Situational leadership is a leadership theory that suggests that leaders ought to lead through various leadership styles, instead of implementing one general style. Essentially, situational leadership theory calls for a leader to assess a given situation and select a style that is appropriate for that situation. There are a few key steps you can take to begin implementing situational leadership.
Outline your follower's tasks. Defining and describing the tasks that need to be completed are a good first step for implementing situational leadership.
Determine a development level for each follower based on the tasks they must complete. Development style is assessed on two levels: competence and commitment. A follower can be extremely committed, but can lack the proper skills to complete a task. On the other hand, the follower can be extremely talented and skilled, but lack motivation to complete a task. Decide where your follower falls on the development level scale.
Choose a leadership style to address the development level of your follower. There are four main leadership styles: directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. The first two options are best suited for followers who need more direction, while the second two give more autonomy to the follower.
Discuss the situation and tasks with the follower. Make sure that you and the follower are on the same page regarding the management of the tasks or project involved.
Follow up with the follower throughout the life cycle of each task or project regularly. Feedback is necessary regardless of the leadership style you choose.
Evaluate the effectiveness of your situational leadership style. It is extremely important to remain consistent to the leadership style. However, if the style is not effective with the follower, you may need to reassess the situation and choose a different leadership style.
Art Corvelay is a freelance writer for demand studios who has been writing and editing for five years. He holds a Ph.D. in technical communication and teaches courses in writing and editing at the university level.