Seasonal Leadership-Which season are you in?


It seems like that is all I ever talk about, but for good reason.

Leadership is such a crucial issue in our daily lives, both from a professional and personal viewpoint.

When I think of leadership I see it from so many viewpoints that I felt compelled to share one of my most common views.

Different situations demand differing types of leadership.  Let me provide a few examples to give you a better picture.

Imagine yourself on a ship that has tossed and turned in a violent storm.  You are the captain of the vessel and you are trying to make sure that people are in the right place, using the right equipment and keeping themselves out of danger. The style of leadership in this situation would be much more directive and to the point due to the critical nature of response.  You don’t have time to discuss or call a meeting.  You need to take charge.

A different scenario would be making plans for a new greenfield site for a manufacturing facility.  You are working with a project team to decide the layout of the facility and also the types of systems you would put into place.  This could allow for a much more collaborative style of leadership than the aforementioned situation on the ship.  There are opportunities here to develop and empower others to get work done.

A third scenario could involve a critical time where there are multiple priorities to be accomplished and you can only do so much yourself.  You have had the opportunity to surround yourself with skilled and experienced team members and you choose to delegate a great deal of the work to your other teammates in order to meet the deadline.  This style is doable when you have experienced players who know what to do and need little direction or oversight.

Hersey and Blanchard’s “Situational Leadership” and Situational Leadership II have always been favorites of mine when it comes to choosing a style to meet a given scenario.  As I write more on this topic of Leadership Seasons I will certainly refer to that model, but I will also take a different approach and talk about how leadership changes and evolves as we grow and mature in our careers and our lives.      Many of us are the “lead dogs” in our careers when we get started.  We want to be in front, leading the pack, and overcoming all of the obstacles.

As we grow and mature we may step to the side and coach others as they take their time at the front of the pack.

I have also found that as I have matured more I can take a step back and let others lead, but still be available for counsel and advice.  Every time I take back the lead dog role it removes a developmental opportunity for someone else.

Leadership in many cases comes full circle for those who know themselves well and who surround themselves with other capable players.

We will talk more about this.  I hope you will join the conversation.