Situational Leadership Characteristics

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The Situational Leadership Theory is an effective and powerful tool used by leaders, allowing them to adapt their own style to what is required by those they are trying to lead or influence; there is no ‘best style’ of leadership, it all depends on the situation.

Although the list is long, the main situational leadership characteristics are being able to:

  • Diagnose: a leader needs to understand the situation they want to influence, before deciding on a course of action.
  • Adapt: A situational leader must be willing to adapt and change how they behave with, and toward others, based on the contingencies of the situation.
  • Communicate: A good situational leader should be willing to communicate with others in the team, to get the best performance out of them. He/she should coach them by being encouraging, explaining why certain decision are being made, all the time soliciting input from staff. Teamwork and communication are both essential for situational leaders.
  • Direct: A situational leader should be willing to be highly directive when staff skills are not sufficiently developed and they need constant supervision and guidance. The leader needs to be clear on outcomes and how they need to be achieved.
  • Integrity: A situational leader considers what is at stake, i.e. the culture, structure, goals etc., not with an eye to adapt their approach so that they can exploit the situation, but so that they can be motivated to do the best for the staff and the company. This helps them gain the trust and confidence of their staff.

As a SME business coach, I am aware my clients often practice situation leadership in their own businesses without realising it; particularly in the way they consider staff maturity and competency. I highlight to clients that they need to create a relationship between an effective leadership style and a level of readiness that their staff are willing to exhibit when it comes to performing different tasks.

By adopting a situational approach, it empowers business owners and helps turn them into leaders. Leaders maintain an acute awareness of the innate strengths of every employee, recognising that there are situations when they need to motivate employees and assist in developing critical skills that can lead to better performance.



Over the past 30 years, Evan has founded four ‘start-ups’, built them into successful businesses and gone on to sell them.  He has experienced and overcome most of the 


common challenges faced by business owners and leaders and understands the pressure and stresses that running a business can cause and how important it is to manage this effectively.

He also recognises the value and importance of getting sound advice and support when faced by these common challenges and of being prepared to openly discuss issues with a coach or mentor.

Since building up his last business into a national company, and selling it in 2009, Evan has focused on coaching the leaders of small and medium-sized businesses in how to manage and overcome the many challenges that they face.  He has a Master of Business Coaching degree from Wollongong University; creating a unique blend of experience, expertise and coaching best practice for his clients.

Click here to find out more about Evan.

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