Situational Leadership II – Diagnosis


Situational Leadership is based on a relationship between the individual’s level of competence and commitment (development level) on a specific goal or task and the amount of direction and support (leadership style) the leader provides.

The three skills that need to be developed to apply situational leadership are the following:

  • Diagnosis – Assessing an individual’s need for direction and support (development level)
  • Flexibility – Using a variety of leadership styles comfortably
  • Partnering for Performance – Reaching agreements with people about their development level and the leadership style needed to help them achieve individual and organization goals

Today, I will be writing today about how to first of three skills: Assess the Development Level of an Individual.   I will have two additional entries to describe the other two skills Flexibility and Partnering for Performance.

Assessing Development Level of an Individual

The first step to utilize Situational Leadership is to perform an assessment of the development level of the person that you are leading.   The assessment is a skill that needs to be developed and understood.  There are two elements that need to be measured when assessing an individual: Competence and Commitment.   Once you understand these two elements you can assess the individual’s development level.   The following are questions that you can use:

  • Competence
    • Do They Already Have The Skill or Knowledge?
    • Do They Have a Transferrable Skill or Knowledge?
  • Commitment
    • Are They Motivated?
    • Are They Confident?

Once we have an understanding of the Competence and Commitment level of an individual we can then assess their development level.  Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey identified that the leader must have an awareness of the development level of the person they are trying to lead.  You can match the two elements competence and commitment to one of the four development levels. 

The four levels of development are the following:

  • D1 – Enthusiastic Beginner (Low Competence, High Commitment)
  • D2 – Disillusioned Learner (Low to Some Competence, High Commitment)
  • D3 – Capable but Cautious Performer (Moderate to High Competence, Variable Commitment)
  • D4 – Self-reliant Achiever (High Competence, High Commitment)

The following diagram depicts from right to left (direction of Red arrow) the levels of development:


I hope that this blog entry will provide you with the first skill needed to apply Situational Leadership.  I will be writing an additional two entries to describe the other two skills Flexibility and Partnering for Performance that you will need to utilize Situational Leadership.

Similar Posts