Situational leadership refers to a leadership style where the leader of an organization has to modify his style to fit the progression level of the followers he is trying to influence. In situational leadership, it is up to the leader to change his style, not the follower to accommodate to the leader’s style. The style may change repeatedly to meet the needs of others in the organization based on the situation. As a leader you might wonder that you are not able to influence your employees in the organization and your approach does not work the same all the time.
Though there are many leadership theories to enable leaders successfully encourage and stimulate the followers to achieve a common goal, not all theories are able to draw a model that is suitable for all situations. As a leader each individual has varied styles, skills, characteristics and behavior that is unique. However, there are several factors that affect the influence the leader has on his followers or the organization. One of these factors is the situation of the organization. Thus, we are now going to discuss about situational leadership.
Characteristics of Situational Leadership
Since situational leadership is based on a number of different situations, there are various traits and characteristics that a situational leader possesses. Below listed are some characteristics of situational leadership :
- Supervising – Situational leadership will be high on the “directive” aspect when the juniors are not sufficiently developed and need continuous supervision. Here, the leader gives specific guidance about what the goals are, and exactly how the goals need to be achieved. It is similar to a parent supervising the actions of a newborn.
- Coaching – If the situation requires it, the leader will also coach their team. This is an extension of the supervising approach; the leader still provides detailed instructions but they also focus on motivating the subordinates, seeking inputs, and explaining why they have made certain decisions.
- Taking Part – The situational leader may try to advice a team to become more independent performing the tasks by letting them take routine choices. High-level problem-solving is still under their domain, but they allow team members to actively participate in the decision-making process.
- Delegating – When dealing with a highly matured and competent team, the situational leader will slowly reduce their supervision and involvement in the daily activities of team members. The leader is involved while discussing the tasks and deciding on the goals to be achieved, but after that team members have total freedom on how they want to accomplish these goals.
- Honesty – The situational leader does not change their approach just to take advantage of the situation. They simply adapt in a way that is most suitable considering factors such as the maturity level of followers, the organizational structure and culture, and the goals to be accomplished. They do so with honesty, and are not instigated by a desire to unfairly capitalize on the weaknesses of the team or organization.
- Determination – It takes a lot of courage for a leader to try out various leadership approaches and figure out which one is ideal. Most leaders hold on to a particular way of doing things – whatever has worked best for them in the past. But situational leader is courageous enough to take chances and to adopt a completely different leadership style if the situation demands it.
- Clear vision – The situational leader has a clear vision of how the team is progressing. This is what allows a leader to identify and acquire the most effective behaviors and strategies to achieve the goal.
- Modesty – The situational leader does not claim to know everything. With a group of highly developed and mature followers, they have the modesty to accept shortcomings and seek the higher wisdom of the group.
Advantages of Situational Leadership
The main advantage of situational leadership is that the model is easy to understand and use. When leaders effectively adapt their leadership style to their followers’ needs, work gets done, relationships are built up, and basically, the follower’s developmental level rises, to everyone’s benefit.
Situational leadership has become one of the most widely used leadership models in the world because it helps improve employee commitment and raise employee retention. Different situations require different types of leadership, even with the same employee. Most of leaders only use one style of leadership, regardless of the situation.
This typical approach means that some employees end up getting over-managed while others don’t get enough guidance or support. Situational leadership tries to deal with these problems by teaching leaders to adjust their leadership style based on each individual team member’s capability and commitment on a given goal or task. Situational leadership gives leaders a straight forward and clear process for determining which style of leadership will work best with a given employee in a given situation.
It’s an adjustable model that helps ensure that employees get enough support and encouragement, but don’t get suffocated or over-managed. The goal of every leader should be to boost the advancement, development, and motivation of their team members, and situational leadership helps simplify that process.
When employees receive special attention, support, and direction, they feel empowered and respected. As a result, adequately managed employees are more reliable more productive and more engaged in their work. The result is a better, happier workplace for everyone and a better profit.
Situational leadership program is designed to help leaders adapt an appropriate style and behavioral approach based on the organization’s development level. It is thus very important in effective decision making and the success of an organization. The Strengthscape’s situational leadership program is designed to enable leaders adopt applicable style and behavioral approach based on the organization’s development level.
The leader will be furnished with methodology that will help him to make an appropriate analysis of the organization. Based on the analysis drawn the leader is helped to adopt a certain style that will suit the organization’s situation. The principal coach of Strengthscape is a professional coach in helping leaders succeed as situational leaders.
We, at Strengthscape provide leadership training which reforms the skills of leaders by helping them increase their individuality, approaches and analyze their strengths and weaknesses before helping other team members do the same.