Have you ever felt micromanaged by a leader? Or left high and dry because they didn't provide you with enough information to successfully do your job?

An upset woman, sitting on a couch saying,

As a leader, it's important to understand different communication styles and how they impact the success and development of your team.

The Situational Learning approach by Ken Blanchard explores 4 leadership communication styles :

  • Directing

  • Supporting

  • Coaching

  • Delegating

Know how to use each style and when it's appropriate!

Situational Leadership theories flow chart categorizing low and high supportive vs low and high directive behaviour

Directing

Leadership Style — High direction and low support.

Leaders who direct:

  • Teach often

  • Set clear expectations

  • Check in frequently

Learning Stage — Team members with low competence and high commitment.

Best suited for a beginner who is:

  • Excited

  • Inexperienced

  • Nervous

A young woman smiling at her coworker and looking around the room saying

Supporting

Leadership Style — High direction and high support.

Leaders who support:

  • Support the learner's journey

  • Help problem-solve

  • Explain the whys behind processes and decision-making

Learning Stage — Team members with low to some competence and low commitment.

Best suited for the disillusioned learner who is:

  • Still learning

  • Overwhelmed

  • Frustrated

A man who appears emotional sitting alone on a couch saying

Quiz

Koa is a recent graduate who was just hired as a social media specialist for a consulting company. They are excited but nervous. What leadership communication style would best work for Koa?

Coaching

Leadership Style — Low direction and high support.

Leaders who coach:

  • Encourage

  • Ask how they can help

  • Create space for the learner to discover their own insights

Learning Stage — Team members with moderate to high competence and variable commitment.

Best suited for the capable/cautious performer who is:

  • Incentive driven

  • Sufficient in their role

  • Wavering

A bored man at work tapping his finger on a mug singing

Delegating

Leadership Style — low direction and low support.

Leaders who delegate:

  • Trust their team member's choices

  • Challenge them to grow

  • Acknowledge their team's contributions to the business

Learning Stage — Team members with high competence and high commitment.

Best suited for the independent expert who is:

  • Tenured in their role

  • Efficient

  • Confident

A confident woman pointing her finger up, walking with purpose telling two people

Quiz

Jaida is a software engineer working for a tech company the past 5 years. Her team often comes to her for support. She is applying for a senior position. What leadership communication style would suit Jaida?

Take Action

Adapting your leadership communication style to suit the specific learning stages of your team can elevate their experience, team morale, and business success.

A man telling his female coworker

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This Byte has been authored by

SB

Sierra Biase

lululemon Key Leader