Situational Leadership: Styles, Qualities and the Best

Situational leadership is designed to hearten leaders to think about the team members they serve regarding their welfare. How inimitable it is to value every situation when choosing a leadership method.

In the year 1969, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed situational leadership.

Leading a team may not be as easy as trying to answer the boss among a group of people. You may need to put in some observations and clarifications in other to ensure that your team members follow up with you. In the long run, you begin to see the leadership process taking different dimensions.

Each of these dimensions requires different ways of reacting to issues. For instance, it would be better if you directly coach your team members when facing a more tedious task. Rather appointing team members to handle those tasks. But you can withdraw in a less difficult assignment they might have handled previously.

A situational leader demands understanding the present issue and bringing your leadership style to align with it. It is one way of creating a favorable work environment for your team members

Situational Leadership styles

Now in managing your team by taking the situational leadership approach, you can adopt four leadership styles. This style can help you to understand how you manage delegation of duties as compared to a supportive coach.

You can delegate duties when you appoint a particular member to handle a particular task. By giving instructions and directions on what to do. While you coach supportively when you interact, hold meetings and workshops with the team members.


This style mostly applies to first-timers and inexperienced members of the team. It requires that the leader will closely supervise the members by giving directives on what, how, and where to do things.

A good follow-up of the direction is necessary, especially for those members who may feel reluctant in performing their tasks. This style tends to accommodate maximum directive as compared to supporting the members.

For instance, when leaders recruit a new member, they leader has to ensure many things are carried out effectively. This is because the recruit may not be bold enough to perform the task. Therefore, we can say that this leadership style embraces on-the-job training for its new members.


Unlike in the directive leadership style where there is maximum follow-up and a low level of the directive. In coaching, the leader sees the member as one willing and eager to learn. Therefore, the leader applies a high level of directive and supportiveness. At the same time believing that the member can cope easily and fast.

For instance, a leader observed that a new member seems so passionate about his task, notwithstanding that the member has little or no knowledge. The leader then assigns a project and watches the member’s performance from a distance. In the end (the leader) gives the member the necessary corrections and guidelines.


This is also known as participating or facilitating leadership style. This style helps members who are knowledgeable and skilled in performing the task but somehow lack motivation for accomplishment.

The leader now has to come in and determine how best to help them by asking questions as a means of caring for them along. The leader has to channel those questions in such a way to create confidence in members.

For instance, the leader observed that a member is capable of performing a task while in his presence. This same member lacks the courage to perform the same task in the leader’s absence. The leader has to step in by being supportive of the member. He can schedule a personal conversation with the member and find a means of helping him gain confidence.


In the delegate style, there is less directive and supportive toward the member. The leaders observe the member and find out that he can rely solely upon without supervision. In this case, the leader has to sit back and allow the members to perform the task. There is liberty and trust between the member and leaders in this style.

For instance, a leader observed a team member for a long time and understands his ability to handle tasks effectively without supervision. When confronted on the issue the member confidently affirmed to the leader’s observation. He decides to give the member the liberty to carry out the task and the opportunity of making a review at the end.

Qualities of a situational leadership

They view things from a more perceptive angle

Situational leaders tend to be understanding when it comes to members’ performance. They also consider the corresponding needs that will help in building their competency.  They know the level of activeness of each member, what he can do as well as where any member is lacking it. Through this observance, they can apply a more resolute measure in helping the member achieve the needful.   

They are dependable

This is one visible quality of a situational leader, they are reliable and as such, you can count on them. It could be disheartening on their part if a member is lacking in competency and they on their part feel reluctant. They view each member’s capability and try to fix inability issues.


It is like displaying empathy, situational leaders can know how strong or weak a member may appear. Therefore, this knowledge can assist him to adapt his leadership style to suit the team member’s needs. Being considerate is important, as the team members might need different leadership styles.

Counselors and teacher

Even among the leadership style that needs less supervision, it is still very needful that the situational leader becomes active. This simply means it requires the four different styles of counseling, coaching, and teaching.

In the actual sense, this is what makes a situational leader. Monitoring and nurturing your team is one good leadership skill that also contributes to being a good leader.

The best the situational leadership style

Each leadership style has its credibility, merits, and demerits. The best way to understand the best of them all is to gain complete awareness of the demerits each. This could help you point out the challenges and know how to tackle them.

When you can master the problem from each style and the solution to it. it simply becomes the best situational leadership style for you.