Focuses on leadership in situations
Emphasizes adapting style to different
situations demanding different kinds of
Used extensively in organizational
leadership training and development
Comprised of both a directive dimension
& supportive dimension:
Each dimension must be applied
appropriately in a given situation
Leaders evaluate employees to assess
their competence and commitment to
perform a given task
Situational Leadership looks at leadership
style: the behavior pattern of an
individual who attempts to influence
It includes both:
Directive (task) behaviors
Supportive (relationship) behaviors
Situational Leadership also looks at directive
behaviors: how the leader helps group
members in goal achievement via one-way
Establishing goals & how to achieve them
Methods of evaluation & time lines
Supportive behaviors - Assist group
members via two-way communication in
feeling comfortable with themselves, coworkers, and situation
Asking for input
Leadership Styles (Youtube video 6:46)
Infage - Situational Leadership
(Youtube video 4:21)
Leader focuses communication
on goal achievement
Spends LESS time using
A leader gives instruction
about what and how goals are
to be achieved by the
subordinates and then
supervises them carefully.
• Useful for new employees; someone who lacks direction and skills
• A micro-management style of leadership
• Leaves no room for growth and development of subordinate
Leader focuses communication
on BOTH goal achievement
and supporting subordinates’
Requires leader involvement
through encouragement and
soliciting subordinate input
• Subordinate is engaged in feedback but the leader still makes
• A great way to develop team members
Leader does NOT focus solely
on goals; uses supportive
behaviors to bring out
employee skills in
accomplishing the task
Leader delegates day-to-day
decision-making control, but is
available to facilitate problem
• Leader is more of a facilitator
• Decisions are made as a team; leader clarifies decisions
Leader offers LESS task input and social
support; facilitates subordinates’
confidence and motivation relation to
Leader lessens involvement in
planning, control of details, and goal
Gives subordinates control and refrains
from intervention and unneeded social
• Subordinates control the activity and make decisions and involve the
leader only when needed
• Works for a team that works well together and understands what is
expected from them and how to get what they need to accomplish goals
• A communication process is critical for success
Marketplace approval. Situational leadership is
perceived as providing a credible model for training
employees to become effective leaders.
Practicality. Situational leadership is a
straightforward approach that is easily understood
and applied in a variety of settings.
Prescriptive value. Situational leadership clearly
outlines what you should and should not do in
Leader flexibility. Situational leadership stresses
that effective leaders are those who can change
their style based on task requirements and
Differential treatment. Situational leadership is
based on the premise that leaders need to treat
each subordinate according to his/her unique
Lack of research raises theoretical considerations
regarding the validity of the approach; validity is
Further research is required to determine how
commitment and competence are conceptualized
for each developmental level. How to measure?
Conceptualization of commitment itself and why it
varies is very unclear. How to measure?
Replication studies fail to support basic
prescriptions of situational leadership model.
Does not account for how particular demographics
influence the leader-subordinate prescriptions of
the model. Who is participating and how does this
influence the outcome?
Fails to adequately address the issue of one-to-one
versus group leadership in an organizational
Questionnaires are biased in favor of situational
Often used in consulting because it’s easy to
conceptualize and apply.
Straightforward nature makes it practical for
managers to apply.
Breadth of situational approach facilitates its
applicability in virtually all types of organizations
and levels of management in organizations.
• How important is structure to group
• How can you promote group cohesion
as a leader?
Leaders set the tone in productive
ways, helping group members perform at their
highest levels of excellence.
o Providing structure & boundaries for followers so that they
can work effectively
o Paying attention to group members & helping them find
meaning in their work
Setting the tone demands that leaders:
1. Provide Structure
2. Clarify Norms
3. Build Cohesiveness
4. Promote Standards of Excellence
Providing structure gives people a sense of
security, direction, & stability.
They know where they “fit in.”
They have an “architectural drawing” that gives form &
meaning to their activities.
Group work without structure is more
difficult for everyone involved.
Telling people the goals of the group
o Gives a clear picture of assignments & responsibilities
o Gives group members a sense of direction
Identifying the unique ways that each member
can contribute to the group
o Challenge: to find how each individual group member
can contribute to the group’s mission
How would you go about finding out the
unique ways that each member can
contribute to the group’s mission?
Norms are the rules of behavior that are
established & shared by group members.
o What is appropriate/inappropriate, right/wrong, &
allowed/not allowed in groups
o Develop early in a group & are difficult to change
Leaders need to try to shape norms that will
maximize group effectiveness.
How have you experienced leaders trying to
shape group norms?
How effective were they?
What are some examples of group norms?
Why are norms sometimes difficult to change?
Cohesiveness is the sense of “we-ness,” or the
esprit de corps, that exists within a group.
Allows members to:
o Express their personal viewpoints, give and receive
feedback, accept differing opinions, & feel free to do
o Appreciate the group & to be appreciated by the group
Increased participation and better interaction
Group membership is more consistent
Group exerts strong influence on members
Member satisfaction is high
Members are more productive
To Build Cohesiveness:
o Create a climate of trust.
o Invite members to be active participants.
o Encourage passive members to become
o Listen and accept group members for who
o Help group members achieve their goals.
o Promote the free expression of divergent
o Share leadership responsibilities.
o Foster and promote member-to-member
Standards of Excellence are the expressed &
implied expectations for performance that exist
within a group or organization.
Standards of excellence indicate:
o What group members need to know
o What skills group members need to acquire
o How much initiative and effort they need
o How group members are expected to treat one another
o What goals they need to achieve
o What the consequences are if they fail to achieve goals
Leaders need to articulate their concrete expectations
clearly for team members.
o Groups must establish mutual goals & identify specific
objectives for achieving results.
o This is the first critical step in managing performance.
Without expectations, members are uncertain about
what is required of them & flounder.
Leaders must give constructive feedback & resolve
Constructive feedback is honest, direct
communication about member performance.
o Not mean-spirited, nor is it overly nice or
o Lets group members know how to maintain or
Resolving performance issues is critical for effective
Effective leaders reward group members for
Rewarding results is a practical process that every
leader can do.
o Includes paying attention to members, offering
encouragement, & giving personalized appreciation
o Can be in dramatic or simple actions
Members feel valued & there is a greater sense of
group identity & community spirit.
Case Study: A Tale of Two Classes
In setting the tone for your classes, what kind of
structure has each of your professor’s put in place?
How would you describe the group norms for each
What actions has each professor taken to establish
cohesiveness in the classes?
What standards of excellence has each professor
established for the courses?
Which class atmosphere would you do best in? Why?
Setting the tone is a complex process that
involves a great deal of work on the leader’s
Leaders who set the tone in positive ways will
find payoffs in remarkable group
Your small group is working on a community service
project for your leadership class. Unfortunately, one
of your group members is not doing his share of the
work. He doesn’t follow through on tasks that he
volunteers for, won’t return phone calls or respond to
your emails, and misses some of the group’s
meetings. You go to your professor to complain about
the student, but the professor tells you to resolve the
problem yourselves. How would you confront this
group member constructively?
Susan was recently hired as a project manager for a car battery plant. She
and her team are charged with developing a more long lasting battery for
electric cars. Her supervisor estimates the project will take about 14
months. Because this is a growing industry, there is great competition
with rival companies but also potentially great reward for developing an
A few weeks into the project, the supervisor runs into a member of
Susan’s team and asks him how things are going. He replies that things
are a bit tense. At a recent brainstorming session Susan chided the
engineers for not coming up with more creative designs. She told the lead
engineer she worked with better designers in her previous company.
Susan comes in early and stays late every day. She often assigns work to
team members after 4:00 in the afternoon and expects them to stay late
to finish, even if they have other evening commitments.
How would you engage Susan in conversation about her behavior: If you
were her supervisor? If you were her team member?