Leadership Approaches – Situational Leadership

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Part of the following ministry resources: Christian Leadership, Empowerment, Transformational Leadership.


The concept of “Situational Leadership” was popularized by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey to provide a model for individualizing the coaching approach based on people’s varying levels of motivation, competence, and maturity. It is thus “situational.” They developed a grid for assessing where people fall on a continuum, and whether the appropriate style is directing, coaching, supporting, or delegating.

Situational Leadership as Empowerment and Transformational Leadership

Situational leadership is an expression of transformational and empowering leadership. One of the four key competencies of transformatiional leadership as defined by Bernard Bass is “individualized consideration,” or paying attention to each individual follower’s needs for achievement and growth by acting as a coach or mentor. This is also found universally in the literature on servant leadership.

Situational Leadership and Spiritual Leadership

Situational leadership resonates with some aspects of spiritual leadership. For example, Lynn Anderson, in They Smell Like Sheep, shows the importance of biblical images such as shepherd, mentor, and equipper. In another of his books, The Jesus Touch, Anderson shows how Jesus’ interactions with each person was “creative,” or conceived uniquely for each case. Situational Leadership is potentially a good tool in helping leaders know best how to tailor their shepherding and mentoring approach to each individual.

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Ministry Resources on Situational Leadership

Two texts discuss this model in detail.

Also, each volume in the popular One-Minute Manager series by Ken Blanchard and his associates describes how to coach and mentor others in an empowering manner. As such, they express situational leadership. There are many installments in this series. The list below is selective.

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Related Ministry Resources

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