Why Kind of Leader Are You?

Jen Coken
6 min readFeb 3, 2023

You can’t be everything to everyone-after all; you aren’t a Swiss Army Knife. And if you were, well, that would be weird.

Seriously though, think about how you interact differently with your parents versus your friends, Rabbi, co-workers, or boss. Not only do you have different relationships with each person, but the setting or circumstance also requires a change in behavior, action, tone, etc.

Let’s face it. How you represent yourself at a board meeting differs from how you handle yourself at a Happy Hour. (Duh!) Every situation requires something different from you, which influences how you operate and what you say, and thus, how others will respond. Imagine the cluster your relationships would be if you never adapted to the people you were with and the situations you were in.

This is why effective situational leadership is so critical to the success of your team. An effective and impactful leader must be able to “dance” with different situations.


By adapting to a situation’s specific needs, leaders can be more effective in achieving their goals and motivating their teams. For example, a new employee likely needs more direction and guidance, but as they gain more experience, they’ll need less supervision and more autonomy. Successful situational leaders adjust their leadership style to match the situation, resulting in improved communication, motivation, and productivity.

There are four types of situational leaders: Delegator, Director, Coach, and Visionary. The question is when to use each type and in which situation.


The delegating style best serves a team working on a well-established project or a team that is already high-performing. In both instances, the team or the project needs less involvement from the leader. Delegating empowers the team to be more independent, find creative solutions, own their role, and be responsible for seeing things through to completion. The delegating leader is still present and available but offers support and guidance, not looking right over the team’s shoulders as they work.

Thinking about the delegating leader is how I interact with Kevin, my cat.