Situational leadership

The world is changing. How do you change as an organisation and as a leader?

The route to success requires situational leadership. In other words: leadership thatat of In other words: leadership that assumes that every situation and every employee requires a different approach. After all, no situation is the same and every person is different. But how do you approach this in practice?

Four basic styles of leadership

The theory of situational leadership was developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. The model is based on four basic leadership styles, which vary in terms of directing behavior and supporting behavior. Which leadership style is needed depends on the knowledge and skills of the employee and of the degree of motivation and self-confidence. To give an example at giving: managing a team from highly skilled employees with an independente taak, requires very probably a different leadership style than directing a team of factory workers.

Situational leadership fits good with the principle of
that people with various views, interests and competences connects. With the aim of together to achieve an economically viable, ecologically sound and socially just result.

It’s all about these four basic styles:


Does the situation call for a lot of steering? Then instructive leadership is desirable. The leader is mainly directive. He tells the employees which tasks to perform and when the work should be finished. In short: the leader mainly gives instructions.


As with instructing, the leader tells the employees what needs to be done and when the work needs to be finished. The difference being that staff can also ask for an explanation. This applies, for example, in situations where employees need guidance, text and explanation, but are also given space in their work. It is important that the employees know why something has to be done and what the importance of this is. This provides motivation.


Do the employees know how to perform their tasks, but is it important that you motivate them. motivateeert and inspireand stimulates their sense of responsibility.? Then supportive leadership een appropriate style. You have a coaching role where you encourage conversation with employees. Moreover, you motivate them to keep talking to each other. Staff contributions to the discussion are important. As As an executive not all decisions; in certain situations there is room for the input of the employees.


Theyn your employees are used to working work independently? And do they have the knowledge and experience to do so? Dan as a manager, you can hand over the work and tasks, trusting that they will be done well. The manager outlines the frameworks and conditions that apply as guidelines and makes the resources available. This leadership style is characterized by little support.

How do you put this into practice?

Do you want to get started with situational leadership? Then start with an inventory. Wwhat characterises the employees? Do they already do their work very independently or do they need a lot of guidance? And what do people actually think about that? What needs do they have? The organisation where you work and what it asks of you are also of influence. Then determine what type of leadership is best suited to the situation. How can you as a leader add value? What leadership style suits you and what does it mean? Make good agreements about this and make adjustments if necessary. Do you realize that no one person has mastered all leadership styles. And that everyone has a preferred style. In short: not everything fits everyone.

Want to know more about value-creating leadership? Then download the ebook Leadership in the Economy of Value. Or click here for our leadership training courses.

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dr. Pim Valentijn

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