Situational leadership (SL) remains highly popular among practitioners, despite considerable academic criticism, lack of theoretical debate, and relatively little published research into SL. We interviewed practicing managers trained in SL about their experiences in applying the model. SL appealed to the managers because of its intuitive simplicity, ease of use, and perceived relevance to managerial roles. SL can be applied consciously (with deliberation) or automatically. Contrary to expectations, practitioners did not report difficulty in assessing follower developmental levels. While respondents were aware that they needed to use all four SL styles in managing their people, consistent with previous research, these Australian managers preferred using supportive styles, and some went to considerable lengths to avoid being directive. The intercultural applicability of SL is questioned, and directions for further research into some of the hypotheses generated by this study are proposed.
- Management styles