members to contribute. It’s very useful when team members are developing their skills but still need guidance and support.

      3. Supporting

      This style is more team led, rather than manager. It works well when team members are competent but may lack the experience to have appreciated all contingencies.

        4. Delegating

        This is entirely team led. It’s excellent when team members are highly skilled, motivated, and have the experience necessary to make decisions.

          The attitude of situational leadership is one that none of these styles are right or wrong. They’re just right or wrong for a person or situation. 

          For example, you may have someone who’s moved into your team from a different department. In their previous role they were hugely competent and experienced, and now require more support because the role is new to them. While they previously may have suited a delegating style, coaching is probably now more appropriate, until their competence and experience has grown.

          Andy Nisevic Coaching Session

          Understanding and implementing these styles can significantly enhance your leadership effectiveness. It takes great judgement and skills to be a situational leader because you may have different people in your team, each at a different stage of development, all requiring a different style of leadership. Leadership training programs can provide you with the tools and techniques to master these styles.

          Benefits of Situational Leadership

          The benefits of situational leadership are wide and varied. 

          By adapting your leadership style to meet the needs of each individual in your team, you can:

          • Improve team performance: Tailoring your approach to individual team members can enhance morale, which leads to greater productivity.
          • Increase employee engagement: Employees feel valued and understood when their leader adjusts their style to meet their needs.
          • Enhance decision-making: When situational leaders have taken individuals on a development pathway to where team members can make decisions, businesses are less reliant on the capacity of a single person to drive tasks/projects in the right direction.
          • Develop future leaders: By applying different leadership styles, you can mentor and coach your team members, preparing them for future leadership roles.

          How to Develop Situational Leadership Skills

          Developing situational leadership skills requires a commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement. 

          Here are some strategies to help you get started:

          Self-assessment: Regularly evaluate your leadership style and effectiveness. Seek feedback from your team to identify areas for improvement. There are 2 considerations managers need to have here. Be prepared to hear something you don’t like. And, people tend to only be completely honest when they either feel safe, or don’t care anymore. 360 feedback often fails at the first hurdle because the people being asked for the feedback don’t feel comfortable saying something they believe their manager won’t like.

          Leadership training: Invest in leadership training programs that focus on understanding the individual personalities within your teams. These programs can provide you with the knowledge and skills to adapt your style effectively.

            Practice adaptability: Make a conscious effort to adjust your leadership style based on the needs of your team members and the situation. This might involve moving from a directive to a supportive style as your team members develop their skills.

              Seek mentorship: Engage with a leadership mentor who can provide guidance and support as you develop your situational leadership skills.

                Continuous learning: Stay updated with the latest leadership theories and practices. Read books, attend workshops, and participate in leadership development programs.

                  Leadership Training and Development Programs

                  A common misunderstanding of leadership is that you just need to be a good person and treat people well. While that’s important, it’s only the foundational requirements. To put that into context, when you’re building a house, laying strong foundations is essential. But, if you stop there, you’ll get wet and cold very quickly!

                  Being a good person and treating people well is particularly important in effective leadership, but it’s only the foundation.

                  Leadership development programs are essential for developing the leadership skills required to be an effective leader and adapt to the situation. These programs often include workshops, seminars, mentoring, coaching, and psychometric assessments designed to enhance your ability to adapt your leadership style.

                  The Role of Leadership Mentoring and Coaching

                  Mentoring and coaching play a crucial role in developing situational leadership skills. A mentor can provide valuable insights and feedback, helping you navigate the complexities of leadership. Similarly, a leadership coach can work with you to identify your strengths and areas for improvement, providing personalised guidance and support.

                  Situational leadership is a powerful approach that can significantly enhance your effectiveness as a leader. By understanding and applying different leadership styles, you can better meet the needs of your team and drive your organisation towards success. 

                  To further develop your situational leadership skills, consider engaging in leadership training, development programs, mentoring, and coaching.

                  If you’re ready to take your leadership skills to the next level, we invite you to explore our leadership development programs. Contact us today to learn more and make an inquiry about how we can help you become a more adaptable and effective leader.

                  Related Posts
                  Leave a Reply

                  Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *