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  • Writer's pictureAnne Koch

Situational Leadership - The leader as chameleon

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more,

you're a leader."

The image we have in our minds of good leaders is what Jack Welch so aptly describes in his quote. Leaders are supposed to make the most of their employees, to make them grow so that they can unleash their full creative potential. In principle, I would agree with this. BUT: Does every employee really have to, can and want to do that in every situation? And does it always make sense?

When I took over my first team a few years ago, it was clear: I wanted to help my employees to go beyond themselves. I wanted to show them that they can do more than they think. And I wanted to give them the freedom to help shape things and make decisions. Just as the New Work movement always demands.

I quickly reached my limits. Processes took a long time, feedback meetings were frustrating, and no one was really satisfied with the results. If I had known then what I understand now, everyday leadership would have been much easier: Leadership is, no, must be situational. Every leadership style, whether authoritarian, participative, coaching or visionary, has its justification. The task of the leader is to adapt: according to the maturity level of the employee, the situation and the task.

A crisis requires clear announcements. An unpopular task likewise. Or a new trainee.

Real innovation can only be developed in freedom. And complexity cannot be countered with clear targets.

What is clear is that every style, every leader needs the ability to appreciate employees, be empathetic and authentic. And above all: A POSITIVE HUMAN IMAGE.

Then, when leaders put themselves at the service of employees in the sense of servant leadership, keep their own ego in check and care for employees in a needs-oriented way, leadership can succeed.

Reflect for yourself:

  1. How satisfied and successful are you with your current leadership style? Where and how can or do you want to develop yourself further (e.g. through training or also through support from peers and role models)?

  2. What image do you have of your individual employees and what kind of leadership do they need from your point of view? Also talk directly with your employees: Where do they want more or less leadership, if any?

Twin-Tip: Then start a Leadership Diary in which you take 5 minutes every day and ask yourself:

  • What am I most proud of today?

  • What have I learned today?

  • What do I want to do differently/better tomorrow?

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