Filtering by Tag: leader

“Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people that are on your team and how you can help them be successful.”

Being a leader is not about you. It’s about the people that are on your team and how you can help them be successful.
— Susan Vobejda

Last week, I began to discuss the art of leadership and offered a model from Sport Psychology as a tool, Situational Leadership. Being an effective leader is definitely an art. Though many people have some of the key characteristics that make a good leader, one needs to study and practice the craft to become a master. Another model from Sport Psychology leaders can use as a tool is Group Development, created by Bruce Tuckman.

Tuckman developed this model as a way to describe the journey that most groups go through on their way to high performance. First, lets define a group, or team, as 2 or more individuals that have a common task or goal that they are working towards. This “team” can be a cast of performers, a class of students, a graphic design team, a group of analysts, etc. In each of these examples, the leader has a different title: director, teacher, art director, and portfolio manager. However, all these leaders can use the Situational Leadership model along with the Group Developmental model to elicit high performance.

We learned through Situational Leadership that we should change our leadership style based on the readiness level (task ability and willingness) of the follower. In Group Development, the same construct remains, only this time the follower is the entire team. Tuckman’s four stages are Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Below is a simple breakdown of the stages along with what Leadership style should be used.


Forming – Members have just come together. They are not clear on what is expected of them, what to do, and what the group mission/goals are. They are unfamiliar with other group members so there is no history or trust yet. Therefore, they are not committed to the team, but more to their personal agendas. Productivity/performance level is low. Leadership Style – Directing: Leader should be high directive with one-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader must set goals/mission, establish roles within the group, set up expectations, begin to build group trust, and find ways to get the members to buy into the group as one.

Storming – Members are beginning to fight for different roles. There may be some infighting and smaller cliques forming. Individuals are still being led by their own personal agenda. Some members are starting to buy into the group, while others are still hesitant and maybe even resisting. The group still doesn’t trust each other much, and therefore problem solving is not efficient. Productivity/performance level is still low. Leadership Style – Coaching: Leader should continue to be high directive, but also high supportive with beginning to introduce two-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader should actively reinforce team behavior, support and set up team wins, maintain and expect high expectations, define roles within the group, request and accept feedback, and continue to build group trust.

Norming – Members are aware and accepting of roles. Hidden agendas come to the surface and instead, they all have bought into the team’s mission/goals. Each member knows how he or she fits into that mission and feels purposeful. Feedback is easily given and received because trust has been built. Members are starting to take responsibility for reinforcing team norms, expectations, etc. Productivity/performance level is becoming higher.  Leadership Style – Supporting: Leader should be low directive and high supportive with a lot of two-way communication. In order to move to the next stage, the leader should maintain open communication, support the members in making decisions, but not make the decisions for them. The leader should continue to praise the team’s accomplishments and maintain traditions.

Performing – Members are very motivated and are completely clear on their individual roles. They defer to the team instead of their individual needs and support each other. When problems arise, they think creatively and trust in each other. They take pride in the group as a whole and its successes. Productivity/performance level is high. Leadership Style – Delegating: Leader should be low directive and low supportive, but still maintain a presence. In order to maintain this stage, the leader needs to continue to challenge the team by helping them to set new goals. The leader needs to maintain a presence, but not make the decisions for the team, and support the overall well being of the team.


It is important to remember that individual members of the team may be at a different stage than the team as a whole. As a leader, this is where having a strong understanding of the craft is vital because you need to be able to switch your style back and forth. Another important thing to remember is that each stage is necessary to succeeding. You cannot skip any of the stages. In fact, skipping a stage (even Storming) can prove to have a negative effect on the team’s performance. The group has to go through the process step by step. In addition, if a major change happens or an obstacle arises, the team may have to go back to a previous stage and that’s OK.

Situational Leadership and Group Development are wonderful models to use even when reflecting on our own lives. Group Development is a great reminder of the importance of engaging in the process. The process of achieving personal goals is not always easy. There are times when we fight with ourselves (Storming phase) or need that extra support. We can use these models as a lens to help us define what we need and when we need it. Being able to do that is this definition of self empowerment.


Do you want to go further in your self-exploration? I would love to guide and support you through your process! Email me at to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.


“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.
— John Maxwell

This week I had the pleasure of leading a workshop for teachers, administrators, and coaches of NYC private schools. The focus of the day was on “Cultivating Leadership In and Out of the Classroom.” In addition to providing the participants with the various mental training tools I have already discussed throughout this blog, I also shared a wonderful model from Sport Psychology called Situational Leadership.

Being a strong and good leader is not an easy task. Ultimately, a leader wants to elicit high productivity from their followers. Situational Leadership is a model developed by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey with the purpose of helping people in leadership roles to be more efficient and effective in their daily interactions with others. Different than a theory, a model is developed through “concepts, procedures, actions, and outcomes [that] are based on methodologies that are practical and easy to apply.” **

The model consists of four different leadership styles (S1, S2, S3, S4) that are to be used in relationship with the “readiness” levels (R1, R2, R3, R4) of the followers. Readiness is determined by the ability the follower has to complete a skill/task and the willingness of the follower. Below is a simple breakdown of the follower’s readiness level and the appropriate leadership style to use.

R 1 – follower is unable to execute the skill/task and is unwilling or insecure. Leader should use an S 1 style: Directing. In Directing, the leader is providing clear and specific instructions to the follow (what, when, how, where, why) and then closely supervising their performance. The communication is very one-way coming straight from leader to follow. Key words for this style are telling, guiding, and establishing.  

R 2 – follower is still unable to execute the skill/task completely, but is more willing and open. Leader should use an S 2 style: Coaching. In Coaching, the leader is continuing to explain and providing opportunity for clarification, but is also starting to bring in more two-way communication between the follower. Key words for this style are selling, explaining, and persuading.

R 3 – follower is able to execute the skill/task, but is unwilling or insecure. This stage happens usually when people begin to have self doubts about their ability or are not motivated because they aren’t being challenged enough. Leader should use an S 3 style: Supporting. In Supporting, the leader is encouraging the sharing of ideas and is there to help facilitate decision making, but is not making the decisions. Two-way communication is strong. The leader is the cheerleader to the follower helping them to believe in their ability. Key words for this style are participating, encouraging, committing, and collaborating.

R 4  - follower is able to execute the skill/task and is willing/secure. Leader should us an S 4 style: Delegating. In Delegating, the leader is turning over responsibility to the follower for decision making and implementation. The leader should still have a presence, but is implementing low directive and low supportive behavior because the trust and confidence have already been built with the follower. Key words for this style are observing, fulfilling, and monitoring.


Situational Leadership is a great model to use in all areas of our lives (personal relationships, reflecting on ourselves, parent/child relationships, etc.) as well as in a variety of professional fields (coaching, education, business/management, etc.). By using these different leadership styles correctly, a leader will be able to not only elicit the highest productivity from their followers, but also empower their followers.

** Hersey, Paul, Blanchard, Kenneth, and Johnson, Dewey. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources. Prentice Hall Business Publishing: April 1996.


Would you like to become a stronger, more effective leader? I would love to guide and support you in unleashing the leader inside you! Email me at to set up your FREE 30 min discovery call and to hear more about packages.

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