Throughout my internship, I observed a variety of situational leadership theories be applied effectively. Situational leadership can be described as a leader and or individual who assesses the situation at hand and applies the most effective form of leadership to complete the given task. One aspect which I observed when applying this leadership theory to my work environment was individuals’ responses to conflict. I observed how the department adapted to remote work and virtual interns, as well as other conflicts that arose along the way.
My direct manager, who organized the intern program, had to adjust his plans for the summer due to a variety of conflicts. He had to account for Corona, which made our experience virtual thus forcing him to change his leadership style for the situation at hand. He exemplified situational leadership because he changed his leadership style to accommodate the limitations that this summer presented. An example of his situational leadership could be seen on a day to day basis. Each day we had introductory calls with members of the Secretary’s office so that we could better understand the department. He would join these calls with us. During the first few calls, he spoke a lot and helped us ease into the awkwardness of meeting people over video chat. However, as the summer progressed and we became more comfortable with meeting people over Skype he spoke less and trusted us to lead the conversations. He adjusted his leadership style for the situation after observing how we as interns were learning.
Another example of situational leadership I observed was when working on a 5 week-long project. This project was rather tedious and time-consuming. The interns working on this project would meet with our supervisor once a week to discuss our progress. Halfway through this project, the supervisor saw how our progress had slowed down and began to think of different ways to help us. The project was research-based and he was hoping to eliminate one of the steps by introducing search bots into the process. However, after discussion with us interns he decided this would be ineffective. There was a bit of conflict which lead to this decision because some interns thought it would be helpful, while others did not. He assessed the situation and determined not to proceed with the search bots because he saw the cons to using them, as presented by the interns. His leadership style exemplified situational leadership because he saw conflict within the project and adjusted his leadership style to accommodate for his followers.
I found it very interesting to follow the situational leadership in the office this summer as it was new for everyone in the office to be working remotely. As they faced challenges I enjoyed observing how they overcame them and adjusted their leadership styles.