Leading to Develop a High-Performing Team

2020 was a tough year, especially for entrepreneurs. I mean, how do you lead with any consistency when everything is constantly changing? This question has prompted me to write about the Situational Leadership Quadrant. It’s a great way to decide how you should be leading and managing in any set of circumstances.

Leading a team or business is a little like driving

At the wheel of a great car, you can drive with more assurance. The handling is safe, the engine is powerful, and the controls are responsive. In a lesser car, you need to drive more carefully.

In your role as leader of your team, the road you drive is your path to your goals. The vehicle you drive is your business, and your business is your employees. Your job is to manage your employees so that they deliver you to your intended destination, without breaking down, getting stuck behind traffic, or crashing.

Good leaders are flexible

The Situational Leadership Quadrant is your driver’s manual, helping you to deliver optimum performance from your team by leading them in the most appropriate style. 

Your employees are likely to be on different positions on the competency curve. Each will have a different set of skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Each will be strong in some situations and not so strong in others. 

Good leaders take a flexible approach to managing, adapting their style to evolving situations. This helps them lead confidently and get the best from their people.

Four leaderships styles in the Situational Leadership Quadrant

There are four leadership styles in the Situational Leadership Quadrant: tell, sell, participate, delegate.

  1. Tell

This is the style to use when the employee or team doing a task are inexperienced in that task. They haven’t had training, and need clear instructions to complete the task successfully.

  1. Sell

At this level, the employee is more experienced or has the knowledge needed to undertake the task. However, they still need to be directed. However, the emphasis of instructing has shifted to explaining the reasons for doing what is to be done and how. Using this style, you begin to influence action rather than command it.

  1. Participate

The next shift in leadership style takes place when the employee or team has a high degree of competency. The leader moves to a more participative style, reducing direction further and engaging the employee in jointly developing solutions and improving working practices. This helps the leader to develop people to think and act more autonomously, preparing them to be delegated to.

  1. Delegation

Employees or the team are now fully competent. They are highly proficient in their tasks, and you can lead in a hands-off style. You delegate goal creation and decision-making. They plan their approach, execute tasks, and keep you informed of progress.

Developing your team using Situational Leadership

By taking a flexible approach to your leadership style, you can lead more effectively for tasks management and employee development. To decide which leadership style to use, there are two questions to answer:

  • The competencies required to complete the task effectively

  • The competencies that the employee or team possess in relationship to the task

By understanding which employees are most competent at which tasks, you can manage your business more effectively. This does mean, though, that you need a good understanding of each team member’s level of competency in each task. 

Through this process, you can use your knowledge to adapt leadership style and help develop your employees’ skills as you lead them through to full competency and develop a high-performing team that will help power your business to the realization of its full potential.

Here’s what I know

It’s impossible to lead a modern team in a single leadership style. Not only will you have employees on different positions in their personal development, but the environment is shifting so fast that competency in tasks is a moving target.

The key to using the Situational Leadership Quadrant effectively is to fully understand each task and each employee’s competency in that task. You can then use your knowledge to develop individual and team capability.

Master leadership flexibility, and you’re on your way to developing an exceptional team – improving productivity, revenue, and profits.

Have you explored your capability as a leader? What do you think will be your biggest challenge when you start your business and seek to grow your business?

Let me know in the comments below, and I’ll try to address your concerns either directly or in a future article.


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