Life is Situational; Your Leadership Should Be Too

You sit in your stiff office chair and gently lean back as you settle in. Sitting before you is a strange specimen. They are sitting prim and proper with a smile plastered on their face; eagerly seeking your approval. Their glasses sit just a tiny bit tilted on their nose and youth radiates from their face. This specimen calls you boss. Always quick to take your direction on how to interact with your customers as their closing ratio continues to increase, but still struggling to get leads…and thus, sales are decreasing. Conversations around increasing lead flow seem futile; you are hitting your head against a wall. You have told them exactly how to do it, but they seem to get quieter during these talks and their body deflates. What a strange specimen.

Every interaction with someone is a new situation. You will have many conversations with employees about the different tasks for which they are responsible – no not just sales, marketing, financials, admin or time management; but, creating meaningful rapport, conditionally closing, systemizing approaches, needs analysis, matching features and benefits etc. etc. etc. Each of these is a task. Someone will have a different skill or commitment towards executing each task – but to complicate it, this can change with every waking moment! Lovely.

Steps to determining how to handle your confusing specimen:

  • Are they high or low in skill?

Skill is a combination of: The training they have had on the task and the experience they have doing the task.

  • Are they high or low in commitment?

Commitment is formed by: their personal confidence in their ability to do the task well and motivation on their part to do so.

  • Decision on leadership style.
  • High in both?
    • A situation made in heaven! Let them run and be there when they need you. But remember….just because they are there now, doesn’t mean they will be there in 5 minutes.
  • High commitment, low skill?
    • Feed it to them! Can give high direction just like the boss in our tale was with increasing the closing ratio.
  • Low commitment…..?

Back to our story – on the task of lead generation the boss is not addressing the fact their confidence was hurt the past month where they tried their very best and did not see results. They have been questioning their ability to execute anything properly when it comes to generating leads. This probably happened to you at some point in your career. If I sat here and told you what to do when you were already feeling low confidence – that is just feeding the fire. This is more complicated, read “Leading when Commitment is Low” to find out how to approach these people.

Life is situational. So how you act, react and behave is situational. Therefore to optimize the performance of your team you must be a situational leader.


Nicole Gallop is a VP at Cultivate. As a strategic planner, Nicole is unafraid to push boundaries to achieve goals. Her passion is optimizing the potential for both you and your business. She operates with an intense focus on bringing the right people into a highly collaborative, positive and result-oriented environment.

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