Created by professor and author Dr. Paul Hersey and author Ken Blanchard, the Situational Leadership Model is a theory of business leadership that promotes the benefits of combining a range of managerial styles to cater to different people within the same organization. This is opposed to the more traditional view of the executive manager who may employ the same leadership tactics across an entire organization, more than likely passing directives down through subordinates and other intermediaries.
But by employing the strategies put forth in the Situational Leadership Model, a manager would potentially have the capabilities to deal with a wide range of people and thereby create a more employee-centric and innovative organization through the level of direct contact he or she has with members at all levels. Further, the leader would be free to place more or less emphasis on a particular task as well as more or less emphasis on relationships with employees – enabling them to focus on the component most needed to get the task accomplished successfully.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
The core foundation of the Situational Leadership Model is the belief that there is no single “best” approach to leadership. Instead, effective leadership is viewed as task-relevant. Therefore, the most successful leaders are the ones who are able to adapt their leadership styles across a broad range of varying maturity levels readily present within the average organization. Also factoring into the choice for leadership style are the individual employees’ willingness and ability to take responsibility for the task as well as their applicable education and experience.
Given the wide level of variance in these factors, choices surrounding leadership are highly subjective in regard to the person or work group that is being influenced as well as the specific job or function that has been assigned – a situation some say lends itself perfectly to the Situational Leadership Model.
The Four Styles of Situational Leadership
Though it’s meant to provide extreme adaptability, there are four basic styles when it comes to the Situational Leadership Model, each custom tailored to elicit the highest productivity from each employee or group.
As you’ll see, there is a clear distinction between productivity and employee-development, with the first two styles (telling and selling) focused on accomplishing the task while styles three and four (participating and delegating) are more concerned with the personal development of team members.
Telling – Within this style, a leader will specifically instruct subordinates what to do and how to do it. This style is used at length within the law enforcement and military communities as well as on manufacturing assembly lines, providing a means of managing a diverse group of people that span a wide range of experience and maturity levels.
Selling – Information and direction will still be provided by the manger in this style of leadership but there’s also more two-way communication with subordinates. Within this role, leaders “sell” their message to get employees on board, persuading them to work toward the common goal. A perfect example of this type of leadership is often found in an internship situation, with the success of this approach dependent upon whether the student or apprentice learner is excited and self-motivated to be on the job.
Participating – With participation, leaders can focus more on relationships and less on direction. In doing so, the Situational Leadership manager works closely with the team and shares decision-making responsibilities. This style is often used by corporate leaders who are attempting to influence a board of directors toward developing a new policy for which there is no proven history or established practice.
Delegating – Although the leader will still monitor task- and organizational-progress, he or she will pass much of the responsibility for the execution and completion of the established goals onto the individual subordinates or dedicated work groups. By delegating, the leader is usually less involved with decisions and is therefore able to focus on the work and achievements of subordinates, as seen commonly in the freedom given to tenured professors who are allowed to teach in the manner they believe is most effective while being monitored by a dean or department head.
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to use your emotions in a positive and constructive way in relationships with others. It's about engaging with others in a way that brings people towards you, not away from you. Emotional Intelligence is about recognizing your own emotional state and the emotional states of others and being “choiceful” about how you interact and engage with them. It is about choosing to engage people in a positive and constructive manner, and it can help tremendously in the workplace.
Emotional Intelligence is divided into 4 basic competencies. Each competency has several skills or personality traits.
1. Self Awareness
This is recognizing how emotions affect one's performance. It requires an accurate self assessment, a candid sense of one's personal strengths and limits and then being able to accurately identify one's own areas of improvement. Self-aware individuals are reflective and learn from experience. They are open to candid feedback, new perspectives and self-development.
2. Self Management
This is the ability to manage one's internal states, impulses, and resources. It means being choiceful in interactions with others and the ability to manage or control reactions to difficult situations. Personality traits include self control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability, innovation and optimism.
3. Awareness of Others (Social Awareness)
This is the awareness of other people's feelings, needs, and concerns. It means having empathy, seeking to understand others and being able to read and tune in to the emotional state of others. Social awareness skills include understanding others, developing others, service orientation, leveraging diversity and having political awareness.
4. Relationship Management
This competency is about successfully engaging with others. It includes the ability to communicate, relate and listen well to others and to induce desirable responses in them. People with this ability understand that emotions are contagious. They can adapt their communication styles to people and situations.
EI in the Workplace
Emotional Intelligence is extremely useful at work. Most workplaces rely on different people working together to create a product or service. The workplace is not “all business.” It is a social network and, as such, it is a hotbed of emotions, egos, stress and conflict. Emotional Intelligence can help you develop robust relationships, solve problems using both logic and feelings, maintain an optimistic and positive outlook, cultivate flexibility in stressful situations, help others express their needs, respond to difficult people and situations calmly and thoughtfully and respond to change with grace and calm.
Many people assume that a high IQ is more important than high EI skills. While both are important, many studies show that EI is a much more accurate determinant for success and career growth than technical skills or a high IQ. Today's workplaces are fast moving and full of change. The ability to roll with the punches is huge. You'll get the best out of your employees if you create an emotionally intelligent workplace and you'll be a better employer or leader if you use your EI.
Emotional Intelligence really comes into play when it comes to managing and dealing with difficult people, including customers, employees, colleagues, and bosses. Your ability to understand and empathize goes a long way. EI is important for managing change, understanding the political landscape for a new project, dealing well with setbacks or workplace obstacles, motivating and influencing others and working with or for a team with different personalities.
Some people are born with natural EI sills. In certain fields, EI goes hand in hand with success, like sales. Some people are natural born salesmen. Many companies actually use EI competency testing as criteria for selection into highly engaging positions like sales. A recent survey showed that companies that selected their sales people by using EI competency criteria decreased their first year turnover rate by a whopping 63 percent.
But EI can also be taught and many companies hire consultants like me to host workshops to train employees on emotional intelligence. If companies are truly committed to creating a positive workplace, this can be a great way to start.
EI works on the self-employed as well. First of all, very few people actually work “alone.” Even if you are a sole task producer you still have to create something for a customer and client, so your ability to manage your relationships, even if it is just one or two, is pretty important. And you still have to manage yourself. Your state of mind will absolutely affect your work product. Being able to manage your own emotional landscape will definitely help improve your work product and process.
How Employers Can Use EI
Employers and managers should think about what kind of climate will get the best out of their employees. It always makes me cringe when I see leaders use oppressive tactics to drive performance. It really isn't a successful long-term strategy, especially if you hit hard economic times. A person's relationship with their employer is and has always been a leading factor in an employee's decision to stay or go, and contributes greatly to their productivity.
So if you want to improve your image as a leader, get feedback and be willing to make improvements in yourself and your management style. And remember, being emotionally intelligent is not about “being soft” or forgoing the bottom line. It's about creating and maintaining constructive and generative relationships and environments, and that helps your bottom line.
EI is critical for top leaders. In fact, the higher your position in a company, the more important emotional intelligence becomes. According to the Center for Creative Leadership, the biggest reason that managers fail is because of poor interpersonal skills. Another survey showed that 85 percent of the difference between a good leader and an excellent leader is emotional intelligence.
You can easily see this when you ask people what qualities they think make a great leader or boss. Eighty-five percent of the qualities they name are usually EI qualities while only a handful turns out to be technical skills. EI is critical for a good leader.
Employers are always looking for people who are not only book smart, but are also charismatic, optimistic and resilient. They want people who are not afraid to use emotional intelligence to get ahead. Find out where you stand so you can use your EI to get ahead. Whether you are an employee, a boss, a manager or are self-employed, EI is a critical component of your success.
To find out more about EI and how to measure it, take a look at http://www.eiconsortium.org/reports/technical_report.html
There are tons of books written about creating a collaborative environment in the workplace but they all can be summarized with these 5 principles:
- Focus on the situation, issue, or behavior, not the person.
- Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.
- Maintain constructive relationships.
- Take initiative to make things better.
- Lead by example.
Try these principles and see if that makes a difference in your work environment.
Training Day Checklist
Here’s a handy last-minute checklist to make sure everything is ready for your training session:
- Dress appropriately. Use your audience analysis to figure out what to wear. In general, match your manner of dress to that of your trainees—or go slightly more professional.
- Arrive early. Give yourself time to check last-minute arrangements and get yourself mentally geared up for the session.
- Check seating arrangements. Make sure the set-up is ideal for the training style you want to use and have some extra chairs for any last-minute trainees.
- Check room temperature. Adjust it appropriately for the number of people who will be in the room and the size of the space you will all be occupying.
- Check audiovisual hardware. Conduct one last run-through to make sure everything is still running smoothly.
- Check electrical outlets. Make sure all your connections are safe. Don’t trail cords across walkways or overload surge protector strips.
- Check light switches. Know which switches work which lights so you can achieve the ideal lighting for audiovisual materials and note-taking.
- Check window-darkening equipment. Make sure blinds or shades are working properly.
- Check arrangements. Make sure you have everything you need—including the training space for the entire time you need it.
- Lay out classroom supplies. If you will be demonstrating tools or equipment, make sure you have everything you need.
- Lay out course materials. Decide whether to put handouts on a table for trainees to pick up on the way in or to lay them at every seat.
These are all effective techniques for running a successful session, but what kind of person does it take to do the training? The best trainers have several qualities that make them good at what they do. Check the list below to see which qualities you already possess—and to determine which areas you could improve.
Here are some softer training methods that are not necessarily essential to conveying information, but that can make receiving data or instructions a much more enjoyable experience, which will keep trainees involved and help them retain more information.
- Make learning fun. Why? Trainees will not be enthusiastic if training sessions are dry and dull. Few employees respond to or remember complicated concepts or theories; they want to learn practical information about what they can do to get better results today. If they don’t find the message entertaining, they won’t retain it. Since variety is the spice of life, use several different training methods to engage trainees in a variety of ways. Also work to alternate the pace of each session to keep trainees’ interest level high.
- Use humor. Humor helps keep enthusiasm at peak levels. Trainers can make a point more effectively by using humor than by drowning trainees in statistics or theories. Avoid telling jokes, however, because humor is so subjective that someone in your audience may be offended and lose track of training for the rest of the session. Personal, self-deprecating humor is the safest way to go.
- Use attractive packaging. Use materials that are well-packaged and that communicate value. Professional packaging is a powerful tool for setting a good first impression.
- Encourage participation. Make the session lively by engaging participants in the learning process. In fact, try to spend close to 80 percent of training time on group participation. Encourage everyone in the training session to speak freely and candidly, because learning occurs most readily when feelings are involved.
- Build self-esteem. Employees understandably want to know what’s in it for them. They know that most training programs are designed to make money for the company, but rarely does training lift employees’ spirits or help them to become better in their own lives. Create a win-win environment by using the training program to build the participants’ self-worth and self-esteem.
How to Conduct an Effective Training Session
Here are 12 proven techniques to conduct a successful training session:
- Tell trainees what you're going to cover. Introduce your session with a brief overview of the training subject’s main points.
- Tell them the information. In the main portion of the session, explain key points, go over policies, demonstrate procedures, and relate any other information trainees need to know.
- Tell them what you told them. Conclude with a summary of your opening overview. Use repetition to help trainees grasp and retain information.
- Always explain what trainees are going to see before you show a multimedia portion. This practice creates a better learning environment by guiding trainees to know what to look for and what to remember. Explaining the purpose of the multimedia ensures an effective reception for its information.
- Use as much hands-on training as possible. The most effective training uses all the senses to affect learning. Demonstrate and apply teaching points to create greater understanding and knowledge of the subject.
- Test frequently. Tests are most effective when students know they will be quizzed, because they’ll pay close attention to the material. Testing is an objective way to determine whether training achieved its goals.
- Involve trainees. For example, ask participants to share their experiences with the training topic. Many trainees are experienced personnel who have valuable information to contribute. All trainees will get more out of sessions by hearing about their co-workers’ experiences with the subject—and not just the trainer’s lecture points. Hearing different voices also keeps sessions varied and interesting. Structure interaction time into all your sessions.
- Repeat questions before answering them. This practice ensures that all participants know what the question is so they can make sense of the answer.
- Analyze the session as you go. Always be on the lookout for what works best. When you discover a new technique or method that clicks with the group, note it on your training materials so it can be incorporated into the training outline to be used in future sessions.
- Keep your session on track. Start on time and finish on time. Don't hold up class waiting for late arrivers. Run the class according to the schedule and don't get too far off course. Opening up discussion among participants may lead to some pertinent tangents, but don’t let side issues take over. Ask if there’s enough interest to pursue a separate session on that topic, but get this class back to the lesson plan.
- Put yourself in their shoes—or seats. Give frequent breaks, especially for half-day or all-day sessions.
- Solicit feedback on the training session. Critiques work best when they are written and anonymous, unless a trainee volunteers to discuss his or her thoughts in person. Trainee input is vital for making the next session—and the overall training program—more
These 12 steps are the basic foundation for a solid training session that runs efficiently and that conveys the necessary information for meeting the session’s goals. They also incorporate ways to begin improving training on the fly. In other words, you can’t go wrong by following these steps in every training session you run.
The key to creating an effective recruiting and retention strategy is to determine the root causes of why people join a company and stay/leave subsequently.
When joining a company, a candidate typically considers several factors including:
• Advancement possibilities
• Job security
• Nature of work
• Personal/family commitments
• The nature of the working environment
Whether an employee stays or leaves will depend on several factors including:
• Confidence in leadership
• Whether they feel they are contributing, recognized, appreciated and heard
• Whether they feel management is keeping their promises / commitments
Based on the above, here is a good starting point for creating an effective recruitment and retention strategy:
• Offer fair and competitive salaries
• Offer competitive benefits
• Train front-line managers on good supervisory and people management skills
• Clearly define roles and responsibilities
• Provide adequate advancement opportunities
• Offer retention bonuses instead of sign-on bonuses
• Measure your turnover rate and assign someone responsible/accountable for retention
• Conduct employee satisfaction surveys
• Foster an environment of teamwork
• Make room for fun
• Work with your staff to develop a department mission statement they identify with and own
• Identify employee talents and encourage them to fully utilize it and stretch into new areas
• Communicate oOpenly
• Encourage on-going learning
• Be flexible and accommodating
• Create an employee recognition program
(Note: the above proposed strategies would need to be customized based on the unique needs of any organization).
Rather than taking your chances in the workplace every day, you can learn all of the important tips necessary for making your office or jobsite a healthier, safer place for yourself and for everyone else who works there!
You, your coworkers and other employees, do not need to waste valuable work time from staying home to recover from on-the-job accidents, or contracting illnesses from other people! While these kinds of problems do occur on occasion, both the risk and the impact can be significantly minimized. All you really need to know is how to reduce your risks!
Fortunately, reducing your risk of on-the-job accidents and illness is not difficult at all! All it takes is learning about some important strategies-- and then begin putting them into practice every day! None of these concepts are difficult to learn! Each one can easily be made a part of your everyday work life! It is also very easy to let others in on these ideas, so everyone in your company can benefit!
Your workplace can quickly go from being filled with stress, anxiety, and risks, to being a great place for you to spend each day! These tips can be learned and put into practice with very little time and effort! When you begin to see how quickly your office or jobsite starts to change for the better, you will wonder why these tips were not available sooner!
Learning all you need to know about health and safety in the workplace has never been easier...
- Training and other kinds of meetings and conferences are too often organized as stand-alone events, with a life of their own, disconnected from the firm’s progress.
- Companies train people in new areas but then send them back to their operating groups, subject to the same measures and management approaches as before. People can detect immediately a lack of alignment between what they are being trained in and how they are being managed. When they do detect it, little, if any, of what has been discussed or ‘trained’ ever gets implemented.
- Companies want a speech that is entertaining, informative, stimulating, or motivating. What they don’t seem to want is anything that specifically addresses the way they run their firms or the real-world changes they are really trying to make.
- No amount of understanding, knowledge or intelligence will help if you are not able to interact with people and get the response you desire.
- To help people develop as managers doesn’t mean discussing management (or, even worse, leadership) but rather requires putting people through a set of processes where they have to experience it, try it out, and develop their emotional self-control and interactive styles.
- There is no point putting on skills training if there is no incentive for the behavior; the people don’t believe in it and they don’t yet know exactly what it is they are supposed to be good at!
Harvard psychologists Litwin and Stringer have identified six managerial styles.
These do not describe personality, but are rather hats that a manager can don in a given situation. However, most managers tend to use a particular style in every situation. Being aware of which style you use most helps you to adopt a more nuanced management approach.
Choose your most likely reaction to each of the following scenarios, and check your answers at the end to find out your management style.
A flood has made the ground floor of your office block unusable. You have deadlines to meet and meetings to attend. You assemble all of your staff on the first floor and:
a) Tell them that a cramped desk is better than no desk at all.
b) Tell a subordinate to organise a desk-sharing system and concentrate on getting the ground floor back in use.
c) Pass around the biscuits and organise team-building activities.
d) Outline the available options, ask your staff for suggestions, and then hold a vote.
e) Find a patch of desk-space and crack on with your work. The most important thing is to set a good example.
f) Organise an impromptu training and development day.
You have been alerted to a staff member who spends office hours trawling the internet for rare books to feed his bibliophilic addiction. You call him into your office for a private chat, and he tells you that he finishes his work early and gets bored. You:
a) Force him to apologise to his colleagues and to work in your office, so that you can keep an eye on him.
b) Inform him of company policy and tell him that if he doesn’t change his behaviour he will face disciplinary action.
c) Tell him it is best if he keeps his reading habit for outside office hours. Suggest he starts a book club.
d) Ask him for suggestions as to how he might improve his behaviour.
e) Get him to shadow you for a day so that he can see how much you work.
f) Explain that his behaviour is demoralising other staff. Offer him a secondment to a more challenging department.
A staff member consistently finishes her work early, and to a higher standard than her colleagues. You ask her to help you prepare a report, but it arrives on your desk late and full of careless mistakes. You:
a) Tear up the report in front of her and tell her to do it again.
b) Tell her that if she wants to be considered for promotion then she needs to maintain her high standards. Offer her the chance to rewrite the report.
c) Say nothing about the mistakes, but ask her if she feels too pressured by the extra workload.
d) Go through the report together with her, asking her to point out any possible improvements.
e) Send her a copy of the corrected report.
f) Go through your suggested corrections with her, and offer to send her on a short business-writing course.
It’s 8pm and you have been in the office since six in the morning, trying to tie up the loose ends of project due the following day. It is your wife’s birthday, and you haven’t bought her a card yet. One of the three colleagues who have worked late with you gets up to leave. You:
a) Demand that he stays until the work is finished.
b) Demand that the work be finished by the deadline on the following day.
c) Offer him a lift home.
d) Ask all three if they think it is time to stop for the night.
e) Tell him to run to the shops and get a card for your wife while you finish off his work.
f) Go home. Book everyone on a time-management course.
You discover that frequency with which kettles are boiled and re-boiled in the office contributes more to electricty costs than heating and lighting put together. You:
a) Throw away the kettles.
b) Organise a rota for making drinks, so that kettles are used with less frequency and more efficiency.
c) Hold tea breaks so that staff are less inclined to boil the kettles at other times.
d) Ask the staff to keep records of when they boil kettles, so that they can become aware of whether their behaviour is inefficient.
e) Display a bottle of cold water on your desk.
f) Spend a morning explaining the financial and environmental benefits of saving electricity.
A member of staff starts coming to work in jeans and trainers. This does not affect her work, as she does not meet members of the public or clients, but other staff members have begun to complain. You:
a) Order her to dress more smartly or resign.
b) Put up posters indicating the correct dress code.
c) Organise a casual-wear day, so that she will realise jeans are for special occasions.
d) Send around a dress code survey, asking staff to suggest improvements.
e) Pay more attention to your own smartness.
f) Explain the impact that a smart appearance has on colleagues, clients and employers.
If what you get are:
You go for the coercive style: you work well in crisis situations, and prefer to use the stick than the carrot. You demand immediate obedience, and do not tolerate hangers-on.
The authoritative manager demands results with the same force as does the coercive, but instead of requiring that specific tasks be completed now, states the deadline and goal, and leaves the staff to decide their own route there.
You are an asset in times of change, and have strong long-term vision.
In contrast to the coercive and authoritative managerial types, you prefer to think more about the well-being of your people. You are an affiliative manager. You are concerned to create harmony in the workplace, and hold the principle that “people come first”.
The democratic manager is also staff-aware, but instead of focusing on building social relationships, you involve your staff in the management of the organisation. The words most commonly on your lips are: “What do you think?”
You are a pace-setter. A high-achiever and a conscientious worker you demand the same from your staff. You are not afraid to work at the same level as your staff in order to demonstrate what needs to be done and how they should do it.
You are a coaching manager. You consider it important to develop the long-term potential of each employee, rather than focusing on short-term results. You organise development plans, training days and coaching sessions.