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Situational Leadership

What exactly is situational leadership?  Essentially situational leadership is when a person finds herself or himself in a situation where by using their personal skills are able to lead others in an action.  There are countless biographies of people who have become famous through their leadership at a particular time and place often resulting in a highly positive outcome.  Basically, being in the right place at the right time.  This may be a corporate executive who has turned around a failing company [eg: Lee Iacocca at Chrysler], a military hero who leads men and women to victory in a life or death struggle, or perhaps another situation where one’s leadership proved to achieve a desirable outcome.

Perhaps there is no greater example of situational leadership in recent times than the heroic efforts of Captain Chester “Sully” Sullenberger of US Airways Flight 1549.   But unless you plan to land a fully loaded commercial airliner in the Hudson River then you will not “duplicate” his incredible leadership and heroics.  Captain Sullenberger demonstrated virtually every characteristic of leadership that exists – an amazing, true-life story.

One must remember that in reading about such significant events where someone “steps up to the plate” and demonstrates significant leadership that these are situational in nature.  It illustrates how many people do not realize themselves what they are actually capable of doing simply because they have not been in such a circumstance.  Their fundamental understanding of the key characteristics in leadership [responsibility, integrity, honesty] along with judgment, decisiveness, and their training, allows them to lead and achieve a positive, desired outcome.  When examining such leaders it is not realistic to believe you will accomplish exactly the same thing but it is important to understand the behaviors they demonstrated that resulted in their success.  Be yourself but look for opportunities to demonstrate leadership where it is called for.

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