Situational Leadership – Part 1

BlanchardPopular leadership author, Ken Blanchard, has released a well-known series of books around the title, The One Minute Manager.  His concept of ‘situational leadership’ has been especially helpful to many.

He speaks about four styles of leadership that need to be flexibly applied in different situations, depending upon the person you are dealing with. The attached chart summarises these, but needs some explanation.

The styles are as follows: ‘directing’, in which a highly structured approach is used that involves teaching and monitoring; ‘coaching’, which adds more explanation and solicits suggestions; ‘supporting’, in  which there is more shared responsibility for decision-making, more facilitation and more listening; and ‘delegating’, in which people are empowered to make day-to-day decisions and to take responsibility for them.  He refers to these as the S1, S2, S3 and S4 styles, respectively.

They all overlap to some degree and all styles need to make use of encouragement and affirmation so as to bring the best out of people. However, it is helpful to think about where people are at, what they can handle and how it is that they work best within their own limits before trying to think about how to stretch those limits. When we lead, we may want to delegate when people are not yet ready for this, so we can end up effectively ‘abdicating’ and then perhaps blame a person for not performing, when they simply haven’t been led in an appropriate manner.

Tomorrow, we will look at how to better identify which style to use in our own leadership roles.

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