Of all the different leadership styles my personal favorite is the style referred to as situational leadership.
So, what does this actually mean?
Before we jump into the definition of what a situation leader is let me first offer a disclaimer so that no one is left with the wrong idea. I do not believe for one minute that someone can change styles at the drop of a hat or even in some cases over time. This is more about identifying what type a leader someone is than trying to change someone into that style of leadership. After all that’s why there are many different styles of leadership and all have their own merit.
So back to our original question of what exactly does a situational leader look or act like?
A situational leader is the one that adapts their leadership style to either the challenge they are facing or the type of people they are leading. As an example I was in the United States Marine Corps for several years and now I am in the private sector. There is no question I have changed my leadership style from the one that I used in the Marine Corps. Even while in the Marine Corps I adapted to the situation at hand.
There were times when I ran my team like a dictator and other times I desired to get feedback from everyone before making a decision. Both were effective based on the desired results. In a combat situation you do not have the time to do anything other than give commands and expect immediate action to take place. Lives will be in grave danger if this doesn’t happen!
Some challenges in the business world demand feedback from those that are part of the entire team so that you have buy in and more importantly everyone understands the impact and commitment necessary to be successful. An example of a situation where this might work very well is when a business is trying to decide if they should expand into a different or more complex area of their industry. This may be a time to bring all the team together to consider all the positives and negatives impacts that could occur. In this type of situation the leader has made a decision to consider the possibilities and involves their team in that process. After everything has been considered the leader makes a decision.
When considering the different leadership styles and in particular this one, situational leadership, it is important to understand that being flexible is the key to success. Sometimes being too rigid or predictable can work against you as a leader. An example of this is Daniel being cast into the lion’s den by King Darius. King Darius truly liked Daniel very much and had nothing but respect for him. However, because the King liked him it meant many of the others under the King’s rule hated Daniel and wanted to see him dead. As a result they tricked the King into making a law that couldn’t be changed and resulted in Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den. Don’t let the power of being a leader destroys your ability to lead! An example of this might be that you take severe and swift action on someone you don’t care much for because they broke a policy; however, when that same policy is broken by someone that is valuable to the company you try to back track. Think through all the possibilities before taking the original action. That’s situational leadership.
Thank you and may God bless you for reviewing this article on different leadership styles!