29 Apr

It’s no secret that great leaders are essential for organizational success. If you’re interviewing for jobs, you can expect to be asked about your leadership style. Most candidates will lead with, “I’m not a micromanager.” But as you’ll see below, micromanagement is not a stand-alone form of leadership. Instead, it’s an outcome of potentially using the wrong style in the wrong situation or for too long. Most candidates believe interviewers want to hear that they are a Servant Leader. Servant leadership has become a popular style choice, but is it effective? Spoiler Alert: at Deep End Talent Strategies, we want to hear that you are a Situational Leader. 

What is Servant Leadership?  

Servant leadership is based on giving and serving for the benefit of the group. A servant leader is the opposite of a traditional leader. Traditional leaders are supported by their teams to meet organizational goals. Servant leaders achieve organizational goals by prioritizing their team members and supporting them over their personal objectives. The idea is that the more time you spend growing and developing your team members, the greater the team will be in terms of productivity, skills, and abilities. 

Challenges of Servant Leadership  

Servant leadership is seen as mutually beneficial, making it a popular style of choice. However, not all teams or individuals will respond positively to Servant leadership. For example, some employees may feel belittled or lack confidence if their boss continuously tells them how to perform their duties. That is how many employees would describe micromanagement. The reality is that it’s neither effective nor practical to have a “one size fits all” approach to management, as the servant leadership style endorses. 

Situational Leadership 

Situational leaders recognize that common pitfall in approaches to people management. Situational leadership is an adaptive style that encourages leaders to analyze situations and choose the leadership style that will best fit their goals in that circumstance. Situational leaders are flexible and can switch between leadership styles to align with the evolving needs of an organization and its employees. 

Style Switching 

A key aspect of situational leadership is knowing which leadership style to use and when to use it. We will discuss six different situational leadership styles and how you can utilize them to be an effective leader. 

  • Coaching style: focuses on an employee’s personal development and job skills. The coaching style is very effective with people who are aware of their limitations and are open to change.
  • Pacesetting style: focuses on setting high standards and expectations for employees’ performance through leading by example. The Pacesetting style is very effective with ambitious self-starters.
  • Democratic style: focuses on involving employees in decision-making. The Democratic style effectively builds flexibility and responsibility within a group.
  •  Affiliative style: focuses on giving praise and putting the employees’ needs first to boost morale. The Affiliative style is very effective in building a team’s confidence.
  • Authoritative style: focuses on analyzing situations and implementing changes. The Authoritative style is very effective when used with a group lacking focus or direction.
  • Coercive style: focuses on using a clear vision or goals to direct employees. The Coercive style is very effective when used in serious situations or crises.


A Servant leadership style can be highly effective, but with the right individuals and circumstances. It isn’t the universal answer to what every individual or organization needs for success. Situational leaders recognize this and can switch styles to best-fit goals and circumstances. So please, tell me you’re a situational leader!