When Situational Leadership goes wrong; totally!

  • Reading time:6 mins read

Don’t blame your staff. When a leadership style does not appear to work and leaves the team or individuals dysfunctional, it’s not the time to point a finger at them.

Maybe you know the saying, “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.”

The psychoanalytic term for this unconscious process is called projective identification. In short, it means we get rid of the unwanted feelings (the projection) and identify them as belonging to someone else (identification).

What is Situational Leadership really?
  • The fundamental principle of the situational leadership model is that there is no single “best” style of leadership.
  • Great leadership behaviour varies. It depends not only on the person or the group of people in the team that is being influenced, but also on the task or job that needs to be accomplished.
  • The most successful leaders are those who adapt their leadership style to the individual employee or the team they lead, manage or influence.
  • The Situational Leadership Model, is a theory created by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. If you are or have been in the habit of reading management books, you will surely have read The One Minute Manager. That was Ken Blanchard’s most successful book that sold over 13 million copies.
Why do people behave as they do?

Personality AssessmentThe most essential component of the Situational Leadership theory is to first understand what drives the individual employee, to carefully assess the needs and the resulting behaviour.

Second, set the employee’s level of competency, experience, and learning ability (cognitive skills). Only then can you manage people effectively.

Treat them all the same by treating them differently.

Frank R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Situational Leadership gone wrong

You probably guessed this already. If you are a successful people manager that is. If you are not successful in managing people, when you fail to motivate the team, or perhaps got fired for not being effective in your leadership, the following is the reason:

  • You lead, manage, and motivate everyone in exactly the same way – day in and day out!
  • Whatever the task or job, your approach is like yesterday, the week before, the year before!
  • You fail to acknowledge that the current COVID crisis is impacting many in your organization, many are under extreme stress because of the uncertainty. Situational Leadership is a key factor to keep it together.

Are you empathetic enough to help your people through this crisis or are you and your management team so logical that your staff feel that the company does not care?

The solution: How to fix it

PI for Predictive IndexFor more than 60 years, thousands of businesses around the globe have used psychometric and cognitive assessments to understand how their employees and candidates are wired.

Psychometric and cognitive assessments let you see beneath the surface so that you can predict situational behavior and manage the hire-to-retire lifecycle.

The best every assessment tool that I have used over more than 20 years is The Predictive Index (PI). It is one of the most used assessment tools in the world with over 8,000 happy clients.

The behavioral assessment is specifically designed to measure four motivating needs, or “drives,” that have the biggest effect on workplace behaviors: Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality.

If you know where a person falls on a scale of these four factors, you possess a great deal of knowledge about what it would be like to work with him or her. The four are:

  • Dominance is the drive to exert influence on people or events.
  • Extraversion is the drive for social interaction with other people.
  • Patience is the drive to have consistency and stability.
  • Formality is the drive to conform to rules and structure.

With this information at hand, Situational Leadership has never been easier. If you like to hear more about Predictive Index and how I use it, please drop me an email and I will be happy to share how you cannot avoid becoming the Master of Situational Leadership.

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.