Over the last few decades, people in the field of management have been involved in a search for a “best” style of leadership. Yet, the evidence from research clearly indicates that there is no single all-purpose leadership style. Successful leaders are those who can adapt their behavior to meet the demands of their own unique situation. The choice of a leadership style has intrigued both academicians and practitioners.
Situational Leadership requires incredible judgment based on task knowledge and human assessment. It is the responsibility of the leader to use his or her skill to assess what type of leadership technique to use.
Situational leadership is a management style developed by noted management gurus Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. The fundamental precept of situational leadership is that there is no one "best" style of leadership, and that the most successful leaders are the ones who can adapt their style to a given situation. Situational leadership consists of four general styles of management.
A leadership model that links the effectiveness of a leader's style to the current work environment is referred to as situational leadership. Situational Leadership focuses on the appropriateness or readiness of the follower. The leaders' perception of the follower and the situation will affect what they do rather than the truth of the situation. The leader's perception of themselves and other factors such as stress and mood will also modify the leaders' behavior.
The two basic leadership behaviors are directive and supportive. Directive leadership allows the one in authority to make decisions and demands on those he is leading. Supportive leadership gives tools from the leader to the followers to allow them to be involved in the decision making process. Blanchard derived four situational leadership styles, which were based on these two basic kinds of leadership behaviors, directive and supportive:
Directing: provides specific instructions and closely monitors progress; works best when followers are inexperienced.
Coaching: With the selling and coaching style of leadership, the leader is still very involved in the day-to-day activities. The decisions still ultimately lie with the leader; however, input is requested from the employees before the decision is implemented.
Supporting: provides direction and works together with followers to solve problems; works best when followers are not yet comfortable making decisions.
Delegating: turns over responsibility for making decisions to followers; works best when followers are experienced and comfortable making decisions.
Schermerhorn, John . "Situation Leadership." Mid-American Journal of Business 12 (1997): 5-12.
Butler, John K., Jr. and Richard M. Reese. “Leadership Style and Sales Performance: A Test of the Situational Leadership® Model.” The Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management Vol. 11, No. 3 (Summer, 1991), pp. 37-46
 Schermerhorn, John . "Situation Leadership." Mid-American Journal of Business 12 (1997): 5-12.
Vital Ministry Issues, edited by Roy Zuck, is the first of four in the “Vital Issues” series. The series also contains book about Contemporary issues, Biblical issues, and Theological issues. Zuck’s work has been very useful to those in the ministry. This author has some familiarity with the “Vital Issues” series, and has found them all to be very practical. Zuck, senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary and editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, went to be with the Lord on the evening of Saturday, March 16, 2013. The world of ministry is much better and more prepared because of his writings.
This particular work of Zuck is relatively short, less than 250 pages. What it lacks in brevity, it makes up for in width. The book is divided into twenty different chapters. Each chapter covers a completely different subject. Subjects range from leadership, to preaching, to church discipline. Almost every chapter brings a different perspective because they each have different authors. Each one of these authors brings their own unique perspective. Based you one’s view, this either brings added value to this work as a whole, or makes it divisive and disjointed. This author felt a common theme that ran through the work as a whole.
Many of the writings contained in the book came from Bibliotheca Sacra. For over 165 years Bibliotheca Sacra’s studies in theology, Bible exposition, ministry, and current issues have provided an invaluable resource for serious Bible students. The simple fact that the journal has existed for so many years gives credence to each author in many minds.
While most every chapter contained practical and interesting information, this author found two sections to be of special interest. One was a chapter devoted to the role of women in ministry. The chapter was basically an exegetical study of 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The chapter spends several pages going through, verse by verse. The depth is profitable, even doing some word studies on the more difficult parts of the passage. This author would also agree with the conclusion of complementarianism instead of egalitarianism.
The other section that this author found interesting had to do with church discipline. Many today have little to no knowledge of the what, why, or how church discipline should work, and these chapters attempt to give instruction there. Three chapters deal extensively with the issue and really provide a lot of valuable information. Many details are looked at closely, one of which being the legal implications of church discipline. This is a very valuable section on a topic that is not always discussed.
The chapter notes at the end of this book are also a very valuable tool. There are many notes on each chapter. These not only show citations, but would allow the reader to investigate further any of the particular issues that they might need to look at.
While the book does not have the time to go exceedingly deep into any particular subject, these pages do serve a great purpose by giving a bit of information on a myriad of various topics. This book would be a great place for a minister to begin research on very practical issues that they might face while working in the ministry.
From Chris Surber...
Some sermons are broad enough for any congregation at any time and any place. I could preach from Joshua 3 about having enough faith to be a crossover people to any congregation on any Sunday anywhere in the world. We always need faith to go from one season to the next.
But I preached it as a visiting pastor in a congregation that had endured a church split only months before, and it was both spiritually impactful and immediately relevant. It was the right word at the right time to the right people.
Not every sermon is going to be able to be perfectly timed or seamlessly timely. This is especially true for pastors of local churches. We have to preach at least weekly. We don’t have the luxury of waiting for just the right words before we speak. But intentionality in this area will make us more accurate.
Here are four principles that can help aim our speaking to our people specifically.
1. Know your people. This isn’t going to be the same for the pastor of the rural Baptist church as it is for the pastor of the nondenominational megachurch.
Pastor Joe-Bob knows everybody in town a little and knows everybody in his church very well. He spends lots of time at pig-pickins, birthday parties and tossing horseshoes with many—if not most—of his congregation. When many in his congregation are going through troubled times, he knows it intimately.
Pastor Coolshoes at the local megachurch, on the other hand, couldn’t possibly spend the amount of time getting to know every member of his church the way Joe-Bob does. And he shouldn’t be expected to! Large church pastors I know maintain schedules that make me glad not to be one. Their staff assists with cultivating intimacy in the church through small groups, fellowship events and implementing worship environments that cultivate connectedness.
In many ways, the megachurch pastor's task in this area is harder, but it’s hardly impossible. He needs to listen to his leadership team keeping him abreast of trends in the congregation. He needs to listen to those members of the church he does know well to keep his finger on the pulse of the congregation’s needs and concerns that he can address in sermons.
The rural pastor knows his congregation’s hurts and trials intimately. The megachurch pastor has to know them innately. Most of us live somewhere in between.
2. Know your setting. Sermon content should always be biblical, and there should be a great degree of overlap from the city to the country and from the farming community to the business district. However, the way we present the content ought to be specific to the people to whom we are speaking.
When I was the pastor of a country church on the edge of a swamp, I used more swamp metaphors. When I served a church in Florida, I was more likely to mention my incredible phobia of sharks. If I preach a sermon in a city church and utilize a farming metaphor to help make my biblical point, it may make sense and be helpful and may even be memorable to a few people.
But if I use a farming metaphor in a church full of farmers, my metaphor will plow the fields of their faith all week long as they plow the fields and remember the metaphor. Context is always essential in every way.
3. Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. I prepared a sermon recently to be preached in the rural church where I serve as pastor on Memorial Day. I prepared it nearly a full week in advance. While I liked the sermon and felt like it was honest to the text of Scripture and potentially relevant for an audience of Christians, I had a nagging feeling in my spirit all week that it was not the right the sermon to preach. Learn to cultivate sensitivity to the Holy Spirit about preaching.
4. Be willing to follow His leading. When Sunday rolled around, I tore up the sermon notes an hour before the service was to begin, went into my study to pray and felt utterly drawn to preach a sermon from years before.
As the service progressed from opening worship to prayer time, I was quickly reminded that more than half of one elderly Sunday School class was in the hospital that week, that one couple had lost a mother and a father that month, that two new moms were struggling just to retain sanity in their changing life circumstances, and many more trials were present in our fellowship.
Instead of the rather hard sermon I had prepared about the need for repentance in our nation, I delivered a sermon full of encouragement about God’s love and strength and provision for believers in times of hardship. It was much closer to the bull’s-eye of what those people needed on that day in that place.
Pastor, preacher, teacher, when I come into the meeting house, I come to hear from the Lord, I’m glad when the message is a good one in general, but I’m helped, uplifted, challenged and changed when the message is clearly from God and it’s for me in my setting in my circumstances today.
Billy Crow, Christ follower, husband of Meggin, daddy of Hannah and Eli. Blessed beyond measure in every way.