Situational-based Management

October 7, 2011

Issue 2

Ever have a staff member who appeared to be able to do anything? We load them up with all kinds of projects, whether or not it’s “what they do”, and then are surprised, even disappointed, when one of those special projects doesn’t work out as we assumed it would.

The key to avoiding a disappointment like this is to realize that varied tasks need to be managed differently, even if they are being handled by the same person. No matter how well-qualified, smart, proactive or educated an employee is, they don’t know everything. Even the most experienced employee will require close supervision from time to time.

Situation-based management can be split into three levels – Advice, Coaching and Task.

An employee who is highly skilled and confident in one area may just require your Advice. However, that same employee, having acquired a skill but still not completely confident in their judgment or performance, will require Coaching to build confidence in their new ability. Put that same self-assured person in a situation where a task is something brand new and they will surely lack skill AND confidence. In that circumstance, you as the manager will want to make sure you carefully define the deliverable first and then test that deliverable throughout the project to make sure they are on track to reach the goal. That situation needs to be managed at the Task level by supervising every step and course correcting along the way.

The execution-minded manager is attuned to the needs of the employee and manages assignments accordingly, regardless of the employee’s position within the business. So, when you assign a new task, consider the skill set of the person assigned to the task carefully. It may require a closer level of supervision, at least at first, but will pay off for you in the end when you and your business get the quality of work that you want.

Situational management by an execution-minded manager is a recipe for success, and this kind of success will ensure motivated, happy, and growing employees.