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Supervision Intervention Strategies

Recruitment and Retention Toolkit   Supervision Intervention Strategies   Supervision Styles [2.8.2]   Using the Most Effective Leadership Style: Situational Leadership [2.8.2.a]

Using the Most Effective Leadership Style: Situational Leadership [2.8.2.a]

“Situational leadership” means choosing the most effective leadership style for a given team, project or situation, while also considering the style you are personally most comfortable using. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership® Theory provides insight based on the theory that different people in different situations need different approaches to leadership. This theory helps choose the right leadership style for each individual or group.
The theory states that leaders must consider the following when deciding the appropriate style:
  • The skill levels and experience of your team members;
  • The work involved (routine or new and creative);
  • The organizational environment (stable or radically changing; conservative or adventurous); and
  • Your own preferred or natural style.
Effective leaders smoothly switch between styles as situations call for different approaches. They understand when following the rules exactly is necessary and times when more flexibility will work best. For example, a supervisor in an agency that offers both methadone maintenance therapy and substance abuse counseling would need to ensure that staff followed all rules regarding dispensing of methadone. However, the supervisor might recognize that individual counselors have different approaches and philosophies of substance abuse counseling.
Other contexts in which supervisors must opt for strict enforcement of rules include areas such as client confidentiality, safety protocols when working in the community, reporting requirements related to child welfare or infectious diseases, or any other rules related to client rights, client or employee safety, or clinical outcomes. Frederic Reamer examines in detail some of the areas in which supervisors must ensure adherence to rules in a chapter of Austin and Hopkins’ Supervision as Collaboration in Human Services.[1]
Employee Involvement Model describes an environment where staff have an increasing role and supervisors have a decreasing role in the decision process.
Delegation as a Leadership Style includes tips for successful delegation of authority to help staff succeed when a task is delegated.
Action Centered Leadership outlined by John Adair leadership pioneer, highlights the key actions that leaders have to take when managing their teams and groups these responsibilities together under three key areas: task; team; and individual. A common sense example of the application of Action Centered Leadership within a complex system is provided in Action Centered Leadership and its Evolution with the Royal Navy.
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