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Management and leadership are two very different things: managers oversee tasks – leaders strive to guide and inspire through innovative thinking, creative problem-solving, and a collaborative approach. In the war for talent, skilled employees are more critical than ever for business success. Is your company promoting the right leadership culture to attract and hang on to key personnel?

Let’s come back to that question in a minute.

The Evolution of Situational Leadership

Motivated employees are among a company’s greatest assets. And while the best business leaders are often those credited with a gift for making the most of their staff’s professional abilities, it usually begs the question:

Is this gift innate, or can it be learned?

Some experts, like Professor Emmanuel Josserand of the University of Technology Sydney, subscribe to the belief that it may be a combination of both – with a little extra something thrown in. More specifically, they propose that business leaders with different sets of competencies perform best in different settings. But the real key to better business leadership it would seem, is adaptability.

As the cultural meeting point of:

·        innate talent,

·        learned skills, and

·        adaptive techniques,

the evolving definition of today’s effective leader stems from an ability to alter behaviours to suit a specific professional context. And this form of “situational leadership” is fast becoming a sought-after quality for encouraging sustainability and resilience within the corporate arena.

Sound familiar? In my recent article on Coping with Digital Transformation in the Workplace, we explored the vital role that the willingness to adapt plays in our future professional success – both as employees and employers.

Outside-the-box thinking and creativity hinges on, among other things, a capacity to recognise the bigger picture. And big-picture thinking relies, in turn, on thoroughly understanding ourselves, and the assets we bring to developing others under various circumstances.

The Self-Reflective Leader

A self-reflective leadership style is:

·        supportive,

·        well-distributed, and

·        demonstrates respect for others

It’s also progressively what the most talented employees are looking for in a desirable workplace environment.

According to HC Online, the State of Hiring in Australia 2015 report confirmed that 70% of workers view “work life balance” as the most important factor when considering a new position. At the same time, three in four Australian employees are “open to being approached about a new job opportunity.”


If your company isn’t promoting the right leadership culture to attract and hang on to key personnel, chances are some other company out there is.

The positive outcomes attached to self-leadership are achievable by any business. All it takes is a willingness to promote leaders as mentors, who cultivate leadership in others, rather than as managers who strive to breed followers.

What do you think?

When it comes to “nature vs. nurture”, are great leaders born or made?


Nitha Coetzer

Director, Synergy Placements