Situational Leadership

Colin Powell gave a short speech over lunch at the World Business Forum

He relayed a story about two Captains in the Army he had the pleasure to lead as a means of highlighting the importance of Situational Leadership.

One time he told two of his Captains to “take that hill”. The 1st Captain ran off and proceeded to take the hill. But the 2nd Captain wanted to know what support would he get, what was the ultimate goal of taking the hill, why would we even want to take that hill? Which Captain is better?

It’s natural to say the 1st Captain is the kind of guy you want on your team because he displays the leadership that anyone would want on their team. But maybe he might make a mistake, maybe without truly understanding the business objective might get the job done but miss the strategic mark.

The 2nd Captain while he required a very different leadership style to nurture him. While it may have seemed like time was ticking and ground and lives could be lost. But in the end maybe he got the job done better.

His advice was to us was to try to create an atmosphere where you can find people who you can develop trust in and they will return the favor and trust in you!

1 comment to Situational Leadership

  • hesslei

    A good situational leader is one who can quickly change leadership styles as the situation changes. Most of us attempt to do this in our dealings with people: we try not to get angry with a new employee, and we remind forgetful people. The model doesn’t apply only to people in leadership or management positions; all people lead others at work, at play, and at home.


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