Unless you started your own business in high school, you probably didn’t begin your career as a leader. You started as a team member, and through your dedication and skill, you rose through the ranks to the leadership role that you have today. Along the way, you certainly gleaned things from the leaders that you reported to and interacted with. You probably said to yourself, “I can use that one day” or “I’ll do things differently.” You may have even had a mentor guiding you along your path.
All of that on-the-job leadership training is invaluable, but it is also incomplete.
76% of leaders admit that they do not have a solid leadership development path. They either feel that what they have been doing is working fine or they don’t know what changes they could make to become better business leaders. The result is a workforce in which 33% of new hires leave their jobs within six months and 92% of employees don’t have passion for the work they’re doing. Another 69% of employees say that they would work harder if they felt appreciated, and 74% feel that their performance improves when they get along with their leadership.
Clearly, we’re faced with a major disconnect between what leaders are trying to deliver and how employees are responding. One clear way to address this divide is through Situational Leadership®.
Situational Leadership® II is a leadership model that gives leaders a clear strategy for adjusting their leadership approach based on the competency of an individual employee with regard to a certain task. In essence, Situational Leadership® II pulls away the blanket approach and forces the leader to better communicate with each individual employee in order to give them the guidance and support that they would benefit most from – rather than the instinctual guidance that the leader always turns to.
For example, say you have an employee who is great at their job and wants to take on more responsibility. Your instinct might be to let the employee take on a new project and simply check in with them as needed, because you trust that employee. But the employee is venturing into new territory and may need a lot of help getting started. Out of fear of disappointing you or worry that you’ll think you’ve given them more than they can handle, they might avoid asking questions or seeking guidance, and ultimately the project will fall apart as a result.
Under the Situational Leadership® II model, you would take a more measured and communicative approach. The first step would be a goals-based conversation in which you and the employee determine the particular SMART goals of the project. The next step would be setting regular check-ins or perhaps offering ongoing support to help teach your employee the skills they will need to succeed. The goal is not to take the reins, but to show the employee that they have the benefit of your experience and guidance as well as your trust in this unfamiliar new territory.
In this way, Situational Leadership® II can improve leadership at the top level and all the way down the organization. It is a proven method that puts everyone on the same page, creates clear standards, opens lines of communication, and ultimately empowers employees to become leaders themselves.