Situational Theory of Leadership

The Situational Theory of Leadership is a pretty simple concept that can have profound benefits: it requires managers to use different leadership styles in different situations. Leaders must be able to analyze what every given situation will need and then select the leadership style that will bring about the best results. What is unique about this theory of leadership is that a manager’s leadership style may even vary from person to person.

If you’re looking to train leaders in this theory of leadership or want to implement this theory in a personal way, then here’s how you can get started.

1. Observation Means More Than Just Look At Things

The #1 problem that leaders have with the Situational Theory of Leadership is that they don’t use all of their senses in order to observe. Listening to an environment is just as critical as using eyes to see it. Listening to how the words that are being said is just as important as what the words actually are.

2. Selling Is Different Than Coaching

Coaching occurs when a leader is focusing on the development of their team or a specific employee. Selling is using the relationship that comes from this coaching to advocate for a specific course of action to be taken. Many leaders start out with this theory of leadership by reversing the process. They sell the point of individual development and coach people toward a course of action. If a leader needs to sell someone on the fact that they should be enhancing personal skills, then that’s a team that is in deep trouble.

3. Delegating Tasks Is A Lot Harder Than You Might Think

The benefit of being a leader is that you get to pull some of the strings that are around you. There’s a tangible reward in being that person in charge. It’s hard to let go of that reward and allow someone else to experience it. That’s why delegation is so difficult. Many leaders choose to stay super busy just so they don’t have to give up the rewards of being in control. Without delegation, however, this theory of leadership cannot be fully implemented.

4. Supports and Participation Are 100% Necessary

A leader cannot be one dimensional and hope to implement the Situational Theory of Leadership. There needs to be participation, but a leader must do more than just roll up their sleeves and do some of the work. They also need to be supportive and realize that there are times when it is better to step aside and provide a worker with they need for success instead.

5. There Must Be A Recognition That Situations Are Fluid and Ever-Changing

There are three outcomes that can be achieved: a higher outcome, a lower outcome, and a status quo outcome. The goal of the leader is to adapt their leadership style so that a higher outcome is always achieved. By making smart choices that are based on their observations, a good leader will set their entire team up for success while making every individual shine brightly.

The Situational Theory of Leadership requires a leader who can think rapidly and critically at the same time. When implemented correctly, however, this leadership theory will give any team the foundation of success that they need.

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