Did you know that every influential leader is a situational leadership theory guru? Did you know that situational leadership theory shows up in every area of your life, every day?
What is Situational Leadership Theory? The name sounds complicated, but it’s not.
At the core it is this: honing your ability to adapt how you communicate with others.
It is seeking to understand the other person’s point-of-view and then appreciating their view. And at the same time, adapting how you work with, communicate with, and think about the other person in order to develop a more cohesive and effective relationship.
It is this ongoing focus on improving relationships with others that leads to higher levels of influence and to getting more done efficiently and effectively.
A Day in Three Lives
Let’s look at how being a situational leader ‘guru’ impacts life.
Here are three conversations I have had in the past 24 hours:
Lunch with my Dad
At lunch my father complained,
“I told her I wanted to go on a cruise. She said I’d have to go without her… What’s wrong with her?”
Dad’s talking about my mom; his wife of 49 years.
Walking with my Neighbor
When I was walking my dog, my neighbor bragged about two of his college age kids and scorned the third,
“Kenny and Michele are so focused. They’re going to be great engineers, but Junior – he’s just way too social. He’s just not like the others. He sure can’t handle engineering!”
My neighbor’s been an engineer for 20 years.
Business owner Jim is frustrated with his partner Kim,
“She’s focusing too much on details; we need more sales she needs to do what I’m doing and just get out there and meet people! What’s wrong with her?”
Jim loves to network. He says that this has always been his number one strategy for business and sales success.
Each scenario represents people who are NOT using the power of situational leadership theory to create stronger more effective relationships with people they would like to positively influence, motivate, and inspire.
Each “leader” is communicating with, and viewing the other person, through their own eyes and their own preferences.
For example: Dad loves to do things on the spur of the moment. It energizes him. He’s always been that way. My Mom loves to plan, go at a steady pace, and she resists change. She’s always been that way.
Becoming A Situational Leadership “Guru”
By studying this Guide on Situational Leadership, my Dad could be on his way toward becoming a situational leadership ‘guru’. He could begin to understand and appreciate that my mom needs to take change and new ideas slowly. Mom would probably go on a cruise with him, but Dad will need to approach it more strategically.
One might think he would have figured it by now after 49 years… But this is just what most of us do – we expect others to want what we want.
Small Steps Toward Success
Dad should share his ideas and details about the cruise in small ‘bites’ with his wife. He could share brochures with her. He could take her dinner with other couples who have had recently enjoyed a cruise. They could watch some travel shows together. He could stop and really listen to her concerns.
In other words, Dad needs to adapt his communication style and approach to meet Mom’s needs. He needs to think about her preferences and how she makes decisions and communicate with her based on her needs, not just his own.
The same advice applies to my neighbor and his three kids.
He’s an engineer. It is easy for him to appreciate and value the talents of his two children who are most like him. He could use situational leadership theory to learn to understand, respect and appreciate his youngest son’s social side.
In the process he would learn more about himself and learn to value the diversity of his children and other people.
Business owner Jim could work more effectively with his partner Kim. Kim is reserved in her style and she is detailed oriented. Jim is expressive and he moves fast.
As Jim learns to appreciate and acknowledge Kim’s strengths, they will fight less and make more progress. And by adapting his usual fast-moving style he can also be a more effective coach as he helps Kim get comfortable with sales and networking.
As you can see from these simple examples situational leadership theory comes into play in every communication and relationship.
Become a situational leadership theory “guru” and your leadership life will become brighter, happier, and more influential.
Are you a leadership ‘guru?’ Do you use the power of situational leadership theory to lead people? Or are you ignoring it and expecting everyone to be like you? I would love to hear of your “situation!”
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