What Can Situational Leadership Teach Us?
The use of directing, coaching, supporting and delegating basic leadership styles, reflect different combinations of the traditional supportive and directive approaches to managing people. To use these effectively, leaders must understand their people and the modes of working with them based on an assessment of their need for support and direction. Additionally, leaders must develop a heightened sense of self-awareness. Understanding themselves is an essential step along the path of becoming a successful leader.
Directing is used for low development: Close supervision, in which the manager is clear on her expectations and monitors the employee’s progress, is the appropriate style to use for someone who’s new to the task to be completed.
Coaching is used for low to moderate development: The manager uses fairly close supervision while employing supportive behavior to build confidence and enthusiasm in the employee.
Supporting is used for moderate to high development: Here, the manager actively uses two-way communication, making a strong effort to “hear” the employee. Both share in making the decisions. The manager’s primary role is one of facilitator.
Delegating is used for high development: While the manager may still identify problem areas for a particular task, the employee is given full responsibility for executing the plan. In short, the employee is running the show.
The goal of the manager-leader is therefore to assist her team’s competence and commitment so that each member is capable of completing their work on their own with as little supervision as possible.