Unless you’re part of a team of clones, you should stay away from one-size-fits-all models and take a contextual approach to leadership. Leadership style rigidity is simply impractical in today’s environment.

Situational leadership is a leadership style that has been developed and studied by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. With this approach, the leader or manager of an organization must adjust their style to fit the development level of those they are trying to influence. With situational leadership, it is up to the leader to flex, not the follower. Their style may change continually to meet the needs of others in the organization based on the situation.

Joy Birmingham, Assistant Director of Professional Development for Learning & Organization Development had this to say:

“Situational Leadership is important to this environment because it teaches managers and supervisors what employees need from them to grow their skills. Every manager has employees at various levels of performance (i.e. Beginner, Advanced Beginner, Intermediate and Expert). Actually, one person can be a beginner in using a new skill and considered an expert in a different skill.

Autonomy is a #1 desire of all employees, but we have to earn autonomy by learning to master all parts of our job.  Even when you have mastered a skill, you cannot sit idly. Systems, processes, customer expectations, etc. all change in time and managers need to be able to grow the performance of their employees.  At a time when managers have employees working from home, they can’t use visual and auditory cues about how employees are doing.  The employee may be able to “figure out” how to do something, but it is much easier for the manager to increase or decrease their direction and support to each employee.  Too much and you are micromanaging, but too little direction and support can make employees feel they are on their own.”

Interested in learning more to uncover the best in your employees? Learning & Organization Development is offering a course on Situational Leadership II on September 22 & 23. Register now!