Developing Resilient Leaders

Module 03 Situational Leadership & Team Dynamics

What is situational leadership?

Situational leadership is a leadership style in which a leader adapts their style of leading to suit the current work environment and/or needs of a team. This style of leadership is not dependent on the skills of a leader; rather it is based on a leader's ability to adjust to the requirements of a team or organization in order to be a better and more effective leader.

This leadership style may also be referred to as "Situational Leadership Theory" or the "Situational Leadership Model" and was originated by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey during the development of the book, Management of Organizational Behavior. According to Blanchard and Hersey, a situational leader may use one of the following leadership behavioral styles depending on the situation:

  1. Telling. This style is when a team requires close supervision and constant guidance. Leaders using a telling style may make all of the decisions and then communicate these decisions to the team. The telling style is most commonly used when repetitive results are needed or when a team is at the novice level.
  2. Selling. This type of leadership is typically used when a team or employee is unmotivated to perform a task or job duty.
  3. Participating. The participating behavioral leadership style is most commonly used when a team is competent in particular tasks but do not have the willingness or confidence needed to complete them.
  4. Delegating. The delegating leadership style is when a team is efficient and effective at their jobs and requires little guidance.

No particular style is considered to be the best for a leader. Rather, a leader using a situational style of leadership will use whichever style is best suited to a situation.

The following are real-life examples of how situational leadership may be implemented in the workplace:

Example 1

An emergency room has just received a large influx of patients that have been critically injured in a bus crash. With such a large amount of patients in the emergency room, the emergency room supervisor must implement a "telling" style of leadership to direct the emergency room workers in an efficient manner. This requires the emergency room supervisor to provide constant supervision and regular direction to all emergency room staff to ensure that all patients are seen and taken care of in a timely manner.

Example 2

A manager must oversee the completion of a project with his team. The manager's team has ample experience completing all tasks required for the project and the team has shown confidence and the ability to take responsibility for their work. Knowing this, the manager uses a "delegating" style of leadership throughout the duration of the project and delegates tasks to each team member with minimal supervision.

Develop online

There are 4 recommended videos for each module to help you get inspiration on the topic and learn something new. Once a week? All at once? Choose your own pace.

 Watch - Learn and - Enjoy!

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Leadership Explained in 5 minutes

Great leadership is a network, not a hierarchy

What it takes to be a great leader

How to turn a group of strangers into a team


For each module there are 5 practical challenges related to module topic. You can complete one, two, or all of them - it's up to you. Through practical involvement and sharing you will strengthen your competence in the specific topic.

Try - Practice - Share and - Enjoy!

01 Two Truths and a Lie

Organize following activity with your team:
Team members give out two truths and one lie about themselves, other team members try to figure out which is the lie.
Everyone reveals 2-3 things about themselves that are true, and one thing that is a lie.
The rest of the group tries to figure out which is which and votes to decide which is the lie.
The person telling the lie gets 1 point for each person they fooled.
Other players get 1 point for choosing correctly.                                                                 

Share your experience  in the MS Teams channel.

02 What is your style?

Do you know what situational leadership is? Read the article: and then think about which of the 4 styles is closest to you. Can you adapt your preferred style to a specific situation or a specific person? Share your insights  in the MS Teams channel.

03 How to be a good leader

Book a half-hour meeting with your manager and ask him/her what being a good leader means to him/her. Tell him/her what a good leader means to you. If you find differences in your perspectives, discuss why this is so and what it can mean for both of you. Share your conclusions  in the MS Teams channel.

04 Who is your role model?

Do the following exercise:
Who do you admire and why?
1. Write down the names of three people you admire or look up to.
2. What is the quality or characteristic you admire most about each of them?
3. Why do you think you admire the characteristics mentioned above? Why are you drawn to these  qualities?
4. How well do you possess the qualities you admire in others?
5. List one or two ways you can further develop the qualities you admire in others.         

Share your thoughts  in the MS Teams channel.

05 Manager or leader?

Even though in the corporate world the terms ‘manager’ or ‘leader’ are used interchangeably, these are very distinct roles.

Create two tables, one titled ‘leader’ and one titled ‘manager’. In each table, write statements describing either management behavior or leadership behavior.

For example, the ‘manager’ table may contain statements such as “schedules work to be done” or “delegates tasks”. On the other hand, statements in the ‘leader’ table could be “motivating staff” and “creating culture”.

The purpose of this activity is to undesrstand the difference between management versus leadership, and show that while ‘every leader can be a manager, not every manager can be a leader’. Share your outcome  in the MS Teams channel.


Stay tuned - new module coming soon