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Situational Leadership II ®: A Leadership Development Model Used by Millions

  Sarah Scala and Ken Blanchard, Founder of Situational Leadership II

Sarah Scala and Ken Blanchard, Founder of Situational Leadership II

Sarah A Scala, M. Ed & OD,  ACC
Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Situational Leadership II® (SLII®) is the "most widely taught leadership model in the world. SLII creates a shared process, language, and model for building leadership across all levels of an organization." - Ken Blanchard Companies. SLII is a proven, time-tested model that has been used to train over 5 million leaders in the world’s top organizations.

The SLII Model and Assessment works well for leaders because it starts with data through an assessment that defines a leader's preferred leadership Style (Leadership Behavioral Analysis II). The 4 leadership styles include Directing, Coaching, Supporting, and Delegating.  Although leaders tent to have their preferred Leadership Style, it is important to be good at all 4 styles to support direct reports through all stages of learning and skill mastery.

Depending on the development level of the direct report, leaders will choose the best leadership style for building an employees specific skill.  When diagnosing an employees level of skill, it is important to remember that a person doesn’t have a one level of competence, but instead may be at a higher skill level for practiced skills and at a lower level for those skills that are new. Employees will have multiple levels, each for a different skill or behavior area.    

Skill Level 1: Employees who are new to a particular task or skill and have high energy about it, are at a Skill Level 1 (low competence, high commitment). This person needs a lot of direction, and not a lot of emotional support from their leader, as they have a positive attitude. The leader uses a style of Directing at this stage.  

Skill Level 2: After gaining some skill and practice, it is common for employees to become frustrated when they realize a task is more complex or difficult. When this happens, they move to Skill Level 2 (low to some competence, low commitment). The leader needs to continue to provide direction and teaching of the skill, and also needs to support them emotionally through Coaching.  

Skill Level 3: Once the employee gains competence in the skill or task, they move to Level 3 (high competence, variable commitment). At this level, the leader can ask instead of teach, and the employee may still lack confidence in their ability to complete the task on their own. At this stage, the leader should use a Supporting style to assist the employee.  

Skill Level 4: When the employee has mastered the task or skill and is confident in their ability to use it, they move to a Level 4 (high competence, high commitment). At this point the leader can Delegate the task.

It is important to remember that regardless of the level that the employee is at with a particular task or skill, the leader should always set clear expectations and provide feedback.

How has Situational Leadership II had a positive impact for your leaders? Please share in the comments. If you have specific questions, ask me. I'm happy to help.

Situational Leadership II is successful because it’s something every manager should already be doing in order to get the most out of their reports. It teaches a manager to be a leader not a robot. I can’t think there could be anyone better to teach it to your team than Sarah!

— SALES DIRECTOR, KING ARTHUR FLOUR



I have taken a handful of other leadership development courses and this is, by far, the best. The Situational Leadership II model that is taught is easy to understand and follow. Its intuitive and promotes a partnership between the leader and the employee.

— SENIOR LEADER, ADIMAB, LLC

Learn more about how we support Leadership Development for our clients with Situational Leadership II.

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Questions? Let’s connect. I would love to hear your success stories. Please send them to: hello@sarahscala.com or visit www.sarahscala.com

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