The very best leaders have a robust team which includes a plethora of leadership styles. This variety means that whatever the situation, your company will have a leader with a style suited to dealing with it. This is an accepted fact, but what is less-often highlighted is how successful a situational style of leadership can be for a CEO or company executive. The situational leadership model is a flexible system of leadership that enables a smart CEO to switch between leadership styles according to the needs of any given situation. Often seen in high-impact, busy market places, and favoured by the great and the good, this is the ideal leadership style for creating success in your company.

Using emotional intelligence

Goleman’s often quoted book, Emotional Intelligence, has some pivotal ideas. In order to use a situational model of leadership, the successful CEO has to finesse their ability to recognise and adapt to the changing needs of their workforce. In the case of HR Directors and CEO’s this means responding to the varied needs of your company leaders who are often under pressure. When you have the insightfulness to understand those needs, it is possible to use a flexible situational style of leadership to create an environment for success.

Picking your style

The key to successfully using a situational model of leadership is to correctly identify the style needed, and act fast. Whether the situation is a fast-paced emergency or a long-term mentoring journey, you will need to identify the needs of your staff quickly. From a ‘coaching’ style to a ‘coercive’ once, each option has both benefits and negatives. It is therefore really important to observe the situation carefully. If you are in a deadline intensive period, for example, a ‘pacesetting’ style may be more efficient than a ‘democratic’ style. However, ‘pacesetting’ comes with a high employee burnout risk, so you may want to switch over to something more affiliative when the deadlines have passed. What is important, is matching the style to the situation.

Flexibility leads to success

With an increasingly diverse workforce, particularly among company leaders, the benefits of being able to switch between leadership styles are key to success. CEOs and business leaders find they are able to respond equally well to a variety of staff, often complementing their team’s own leadership style in turn.