Situational Leadership explained with examples.
Lewin often characterised organisational management styles and cultures in terms of leadership climates defined by Directing, Democratic and Laissez Faire work environments.
At the centre for leadership and management we believe that there is no one right style of leadership. There is the right type of leadership for the appropriate situation, hence situational leadership.
You have a new team member who has little or no previous experience in the role.
Arguably you could say that they would benefit from a directing style of Leadership because they do not have the relevant knowledge or skills to work without supervision. This would enable you to work closely with the employee and enable you to monitor them through the process to completion of the work.
A laissez faire approach would not be appropriate as they would feel that they had been left to their own devices with no direction. A democratic approach would not be appropriate at this stage as the employee would not be able to engage in constructive consultation and therefore would be unable to find solutions.
The team is fairly experienced and new targets have been set by the organisation as previous ones had been met with input from the whole team. However, the new targets are more difficult to meet as they create a bigger challenge.
In this situation a democratic style would be appropriate. The team are established and experienced and have worked to targets previously. Their input into how to meet the new targets could be invaluable.
A Directing approach would have a negative effect as the team would not have had any consultation regarding something they had previously successfully worked towards. A laissez faire style would not be suitable as the team are now facing a sterner test and will need a more hands on approach from their leader.
As a leader you have inherited an established and highly experienced team of technical support workers and you are now responsible for the day to day running of that team. There is a good chance that in their areas of expertise they are likely to be more knowledgeable than you.
As the team are highly experienced there is no need to use either a directing or democratic approach. The team know their job very well and any other type of approach may have a negative effect.
By Andrew Clapton