There are various qualities, characteristics and approaches that contribute to being a successful leader. Understanding leadership styles is undoubtedly crucial, providing a valuable foundation for effective leadership, however, the hallmark of an exceptional leader lies in their ability to adapt their style to the situation.
The most accomplished leaders will keenly analyse cues such as the specific task's nature, the dynamics of the group involved and other pertinent factors that contribute to accomplishing objectives. Leaders elevate their effectiveness by wielding this ability to navigate and shift their approach, ensuring a well-suited style that resonates with the situation and fosters optimal outcomes.
In the 1970s, behavioural scientist Paul Hersey and author Ken Blanchard introduced the Situational Leadership® Model, a pivotal framework that has since stood as a pinnacle within the annals of behavioural sciences. This model empowers leaders to decipher the optimal style for any given situation by considering three pivotal facets:
Style 1 - Telling: This style comes to the fore when followers are inexperienced and the leader makes decisions and closely supervises execution of the task.
Style 2 - Selling: For situations where followers are willing yet lack the capability to complete a task, the leader assumes a practical stance. They coach and elucidate, guiding followers towards the ideal path to task completion.
Style 3 - Participating: Adopting this style is advocated in scenarios where followers are competent but show signs of hesitancy or insecurity. Encouraging participation, the leader encourages them to complete the task by fostering a supportive environment.
Style 4 - Delegating: When the leader feels confident the follower has the ability and willingness to complete a task, delegation becomes the apt choice. Suited for seasoned employees with self-established processes, this style empowers them to accomplish tasks independently.
The four styles of Situational Leadership® provide a valuable framework to navigate any situation, but the essence of exceptional leadership lies in your ability to adapt based on the prevailing circumstances.
When you can recognise the importance of contextualising your approach, no two situations are ever the same, and can result in the following benefits:
As aptly stated by Paul Hersey:
“It is not enough to describe your leadership style or indicate your intentions. A Situational Leader assesses the performance of others and takes the responsibility for making things happen.”
If you’re eager to grow as a leader and inspire your team to success, you can discover our Situational Leadership® Training Accreditation Programmes here. For further information or advice, please contact our friendly training experts on 01252 618 400 or email [email protected].
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