How do you adapt your leadership styles to the task and people at hand? How do you take your leadership game to the next level? In The 3 Keys to Empowerment: Release the Power Within People for Astonishing Results, Ken Blanchard, John P. Carlos, and Alan Randolph propose the Situational Leadership II model. With this model, you apply the appropriate leadership style depending on where your team is for the specific task or goal. For the leadership style, the two key considerations are directive behaviors and supportive behaviors. For the development levels, the two key considerations are competence and commitment.
Situational Leadership II Model
Here's a visual representation of the Situational Leadership II model:
Goal of Situational Leadership II
Blanchard, Carlos, and Randolph write:
"The goal of Situational Leadership II is to provide an environment that permits an individual to move along the development continuum -- through the development cycle -- from Development Level 1 (developing) to Development Level 4 (developed.) The leader uses a leadership style that is appropriate to the individual's development level at each stage of development on a specific goal or task. As the development level changes, the leadership style should change accordingly. There is no best leadership style because development levels vary from person to person and from task to task."
Four Basic Leadership Styles
The four basic leadership styles are:
- Style 1 - Directing (high directive behavior and low supportive behavior)
- Style 2 - Coaching (high directive behavior and high supportive behavior)
- Style 3 - Supporting (high supportive behavior and low directive behavior)
- Style 4 - Delegating (low supportive behavior and low directive behavior)
Directive behaviors focus on how to do a task. Examples include telling and showing people what to do and when to do it and providing frequent feedback on results. Directive behaviors are key to developing competence in others.
Supportive behaviors focus on developing people's initiative and on their attitudes and feelings toward the task. Good examples of supportive behavior are praising, listening, encouraging and involving others in problem solving and decision making.
Four Development Levels
The four development levels are:
- Development Level 1 (low competence and high commitment)
- Development Level 2 (low to some competence and low commitment)
- Development Level 3 (moderate to high competence and variable commitment)
- Development Level 4 (high competence and high commitment)
Competence is the knowledge and skills an individual brings to a goal or task. Competence is best determined by demonstrated performance. It can, however, be developed over time with an appropriate direction direction and support.
Commitment is a combination of an individual's motivation and self-confidence on a goal or task. Interest and enthusiasm are exhibited behaviorlly through attentiveness, energy levels, and facial expressions, as well as through verbal cues. Confidence is characterized by a person's self-assuredness. It is the extend to which people trust their own abilities to do a task. If either motivation or confidence is low, commitment as a whole is considered low.
Key Take Aways
I'm a fan of changing the approach based on a situation to improve effectiveness. Here's my key take aways:
- Identify the appropriate leadership style by identifying the development level for the specific goal or task.
- Identify the development level by identifying the levels of commitment and competence.
- Evolve the leadership style as the development level evolves.
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