Situational Leadership – Directing

Situational Leadership – Directing

We are all on different points of our personal leadership and life journey. It’s important to remember those differences as you coach, develop, and lead others in a positive way. A great leader changes and adapts their style of leadership and communication based on the needs of the individual that they are working with.  Take a blanket approach to everyone and you’ll likely leave the majority of your people longing for a more engaged leader.
The Situational Leadership Model covers four styles of leadership that help you understand what the appropriate style of leadership is for each unique person on your team.

The four styles of leadership in this model are Directing, Coaching, Supporting, and Delegating. Today we are going to look at the Directing Style and understand what it is when to use it and how it can make an impact both positively and negatively on others.

What is Directing and when do you use this style?

Directing is the most basic and entry form of these leadership styles. You are typically highly involved with this person in giving direction and feedback. You’ll want to focus on directing work instead of relying on a trusting relationship because it’s very likely that there is not a relationship built with this person yet.
These people typically have a lower comfortability of depth of knowledge because they are either newer to the company, their role, or geographical location. Other associates who may be in the wrong role and need remedial help will fall into this kind of leadership style as well. Both types of associates will come to you for direction and need or want more attention from you as they go through their daily work.

Why is Directing an important part of your overall leadership?

There is a reason why some people need this type of leadership. It’s highly likely that they don’t know all of the information in order to do the job to their fullest potential yet.
Have you ever started a job and the company just immediately threw you into the work with no direction? How did you feel? Probably overwhelmed, and lost and you had no sense of grounding whether you were doing a good job or not.  It’s imperative that newer associates be led with more of a directing style so they feel equipped to take on their role and know that they have a safety net in you as they grow in confidence.
For those that have been around a long time, that require a high level of attention and follow-up, it may seem frustrating to stay in a directing role with them. Shouldn’t they know the direction if they have been around for a long time? It is true that they should in fact be able to handle their role, refusing to direct them, will only compound their shortcomings and they will continue to struggle.  Instead, lean into directing them and work to get to the root cause of why they need the extra attention. As you continue to provide this level of support for tenured people requiring this type of leadership, you may need to do some tough self-reflection to determine if they are in the right role.

What are some of the cautions of Directing?

You certainly don’t want to lead your whole team with a directing style, otherwise, you’ll quickly be known as the micro-manager of the team.  Give your individual people the Directing Style as needed, but be aware that your ultimate goal is to support them so you can begin leading them in a new style (Supportive, Delegation, Coaching)
Some leaders like to stay in the Direction phase of leadership because they like to know what’s going on in all aspects of the business. Be willing to change and grow your connection as each individual grows as well.

Although associates that need this type of leadership typically have a lower knowledge level, they often have a high commitment level. Encourage them as they learn new skills and grow their understanding. Champion Success as they make progress. Remember that your goal is to help them raise their ability and capacity so you can move on to the next phase of leadership: Coaching.

Make a better tomorrow.