"Flexing" Your Leadership Style

By Coleen Kulkin on August 27, 2018

flexing your leadership styleOne of the things we love about Leadership gurus Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey is that they popularized the belief that anyone can lead, you just have to hone your “style-flexing” skills.

Their studies in effective leadership are not based upon a static “best” leadership style, rather, they demonstrated that good leadership is more situational, and should be fluid and adaptable by meeting people “where they are.” Their theory of Situational Leadership, developed in the 1970’s, has really provided hope for all of us that with the right learned leadership skills, anyone can be a successful and effective leader. The key is being in tune with the present situation, allowing your style to be flexible, and participating alongside of the people you are leading.

“Situational Leadership is not something you do to people, but something you do with people.” —Ken Blanchard, One Minute Manager

According to Blanchard, for successful Situational Leadership, leaders can achieve better performance by using these three skills:

  1. Diagnosis:

Being able to diagnose unique individuals in specific situations is often a time-honored and learned craft. It requires understanding personalities, where a person is on the competency continuum and the commitment level of each individual.

Sure a natural heightened awareness of behaviors and empathy is a great start, but truly understanding what makes people tick and where they are presently will provide the framework to reach the next level.

“Everyone Is a potential winner. Some people are disguised as losers. Don’t let their appearances fool you.” —Ken Blanchard

  1. Flexibility:

Being able to adapt your style to fit the requirements of the situation is the hallmark of a great situational leader. Blanchard proposed four leadership styles: Directing, Coaching, Supportive and Delegating. He suggests that it is up to the leader to understand which style to use with each person and when. Sounds daunting, but it’s also fascinating and effective.

The importance of flexibility is to recognize the situation and adapt his/her leadership style accordingly. We also appreciate that he’s classified only four main styles, so it’s not difficult to commit to memory and use in a practical way.

“In the past a leader was a boss. Today's leaders must be partners with their people...they no longer can lead solely based on positional power.” —Ken Blanchard

  1. Partnering:

Lastly, partner for performance. Partnering lets people know you are participating in their success, as you are:

  • Determining where they are in their development
  • Setting goals
  • Providing the resources to improve
  • Following through
  • Providing feedback
  • Monitoring outcomes
  • Praising and reprimanding

PeopleKeys provides the tools to help you discover your own, as well as your team members’, behavioral needs, values, and personal passions. Take the PeopleKeys’ Leadership style assessment to find out your unique leadership style. We can also assess team members individually with our DISC Personality System Profile or an entire team as a group with our Group Dynamics report. Use the knowledge of your team members’ styles to further develop your leadership style-flexing skills.

Learn more about common traits shared by top business leaders.

About the Author: Coleen Kulkin

Coleen is the Director of Product Development at PeopleKeys, helping bring new DISC products and updated reports to-market through research, development, validation studies and testing. Personality Style: S

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