The Situational Leadership II Model: Evaluate Your Leadership Style Against Development Levels



“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” Ralph Nader

How can you adapt your leadership styles to the task and people at hand?  How can you take your leadership game to the next level?

You can use the Situational Leadership II model.

The Situation Leadership II model is a way to empower people and become a better leader.

A leader that grows others.

In The 3 Keys to Empowerment: Release the Power Within People for Astonishing Results, Ken Blanchard, John P. Carlos, and Alan Randolph propose the Situational Leadership II model as a way to apply situation-based leadership styles to be more effective.

Key Takeaways

I’m a fan of changing the approach based on a situation to improve effectiveness. Here’s my key takeaways:

  1. Leadership style.  Identify the appropriate leadership style by identifying the development level for the specific goal or task.
  2. Development level.  Identify the development level by identifying the levels of commitment and competence.
  3. Evolve your leadership style. Evolve your leadership style as the development level evolves.

The Situational Leadership II Model

With the Situational Leadership II model, you apply the appropriate leadership style depending on where your team is for the specific task or goal.

As part of the Situational Leadership II model, you need to evaluate the Leadership Style and the Development Levels.  For the Leadership Style, the two key considerations are Directive Behaviors and Supportive Behaviors.

For the Development Levels, the two key considerations are Competence and Commitment.

Here’s a visual representation of the Situational Leadership II model:


The Goal of Situational Leadership II

The goal is to match the leadership style to the needs of the individual and the task, while empowering people to grow their competence and commitment.

Blanchard, Carlos, and Randolph write:

“The goal of Situational Leadership II is to provide an environment that permits an individual to move along the development continuum — through the development cycle — from Development Level 1 (developing) to Development Level 4 (developed.)

The leader uses a leadership style that is appropriate to the individual’s development level at each stage of development on a specific goal or task.

As the development level changes, the leadership style should change accordingly. There is no best leadership style because development levels vary from person to person and from task to task.”

The 4 Basic Leadership Styles

The four basic leadership styles are:

  1. Style 1 – Directing (high directive behavior and low supportive behavior)
  2. Style 2 – Coaching (high directive behavior and high supportive behavior)
  3. Style 3 – Supporting (high supportive behavior and low directive behavior)
  4. Style 4 – Delegating (low supportive behavior and low directive behavior)

Directive Behaviors focus on how to do a task. Examples include telling and showing people what to do and when to do it and providing frequent feedback on results. Directive Behaviors are key to developing competence in others.

Supportive Behaviors focus on developing people’s initiative and on their attitudes and feelings toward the task. Good examples of Supportive Behavior are praising, listening, encouraging and involving others in problem solving and decision making.

The 4 Development Levels

The four development levels are:

  1. Development Level 1 (low competence and high commitment)
  2. Development Level 2 (low to some competence and low commitment)
  3. Development Level 3 (moderate to high competence and variable commitment)
  4. Development Level 4 (high competence and high commitment)

Competence is the knowledge and skills an individual brings to a goal or task. Competence is best determined by demonstrated performance. It can, however, be developed over time with an appropriate direction direction and support.

Commitment is a combination of an individual’s motivation and self-confidence on a goal or task. Interest and enthusiasm are exhibited behaviorally through attentiveness, energy levels, and facial expressions, as well as through verbal cues.

Confidence is characterized by a person’s self-assuredness.

It is the extent to which people trust their own abilities to do a task.

If either motivation or confidence is low, commitment as a whole is considered low.

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  1. just finished reading The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard. He mentions these charts too. I could remember you’ve put it on your blog and here you are, I’ve got it. I am about to post on this one – expect some link love 😉
    Thanks for sharing these!

  2. Hey Alik

    Great to hear! I think situational leadership is a good reminder that one size does not fit all and that you have an advantage if you have more than one style under your belt.

  3. hi, i would like to find out about the delegating style. Lets say the employee is able and willing worker, what style will work best and also explain about the delegating style.

  4. @ Mohammed

    In the case where you have willing and able, then the best thing is to set the goals and get out of the way. Make sure they agree to the goals and know what the tests for success are and what good looks like. Ideally, you match the work to their strengths for best results.

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