How to lead in a world that will never stop changing?
As we continue to navigate the profound impact of COVID-19, employees across all industries are juggling personal demands while trying to keep up with work. Don't you agree that leaders play a significant role in looking out for their team during these uncertain times, understanding unique personal circumstances, and creating the right culture?
Executive Leaders and decision-makers share with me some of their most pressing challenges:
struggling to get from vision to execution,
lack of leadership influence to create impact within their organization in the new normal,
searching for effective ways to develop high-performing & engaged teams.
These challenges are responsible for executives being overwhelmed, reduced revenue, and feeling stressed. The health of an organization is impacted through high attrition, creating a culture of blaming and explaining. But the good news is that it does not have to be this way.
And this is where situational leadership comes in.
Let me explain.
Perhaps one of the most challenging situational examples I have is something we all know about, in 2020, the pandemic. And that situation was one that none of us had ever dealt with before. And dealing with employees and at the same time protecting ourselves and our family, and working from home, was very challenging on a daily basis, and sometimes it was challenging not only on a daily basis but on an hourly basis.
On one hand, employees were obviously doing their job and at the same trying to adapt to working from home, but they themselves were confused because of the situation. And we found ourselves as leaders in a situation where we needed to be comforting for the staff and understanding their fear in the situation, but at the same time, we had to take care of our families as well. So there was a fine balance in managing staff remotely, taking care of our families, and at the same time and helping our employees feel supported and getting the job done.
So in terms of our careers, it has been the most challenging situation that we have had to deal with.
One of the lessons I learned is that that there's no such leadership style that's better than another, and that's key. Really use the situational leadership style that's going to get you the best result. It changes according to the situation. What might've worked in one meeting might not work in another meeting with the same employees present.
Leaders need to be adaptable nowadays.
But what is situational leadership? Situational leadership means that managers must use different leadership styles depending on the situation.
This theory was developed by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey, and their model allows you to analyze the needs of the situation you're in, and then use the most appropriate leadership style. Depending on employees' competencies in their task areas and commitment to their tasks, your leadership style should vary from one person to another. You may even lead the same person one way sometimes, and another way at other times.
A main advantage with being a situational leader is that you earn the trust of your employees just because you're tailoring your leadership style to something that they can relate to.
You are making a comfortable environment for your people. Situational leadership allows you to assess your employees on what the need is and how they respond best.
And here I must admit that my answer today is very different compared to when I was a newly promoted leader. As a new leader, it was challenging. But it is a learned skill. And by having trust in and confidence in yourself and knowing that you're learning as a leader, it becomes easier.
Situational leadership is something I teach in my intensive experiential program ‘’Leading In Uncertain Times’’. In this 2-day intensive program, participants are empowered as a leader to bring out the best in themselves and others by exploring the most critical success factors of strong leadership that will help them bring people together, motivate, energize, and inspire them to their full potential to achieve extraordinary things.
I strongly believe that situational leadership is currently the most effective style because it helps you to guide conversations and to relate to your employees. If for example, you are having a conversation with an employee who gets constructive criticism hard, then you might want to have a gentler approach, opposed to an employee who is very to the point. By being able to build those relationships with people, you know exactly how to relate to them. And that way, you do get your desired result.
Situational Leadership Model Blanchard - Hersey
S1 - Telling / Directing - High task, low relationship - leaders define the roles and tasks of the 'follower’ and oversee them closely. Decisions are made by the leader, so communication is largely one-way. For people who lack competence but are enthusiastic and committed. They need direction and supervision to get them started.
S2 - Selling / Coaching - High task, high relationship - leaders still define roles and tasks, but seek ideas and suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader's prerogative, but communication is much more two-way. For people who have some competence but lack commitment. They need direction and supervision because they are still relatively inexperienced. They also need support and praise to build their self-esteem, and involvement in decision-making to restore their commitment.
S3 - Participating / Supporting - Low task, high relationship - leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions, but control is with the follower. For people who have competence but lack confidence or motivation. They do not need much direction because of their skills, but support is necessary to bolster their confidence and motivation.
S4 - Delegating - Low task, low relationship - leaders are still involved in decisions and problem-solving, but control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will be involved. For people who have both competence and commitment. They are able and willing to work on a project by themselves with little supervision or support.
Developing situational leadership skills is difficult at the beginning, but please spend time developing these skills. Leadership is like a muscle. Needs training every now and then. Know your direct reports, know your colleagues. Once you know who they are, you will know which style suits them best. Tailor-made approach. Smart leaders learn to tailor their management style according to their audience, their work motivations, their personal aspirations and drives, their abilities. And once you have that, you will be able to relate to your staff, which will lead to more engaged employees, happier workplaces, an increased bottom line, and a happier YOU! #leadership #situationalleadership #management #employees #leadingincrisis