A Situational Approach To Management – Why It’s Crucial

A Situational Approach To Management – Why It’s Crucial
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Done Well, Performance Management is a Partnership
Research indicates there are significant gaps between what employees expect from their leaders, and what they actually experience at work. The gap is occurring for both new managers and experienced leaders. Unfortunately, a situational approach to management is only being employed by 54% of leaders.

That means that 50% of the time, leaders are using the wrong leadership style to meet the needs of their people.

Left unaddressed, these situational leadership gaps represent a drain on overall organizational vitality through decreased performance, engagement, and intention to stay.

How to Help Managers Be More Purposeful
Developed by Ken Blanchard, SLII® is a situational approach to management process that helps managers be more purposeful and intentional in their conversations with people. This helps to create a high performance culture where people are clear and aligned on objectives so that they can achieve organizational goals faster.

Done right, managers and direct reports learn how to speak a common language that builds employee and manager trust and a sense of partnership. Leaders learn how to give people the right amount of direction and support for each task or goal they face at the exact time they need it.

Leaders also learn how to adjust their style to fit the situation.

Too Much Direction is Just as Bad as Too Little Direction

  • Providing too much direction on tasks where a person is already competent feels like micromanagement.
  • Providing too little direction when questions or problems come up feels like abandonment or being set up to fail — especially when difficult decisions must be made.

The Best Leaders are Situational Leaders
We know from research asking hundreds of thousands of people that the best leaders are situational leaders — they flexibly match each person’s needs for direction and support with the right leadership style for that person, in that moment, on a specific goal or task.

Top 3 Foundational Skills for a Situational Approach To Management
Most important, situational managers know that leadership is not something you do TO people; it’s something you do WITH people. The three foundational skills managers learn are:

  1. Goal Setting
    Getting aligned on what needs to be done and when. This includes how to set goals that are specific, trackable, relevant, attainable, and motivating. You will know you are on the right path when everyone is on the same page, with a clear understanding of how their work directly contributes to the bigger picture.
  2. Diagnosing
    Having a conversation with an individual to understand what their competence and commitment are on a specific goal or task. This includes how to diagnose what each person needs in terms of direction and support on a specific goal or task.

    Effective managers know how to provide clear direction on a task that is new, and how to take a more hands-off approach when the person is already skilled at the task.
  3. Matching
    Learning how to use a variety of leadership styles comfortably to provide individuals with what they need when they need it. This includes how to use the leadership style that gives the needed amount of direction and support to each person at every stage of a task or goal.

    This helps people progress through stages of learning more quickly so that they can master their tasks and achieve their goals.

The Bottom Line
Great managers aren’t born — they’re trained. Being a great manager is all about giving people the exact leadership style they need — when they need it.

To learn more about taking a more situational approach to management, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals

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