You are probably familiar with the Situational Leadership approach; perhaps you’re even using it in everyday work life. But what changes does virtual leadership bring? For example: Why does one employee, known to always provide valuable input, suddenly stay rather quiet, while another person, usually not very talkative, turn into an IT super coach?
In this hack, we are going to explain how the model of Situational Leadership can be applied to virtual teams and what opportunities are arising to your employees right now.
HOW IT’S DONE
Situational leadership is about adapting your leadership behavior to the maturity level of each employee. According to this model, the maturity levels are derived from the employee’s competence to act (“Ability”) and commitment to a task (“Motivation”).
“Ability” means how well the employee is professionally and methodically prepared for the task and, accordingly, how much help they need.
“Motivation” describes how self-motivated the employee is to fulfill the task and how much self-confidence they have. Depending on their commitment, the employee needs more or less personal encouragement from you.
Working in the virtual space can lead to a sudden change in one or both of the determining factors for the degree of maturity.
For example, commitment may go down if someone misses the personal exchange and contact with colleagues. Or the ability to perform may be negatively affected because the person is not a digital native and simply does not know the new tools and processes well enough.
Also, the opposite might occur: an employee may flourish because they feel fully comfortable in the digital world and are developing a new found self-confidence and methodical competence.
Therefore, talk to your employees to find out their personal maturity level and their expectations towards your leadership style in the changed environment. And stay tuned – the level of maturity also develops dynamically and can change from task to task.
Also keep in mind: now, in the virtual world, more 1:1 conversations may be needed for distributing and managing tasks.
As shown above, „business as usual“ is not the way to handle things right now. Keep in touch with your employees and find out about their current needs. Keep in mind that not everyone likes to admit that they are insecure or unable to cope with something.
Check out hack #41for pragmatic help to determine the right approach to delegation for each employee.