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In leadership, you may have noticed that different situations call for different answers. So it’s necessary that you train your team through unfamiliar tasks rather than assigning duties. If your team works on a project that is similar to the one they have already done before, you can play a less active role in leadership. As a result, situational leadership styles or models mean adapting your leadership style to the current circumstance. In this article, we’ll talk about situational leadership styles with examples and how to apply them to foster an adaptable and flexible workplace.

What Is Situational Leadership?

Situational leadership involves changing your management style for each specific event or activity in order to fulfill the needs of your team or team members. However, it requires leaders to consider both the levels of preparedness of the team members they lead in a particular situation. A situational leader brings out the best in their team by fostering a democratic workplace and encouraging adaptability and flexibility.

Understanding Situational Leadership Models

Situational leadership can aid managers in adapting to their work settings and the people they lead. To become a successful leader, you must learn how to change your leadership style as you grow. Situational leadership models take into account the level of competence and dedication of the employees they serve. Depending on the task at hand, these can be rather diverse. Additionally, it takes into account the difficulty of the task and the level of leadership and guidance necessary from the leader.

As a leader, you can use this flexibility to adapt your leadership models to the situation at hand and empower your people to their fullest potential. Assume you’ve taken on a new employee who’s just starting out at the organization. You’ve come to the conclusion that this new hire is lacking in qualifications and experience. Your leadership style changes as a result of this. This involves guiding them in a way that makes them feel comfortable and confident.

For example, rather than delegating responsibilities to them, you take your time and show them how to do a task. Because of this, you’ll need to monitor them more closely. It is inevitable that as your team progresses in experience, you will need to adapt situational leadership models to suit them. Whatever your leadership style, leadership coaching can help you become a better leader.

How Does Situational Leadership Work?

The situational leadership strategy can help you build relationships with your team members since you’ll modify your leadership models to their degrees of development. Each team member needs a different level of hands-on leadership and leadership based on communication. With your team’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, you’ll be able to choose the best leadership style for the situation.

There is a wide range of abilities, confidence, and drive among the members of any given team. Some team members will appreciate your leadership, while others will feel underserved if you utilize the same leadership style for everyone. Situational leadership models are adaptable and enable you to tailor your leadership style to each individual’s requirements.

Situational leadership necessitates leaders having numerous leadership styles and being able to switch between them. This may take some practice to master. Leaders may have a “comfort zone” or a natural preference for a specific management style. So, too, might the organization. This can make it difficult to develop the entire range of skills required to be a successful situational leader.

It is critical for leaders to stretch in this way. Diverse situations necessitate different leadership styles in order to achieve the greatest results. To handle the challenges of today’s changing work environment, we need different leadership methods, just as we need numerous tools to build a house. Developing these skills frequently necessitates conscious effort.

Most examples of situational leadership can help you understand more about how to handle the challenges you may face as a leader. But let’s take a look at the four types of leadership styles.

Four Situational Leadership Styles.

There are four types of leadership styles available to a situational leader, each of which increases his or her chances of success in any given situation.

#1. Directing

Directing leaders through defining the roles and tasks of their followers; and supervising them closely. This leadership style is most effective when a team member requires tight monitoring by you as the leader, either due to inexperience or a lack of dedication to the task at hand. A new team member joins the organization with no prior experience in sending outreach emails to potential clients. Because this is their first outreach project, they don’t appear confident in handling it on their own, so you utilize the directing situational leadership style to assist them through each stage and ensure they don’t make any mistakes.

#2. Coaching

Coaching leaders still define roles and tasks but seek ideas and suggestions from their followers. Because you may observe and help them without direct supervision, this situational leadership style is most successful for the passionate novice. Even though they have never worked in this industry before, a team member is keen to obtain experience in social media marketing. Despite their lack of expertise, you let them work on a social media project while you observed them in order for them to develop task-related experience. After the project is completed, you provide them with performance feedback.

#3. Supporting

Supporting leaders pass day-by-day decisions such as task allocation and process followers. Use this leadership style if a member of your team possesses the required talents but lacks the confidence or motivation to achieve the task at hand. As the leader, you can use open-ended inquiries to help identify the problem and discover a solution.

One of your most skilled team members suddenly underperforms on work tasks. You’re worried because you know they’re capable of much more than what they’re now putting forth. You use the supporting situational leadership style to arrange a one-on-one meeting with this team member. When you discover that the problem is personal, you offer the employee a listening ear and a mental health day off before returning to work full force.

#4. Delegating

Because it is a team member-led leadership style, it entails low directive and low supportive conduct. When team members are self-sufficient achievers, you may need to step back in your leadership role. This strategy encourages team members’ freedom while also fostering team trust. A team member you’ve known for a few years expresses confidence in finishing an upcoming assignment on their own. You also know from previous experience that they have the requisite talents to execute it. You opt to delegate authority to them, knowing that they will return to you with questions and final approval. Let’s go through the examples of situational leadership

What Are Some Situational Leadership Examples?

Here are a few examples of situational leadership

Leaders like Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Colin Powell, Head Coach John Wooden, and Head Coach Patricia Sue Summit can all credit their success to the adoption of a situational leadership style.

Eisenhower, Dwight D.

During World War II, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme allied commander. He was then elected President of the United States. His success in each of these roles is sometimes credited to his ability to employ various leadership styles in each setting. During the conflict, he was noted for his ability to juggle “a galaxy of generals and political leaders’ interests and egos.” He was also known to wander among the troops, shaking hands and cheering them up. His ability to adapt to different settings and individuals aided him in becoming an excellent diplomat and leader.

Wooden, John

Former UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden says many thought him to be one of the greatest athletes in American history. The Bruins won ten championships under his guidance, seven of which were consecutive. Despite having a continually changing team, they managed an 88-game winning streak across three seasons. Wooden’s aptitude and willingness to adapt his leadership style to changing team dynamics and player demands might be summed up in his quote: “When you’re done learning, you’re done.”

The Advantages of Situational Leadership

Situational leadership can provide numerous advantages to both the leader and the team or organization. Among the benefits of this sort of leadership are:

  • Leaders can employ whichever leadership style they believe is most appropriate in a given situation.
  • For good leaders who know how to apply it, a situational leadership style might be more comfortable.
  • All that is required for this type of leadership style is the capacity to appraise a situation and adjust to it.
  • Employees will feel more at ease in a situational leadership setting since the leadership style used will often match their demands.
  • This form of leadership takes into account employees’ various degrees of growth and helps to meet each employee’s skill level and needs.

Situational Leadership’s Disadvantages

Aside from the benefits, there are several drawbacks to applying a situational leadership style inside an organization. Consider the following disadvantages while employing this leadership style:

  • Situational leadership may cause organizational uncertainty because the leader may constantly adjust their approach to meet the demands of each team or individual.
  • Situational leadership is prone to focusing solely on short-term objectives and, as a result, may ignore long-term objectives.
  • Situational leadership frequently fails to perform well when repetitive tasks must be accomplished because this sort of leadership is flexible and many task-driven situations are not.
  • Situational leadership is dependent on the leader’s capacity to assess an employee’s level of maturity. Some leaders can’t do so effectively and may create a leadership style that doesn’t suit an individual or team.

What Do Situational Leaders Do?

  • A situational leader provides direction and supervision.
  • Situational leaders must be adaptable and flexible since they regularly modify their leadership style to fit the circumstances at hand.
  • By encouraging team members to participate in decision-making, situational leaders will frequently encourage them to become more independent.
  • Effective situational leaders can delegate duties to self-sufficient team members.
  • Situational leaders frequently need to be able to coach their team in order to promote development and autonomy.
  • Situational leaders must be upfront and honest about a scenario and adapt their leadership style accordingly.

What is an example of situational leadership?

An illustration of a situational leader is a sports team manager. Every new season, some members go and others enter. In this circumstance, the team’s leader must adjust to the newcomer’s skills and include them in the group.

What are the 4 Cs of leadership?

Maintaining strong and successful soldiers requires the four C’s of leadership: candor, commitment, courage, and competence. A good leader may be seen in his followers.

What are the 4 situational factors that affect leadership?

The four fundamental components of leadership—the led, the leader, the situation, and the communication—should be understood by every leader. When exercising leadership, all four aspects must be constantly taken into account, although their effects on one another vary depending on the situation.

What is the benefit of situational leadership?

Team members with the necessary skills and capabilities are prepared to support situational leadership. Team members receive more freedom to make judgments or offer suggestions for how to finish the task at hand rather than having the boss tell them what to do.

Why is situational leadership effective?

The best leadership style is situational leadership since it takes into consideration team members’ varying abilities and confidence levels. Therefore, situational leaders can provide just the right amount of guidance and assistance.


With the examples of situational leadership, one can say that a true situational leader can effectively assess their team and use different leadership philosophies to fulfill the needs of the group in each circumstance. To foster more productivity and success, these leaders help their teams when necessary and promote team growth and autonomy.


How to Develop Situational Leadership Skills

  • Learn to evaluate the emotional well-being and emotional development of the people you lead.
  • Learn to adapt your leadership style to the needs of your team and your organization.

What is a good leadership objective?

At least while they are at work, the main goal of leadership is to unite a varied collection of individuals behind a similar cause.

Is situational leadership most effective?

In the contemporary business environment, situational leadership is an effective management style.

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