“A situational leader is anybody anywhere who recognizes that influencing behavior is not an event but a process.”
– Dr. Paul Hersey

Situational Leadership®

The Situational Leadership® Model is arguably the most recognized, utilized and effective leadership and influence tool in the history of the behavioral sciences.

Approved_SitLead_ModelDeveloped by Dr. Paul Hersey in the late 1960s, the Situational Leadership® Model is a powerful, yet flexible tool that enables leaders of all kinds; managers, salespeople, peer leaders, teachers or parents to more effectively influence others.

Dr. Hersey’s original Situational Leadership® Model is based on the relationship between leaders and followers and serves as a framework to analyze each situation based on:

  • The amount of guidance and direction (task behavior) a leader gives
  • The amount of socioemotional support (relationship behavior) a leader provides
  • The readiness level that followers exhibit in performing a specific task, function, or objective

Situational Leaders learn to demonstrate four core, common and critical leadership competencies:

  • Diagnose: “Understand the situation they are trying to influence”
  • Adapt: “Adjust their behavior in response to the contingences of the situation”
  • Communicate: “Interact with others in a manner they can understand and accept”
  • Advance: “Manage the movement”

The Situational Leadership® Model provides leaders with an understanding of the relationship between an effective style of leadership and the level of readiness followers exhibit for a
specific task.

Situational Leadership®, which stresses flexibility and simplicity in execution, can equip leaders in your organization with the tools necessary to skillfully navigate the demands of an increasingly diverse workforce and evolving global marketplace. Infinitely adaptable to any circumstance, the model prepares leaders to address the most pressing challenges pervasive in today’s work environment.


The Benefits of Situational Leadership®

The Situational Leadership® Model utilizes a repeatable process that your leaders can leverage to effectively influence the behavior of others.

The process is so simple to both understand and apply that its creator, Dr. Paul Hersey, often described it as “organized common sense.” At its core, Situational Leadership® provides leaders with an understanding of the relationship between an effective style of leadership and the level of readiness that followers exhibit for a specific task. But, it does much more than that …

With application across organizational leaders, first-line managers, individual contributors and even teams, Situational Leadership® utilizes task specificity to serve as a mechanism through which leaders maximize their influence-related impact. We call these individuals “situational leaders” and would contend that they are critical to the success of any organization.

More specifically, situational leaders:

  • Maintain an acute awareness of their innate leadership-related strengths and areas for development – critical skill sets in working in high-performing organizations
  • Conduct highly effective coaching conversations by understanding when a particular leadership style has a high probability of success and when it does not
  • Skillfully influence up, down and across the organization by knowing when to be “consistent” and when to be “flexible”
  • Create more productive teams/organizations by accelerating the development of individuals that are new to their role and/or are learning a new task
  • Develop engaged, committed employees by effectively recognizing and proactively addressing the dynamics of performance regression
  • Effectively drive behavior change and business results by communicating through a common, practical language of leadership


Drive Behavior Change and Build Sustainment

Task Specificity to Drive Behavior Change

Through the tools associated with the Situational Leadership® Model and The Center for Leadership Studies’ Influence Curriculum, leaders are able to approach coaching and influence opportunities through the lens of task-specificity, as opposed to making generalizations about a follower’s overall level of ability and motivation.

The result is targeted, dynamic coaching that drives the desired change in behavior.

Situational leaders help followers grow and develop by using high-probability leadership styles for each level of Performance Readiness®. This translates to accelerated individual development and the achievement of desired results.

Building Sustainment

While behavior change is the ultimate goal of most adult-learning endeavors, it is not a realistic outcome for standalone, unsupported training events. Focused reinforcement needs to occur in order to ensure learning is retained and long-term behavioral transformation is realized. In particular, “next-level manager” (NLM) support is critical. In fact, research suggests an increase of 65% in retention and transfer to on-the-job application when NLMs are actively engaged in the learning process of their direct reports.


Somehow this seems easy – engage managers and your training will produce a desirable result.  Clearly, if it were, in fact, that simple, the challenges associated with training transfer would be non-existent. The fact of the matter is that without a clear process, mutual task alignment and accountability, manager commitment to the pull-through of training remains random, haphazard and difficult to measure.

To assist you in overcoming these potential challenges, The Center for Leadership Studies has created a simple four-step process that ensures NLMs support learners at critical moments in the learning cycle. We call this The Four Moments of Truth. When utilized, the supporting tools and materials comprising The Four Moments of Truth ensure that NLMs will effectively prepare and position training for their employees and be actively engaged in the reinforcement process. By following this process, your NLMs will enhance their ability to create and sustain a constructive learning environment while applying transfer of learning strategies to drive on-the-job performance.

Recognizing the importance of sustainment in maximizing your return on learning investment, The Center for Leadership Studies has made The Four Moments of Truth a cornerstone in each of our Situational Leadership® and Influence Curriculum courses.

Want to learn more about how The Four Moments of Truth can benefit your organization?