4 Situational Leadership styles to motivate your employees 

By - Olivier
03 Oct 2022 9:02

Adapt your leadership style to increase employees' performance

Leading within an organization can be challenging. Effective leadership comes down to finding the right balance between understanding the tasks to be completed, results expected from the team and their level of maturity on the job.

No single leadership style is applicable across the board due to several workplace factors impacting decision making and personality traits being different for every individual.

Management leadership style must not be static and should evolve in parallel with each employee’s development and skills.

Hersey & Blanchard established a “situational leadership model”, as shown below, based on an individual’s approach to tasks and relationship within the workplace:

(Hersey-Blanchard, 1977)


1.  Directing

The directing leadership style is commonly used for “enthusiastic beginners” who have low competences on the job but are highly committed to the tasks given to them, to learning and to developing their skills.

Managers will work closely with the employee, give clear and explicit guidelines and oversee their work carefully. The primary concern is the task delivery.


2.  Coaching

The second leadership style is the coaching style. “Disillusioned Learners” falls under this category. In other words, highly eager individuals at first but who lost confidence because their skills are not enough for the job.

These individuals have some skills on the job but also have low commitment towards the tasks given to them due to the leader(s) trying to force their ideas onto them and them knowing their skills are filing them.

Managers should focus on increasing the employee’s confidence to perform the task and need to show a higher level of concern.


3.  Supporting

The supporting or participating style focuses more on the sharing of thoughts and choices. It is a more communicative approach.

This style works best with “capable but cautious performers”. These employees are proficient in performing tasks but may need reassurance and confidence to perform.

Managers should provide the employee with praise and a high level of interaction.


4.  Delegating

The final style is a low directive and low supportive one. Delegating tasks shows a high level of confidence in the employees’ capabilities and decision-making. This is a “hands-off approach”.

These employees are known to be “self-reliant achievers”. However, it is crucial that the management team is available when needed and provide the necessary support to ensure the best results.

This method is best suited to experienced, mature-on-the-job individuals.


It is important for managers to keep in mind that this model does have limitations. Specific factors such as organizational hierarchy or time constraints may diminish the management’s ability to determine and use the best leadership strategy.

Therefore, it is crucial that the management team stays flexible and adaptive in their leadership style.