A Leadership Podcast that's Fun
July 19, 2022

Situational Leadership: What is it and How do I Apply it?

Situational Leadership is an easy concept to understand.  It's about adapting your style to meet the needs of the situation, and more importantly the people. 

But if it's so easy, then why do so many College Football coaches struggle to adapt to the NFL?  And why do so many first time leaders struggle to adapt from peer to manager?  Because there's a big difference between knowing, and doing

Nate begins by defining situational leadership for you in a personalize way -- by asking you to look internally at your own preferred style, and then challenging you to think about how difficult it would be to flex out of it.  From there, he illustrates how Urban Meyer struggled to do just this, and how a comment in his introductory press conference might have tipped us off.

Later in the episode, Nate examines Steve Nash's transition from player right into Head Coach, and compares that to the transition from a peer to leader.  He then drops his 3 best tips for successfully transitioning into a leadership role, before leaving you with the episode challenge.

Tune in to hear more and learn how to become a situational leader.

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[00:00:00] Nate Prosser: Have you ever wondered why some coaches can make the transition from college to the pros and some really can't? Or maybe how some ex players become great coaches or great executives and some struggle when they leave the floor or the field? How about in business, how some employees successfully transition from a peer to a leader?

[00:00:29] Nate Prosser: And others just almost fall apart in that moment. Well, in this episode of Leadership Chalk Talk, we're gonna break down the importance of situational leadership. This is a leader's ability to adapt and to adjust their style, to meet the needs of the situation and the needs of their players or their employees.

[00:00:47] Nate Prosser: I'm your host and leadership coach, Nate Prosser. If you have questions about today's episode or a previous lesson, feel free to email. That email is Nate@leadershipchalktalk.com. Special thanks to fan of the show, Nicole Brown for suggesting today's topic of transitioning from peer to leader. If you have a request for a future episode, or you just wanna share your progress along this leadership journey, and you know what you're working on, I'd definitely love to hear from you.

[00:01:15] Nate Prosser: So send us your story and we'll feature in an upcoming show or can give you some pointers or advice. Really we're, we're all in this together to be better leaders for ourselves and to model those actions for others. As always during today's show, we'll adhere to our three ground rules. One, learn don't burn. Two actions, not Jacksons, and three, attitude of gratitude.

[00:01:37] Nate Prosser: In our first segment, we're gonna start out by challenging you with a few examples of situational leadership, just to kind of get you thinking. We'll do a deep dive on Urban Meyer and his coaching tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Definitely gonna force us, force our hand to adhere to ground rule number one for that.

[00:01:55] Nate Prosser: Uh, and then we'll run through some of some other more recent college to NFL head coaching transitions, and we'll try to pull out a pretty consistent theme that we see when we look at some of those successes and, uh, and not so much successful transitions. Then in segment, number two, we're gonna look at a very specific situation of going from peer to manager for the first time.

[00:02:17] Nate Prosser: And we'll give you a few tips and tricks for making that transition and making that successful. So if we have any first time managers out there that are leading their old team, uh, or you're coaching someone that's in that situation, you definitely don't wanna miss this part. 

[00:02:31] Nate Prosser: ALl right, good stuff. So let's dive into our first segment and I'm gonna start you off with a, a few questions to get you thinking.

[00:02:37] Nate Prosser: So the first question I want you to think about, um, you're in a leadership position, and I wanna ask you how hands on do you like to be? So in other words, do you like to control things and kind of have them a certain way? Or are you more removed and, you know, you basically let your team, or the individuals make the decisions.

[00:02:55] Nate Prosser: Do you direct people or do you use more of a kind of questioning coaching approach? And when I'm saying leadership here, that could, that could really mean anything that applies to you. So you could be leading a team, leading a project, you know, even leading your kids as a parent or planning a party or a family vacation in any of those situations where you're the leader. How hands on do you like to be? 

[00:03:17] Nate Prosser: Second question. Do you choose your involvement based on your own personal preference or based on the needs of the situation -- the people? This is really the question at the heart of situational leadership and, and really in a lot of ways, servant leadership too. It's, it's both the ability and the comfortability to adapt your style, not based on what you want and what you like and your preference, but based on the situation and what the people need the most out of you.

[00:03:49] Nate Prosser: Let me give you a couple examples to, to bring this to life and, and play it out a little bit. Example number one, let's say you like to be very hands on. You like to know you, you like to know what's going on and, and tend to like things a very certain way. In plain talk, uh, people might call you a control freak, and I guess, depending on if you're a scrub at receiving feedback, when you listen to episode four, either they say this to your face or behind your back, but let's, let's just put it out there that you you're imagine that you're a control freak and your kids happen to be at an age where they really not need to start becoming more independent.

[00:04:29] Nate Prosser: They go, they go and get themselves dressed. They put on some clothes and you don't approve of what they want. So you're trying to give them a little leeway, trying to help them be more independent, but you don't really like the result. So maybe the clothes don't match. Maybe they're a little bit, you know, too, too warm or too cold for the weather, whatever it is, you, you just aren't feeling it.

[00:04:48] Nate Prosser: Your natural preference here would be to go get a new outfit and to make them change and maybe to change them yourselves. Again, you're kind of a control freak. You want to control the situation, but, but the situation here actually calls for you to be more of a coach, less controlling, less directive, more of a guide that leadership style would require you to, to give your kids more context, to ask them questions of why they chose what they chose.

[00:05:15] Nate Prosser: And hopefully you lead them to actually changing their clothes on their own. Instead of getting the clothes, giving it to them and making them do it. This is gonna take more time. It might not always work, but it might teach them how to be more autonomous in the future. The point here is that, are you choosing your leadership style based on what the situation calls for, or just based on your own personal preference?

[00:05:40] Nate Prosser: All right. Let's look at example, number two, let's say you're a senior leader in an organization and you have, you have, what I would say is a pretty strong team around you. You tend to be fairly hands off, right. And you empower your team, you let them run things. Uh, and if they need anything, they know that they can come to you and ask questions or whatever.

[00:05:58] Nate Prosser: You're, you're very accessible. But let's now add in that you just hired someone new to the team from outside of the company. You think this person, you love the hire. You think this person is gonna be terrific, but they're used to working in a, maybe a different industry and they have a lot to learn, right?

[00:06:14] Nate Prosser: They have a pretty steep learning curve to come up. So most people on your team have been working for the company for a long time. They kind of know the unspoken secrets. They know the norms of the culture. They know the history of the organization, um, and your, your preference is to be hands off and kind of let them do their thing.

[00:06:32] Nate Prosser: But this new person that you hired, that's coming from a different industry. Doesn't have all that history with the company is probably gonna require you to get more caught up in the details. Um, you know, be a little bit more in the weeds, uh, so that you can guide them and direct them a little more than you would usually.

[00:06:47] Nate Prosser: So question here is, would you adjust your style to be a more directive leader because that's what the employee, the new employee and the situation need, or would you stay in your preferred style of like, ah, that person's fine. They'll reach out if they need anything. 

[00:07:02] Nate Prosser: All right. Let's move on to example number three, and I'm sure you guessed it at this point is time for a sports scenario. So let's say you are a college football coach and you are used to having a lot of power and being able to control your, um, let's say, you know, in some regard control your players, maybe even kind of control the fan base off of your authority and you're able to run the team from a position of power.

[00:07:28] Nate Prosser: However, when you go from college coach and you move to the NFL, the situation requires a new type of leadership. Requires you to build trust, to be a little bit more relatable, to flex to the situation, um, to be, to be kind of more adaptable and meet the needs of professionals as opposed to college kids.

[00:07:46] Nate Prosser: So. Do you flex to this situation? Or do you rely on, Hey, what got me here - I've been really successful. I can apply the same thing to a different context. Right? Do you keep with your preferred style operating or do you adapt your leadership style in the moment? Well during Urban Meyer's, uh, introductory press conference, uh, when he was first hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he was actually asked a question kind of along these same lines of what do you have to change?

[00:08:14] Nate Prosser: What do you need to do? And in hindsight, his answer is very interesting. So let's take a listen to, again, Urban Meyers, introductory press conference, uh, when he was first hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

[00:08:28] Reporter: Thank you. We're gonna go over to Mike Duraco with ESPN. Uh, welcome back Urban, as Mark said, um, how do you think you're gonna have to change your approach if any way from the way that you coached at Ohio state, Florida, to dealing with professional athletes at this point? Or is there any way that you will?

[00:08:48] Urban Meyer: Mike, you got the same issue I did. You got a little gray there 

[00:08:51] Reporter: I know

[00:08:53] Urban Meyer: How's that happened 

[00:08:55] Reporter: once you were only, only been gone. One or two years. So I think it, it, who knows what happened? I don't know. 

[00:09:02] Urban Meyer: Well at Florida, you know, from Florida to Ohio state, I changed dramatically.

[00:09:06] Urban Meyer: You know, like a lot of former players, you know, from Bowling Green to Utah. I mean the, the times are changing college. College Football's different. MIke, you know that, I mean, it's the days of, uh, coaching the way you did back when I was a Bowling Green, when I was an assistant coach, I mean the whole country's changed.

[00:09:21] Urban Meyer: Everything's changed. And so you have to adapt and those who adapt to have success, those who don't, fail. And, um, certainly have my failures along the journey, but for the most part, you know, um, I, I, I can't wait. That's the part of the game that I love is to be able to adapt to the NFL player and we've had no shortage of them, uh, the last 12 years or wherever it's been.

[00:09:43] Urban Meyer: Um, but it is, you're talking about grown, grown men. You're talking about, this is a business you have a job to do. And, uh, I always looked at the college environment. As an opportunity to, you know, not that we're not gonna do it in the NFL, but you're dealing with 17, 18, 19 year olds that are leaving home for the first time.

[00:10:01] Urban Meyer: And you're also dealing with an academic environment. So just a much different environment, however, between white lines. Um, I don't see a lot of difference. You know, I've studied the NFL game now for really years, but really studied it for the first time in my life for the last six months. 

[00:10:19] Reporter: What, if anything, do you think would be maybe the most interesting or toughest part of the transition for you that you're looking forward to at least tackling at some point? 

[00:10:28] Urban Meyer: Um, winning. 

[00:10:31] Nate Prosser: What I think is interesting here is at first, he, he really says the right thing. If you will, he says that football coaches need to adapt. He, uh, he references how he's adapted throughout his career from, you know, the time he was at Bowling Green, when he was an assistant, he mentions how the game has changed, how really the whole country has changed.

[00:10:53] Nate Prosser: And he starts to talk about how in college, they're essentially helping, you know, players to be men, but in the NFL they already are. And, you know, he says, this is a business and you have a job to do. I think that's interesting too. Uh, but to me, the really, the most fascinating part of it is when the reporter at the end asked the drill down kind of probing question of what will be the toughest part of the transition for you.

[00:11:16] Nate Prosser: He says, "winning." And I think again, now I'm looking back, uh, maybe hindsight's 20-20, but in reality, I, I think when he's talking about the game changing and the world changing, he isn't so much actually talking about adapting his leadership style and kind of adapting. He talks about coaches need to adapt, and if they don't, they're not successful, but I think he's talking more about adapting, like his offense, right?

[00:11:40] Nate Prosser: And the strategy of the game. He's not talking so much about situational leadership so much as he's more talking about situational football. And as you may know, Urban Meyer was, uh, had a, a pretty short tenure in with Jacksonville. He was, as some described at the time mercifully fired after a two and 11 start in his first season, it was filled with a bunch of stories of frankly, awful leadership.

[00:12:06] Nate Prosser: So hashtag ground rule number two -- Actions, not Jackson's. So let's talk about those leadership actions, but one of them was the Jags kicker. Josh Lambo actually accused Meyer of kicking him and physically abusing him. In addition to, you know, the words that he said. 

[00:12:22] Nate Prosser: Several players came out, talking about how Meyer berated players and even coaches and sometimes in front of each other. And then of course there was the infamous incident where Meyer didn't fly home from on a ... Meyer didn't fly home on a team playing after a, a tough Thursday night loss in Cincinnati. Uh, and if you didn't know that it's very, very strange for a coach in the NFL, not to fly back on a team plane, it's kind of like a leader deserting his team.

[00:12:50] Nate Prosser: So he, uh, he gave his team a kind of relationship oriented reason why he was staying behind in Ohio. Obviously that's where he used to coach at Ohio state. And he wanted to like catch up with people and such, but he was caught on camera, basically inappropriately dancing with what appeared to be a young woman.

[00:13:07] Nate Prosser: And he then fumbled his way through his apology, which later was proven to have falsities and fabrications in it as kind of more video evidence came out. So all around. Bad look, bad, moves, bad leadership, again, bad leadership actions from Urban Meyer. So I'm not gonna make a comment on the man, but to me, there's again, no denying that his actions were poor leadership.

[00:13:32] Nate Prosser: To keep us on point related to this concept of situational leadership, with all that context, I'm gonna give you a simple quote that I found from one of the talented young receivers on the team. DJ chalk, Jr. He said "He feels like threats are what motivates." I'm gonna read that again. "He feels like threats are what motivates."

[00:13:57] Nate Prosser: So, as I mentioned in the initial tee up of this example, um, I, you know, was playing it out. You're a powerful coach that can lead through power. You're a powerful college coach. And that same style probably isn't gonna work in the NFL. You don't have the authority over players in the same way, and you haven't built up that sort of trust and credibility.

[00:14:17] Nate Prosser: So you need to adjust your style and you need to motivate differently. And motivating through threats and fear is, you know, typically not what works. Uh, for most coaches in the NFL and Urban didn't adjust. He didn't use the, the model of situational leadership he used what was comfortable to him, his preferred style of motivating, uh, through threats.

[00:14:42] Nate Prosser: I now wanna kind of broaden this and add some more context to the idea of adapting your motivational style and kind of your leadership style. So let me run down a couple of recent college to NFL coaches. So I did a little research here. I just wanna give you some, some coaches and their NFL records. So, first I mentioned again, Meyer was two and 11.

[00:15:03] Nate Prosser: That was the worst winning percentage of the few I'm gonna run through. Uh, Bobby Petrino had a really rough time in Atlanta. He was three and 10 before he was fired. Greg Schiano was 10 and 19. Steve Spurrier, the old ball coach 12 and 20. Nick Saban his time with the Dolphins, 15 and 17 Chip Kelly, 26 and 21 cliff Kingsbury 23, 20 and 1. He's still active with Cardinals. 

[00:15:32] Nate Prosser: Jim Harbaugh. Uh, now with Michigan 44 19, and 1. Really successful made it to a super bowl with 49ers and Pete Carroll, a 152-104-1. As I read through that long list, a couple things jump out at me. Uh, first one is Meyer Saban, and Schiano are all pretty well known to run college programs, kind of with a lot of power.

[00:15:56] Nate Prosser: That's similar kind of approach to Urbs where there's an anecdotes that would suggest Saban and shiano, um, in their time in the NFL, didn't really adjust their leadership style all that much, and their records would indicate it didn't go great. Uh, Jim Harbaugh also seems to kind of have that style of, of power, very demanding coach.

[00:16:17] Nate Prosser: Um, but he did extremely well in the NFL. Right? As I mentioned, he almost won the super bowl with the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick, as his, as his quarterback at the time, uh, just fell to the Ravens that year. Joe Flacco went lights out, but, um, interestingly, despite being really successful, his relationships with the front office seemed to really deteriorate.

[00:16:40] Nate Prosser: And that's what led him to leaving the 49ers, going back to college and coaching Michigan. So he might have, uh, adjusted his leadership style or his leadership style might have worked with the players, but maybe not, um, you know, with the rest, with his peers, if you will, with the front office and his, his leaders.

[00:16:58] Nate Prosser: So that's kind of an interesting take on that too. Next one, I wanted to point out chip Kelly kind of famous for his up tempo office and score points above all else, philosophy that he would famously write on the front of his playbook. Um, he initially took the lead by storm. If you remember with Eagles and Michael Vick, but as defenses is kind of caught up. He didn't really adjust his style of play or his approach with his team. And even when he got his second chance with the 49ers, it didn't go great. Uh, 

[00:17:24] Nate Prosser: And then finally, Pete Carroll, who was really famously a players coach and the, the heyday of USC with, uh, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush and, uh, those, those really amazing teams, his style actually translated really well to the NFL, um, that kind of players, players coach kind of style and he won a super bowl with the Seahawks, made it to another one. Um, kind of similar to a little bit of the Jimmy Johnson of, you know, back in the nineties, the, the Dynasty with the Triplets of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

[00:17:58] Nate Prosser: Uh, and then, you know, maybe to a lesser extent, Barry Switzer too, who, you know, rode those coattails, but that style seemed to kind of garner success in the NFL. I guess the question is, did they actually adjust their style or did they already have a preferred style in college that transported to the NFL?

[00:18:16] Nate Prosser: Um, I guess, I guess I'll let you play NFL GM and draw your own conclusions before you make your next, uh, head coaching hire. But the more of the story here and really of all three of the examples is that you need to be self-aware about your own leadership style and preference, and be, be thoughtful during these different situations of whether you should rely on your default style because your default style actually does really well in this situation. Or you need to get out of your comfort zone and you need to adapt your style. It's, uh, it's not called preferred leadership. It's called situational leadership for a reason. 

[00:18:54] Nate Prosser: Okay, quick nerd alert here. Uh, there's a, a technical term called the situational leadership model or sometimes situational leadership theory.

[00:19:02] Nate Prosser: This was originally published by Paul Hersay and Ken Blanchard in 1969. And there's been a couple iterations. There's the situational lot, um, Situational Leadership Model II. It it's been, you know, written about in a lot of different ways. There's a bunch of blog posts and articles. They'll talk about the pros and cons of it.

[00:19:22] Nate Prosser: Uh,in short there's four different leadership styles. According to this theory that a manager would select based on certain situations, and these are delegating, supporting, coaching and directing, or sometimes in the adapted model it's delegating, participating, selling and telling is maybe a little bit more memorable.

[00:19:44] Nate Prosser: In, in my personal opinion, the names and the categories of this technical model are a little bit confusing. They're a little bit misleading. And the, the four quadrants of the chart and the graph and the way they show it in this kind of wavy line model, it's a little bit more academic and maybe prescriptive than I think life plays out in the real world.

[00:20:03] Nate Prosser: So some people do really like the model and teach to it. But in short, I would say, On Leadership, Chalk Talk. We, we advocate for basically the conceptual idea of leadership, uh, the conceptual idea of situational leadership, meaning we recommend that you adapt your style based on the given situation and the needs of your employees or your team.

[00:20:24] Nate Prosser: But we don't necessarily subscribe to the model in its purest form. So for example, if you have a, a new employee who's kind of coming up the learning curve, you're probably gonna have to be a little bit more directive and show them what to do. And as the employee becomes more capable, you can, you know, back off and go into more of a coaching style, which is something we explain in episode five.

[00:20:46] Nate Prosser: So if you just think about it, like, kind of in that spectrum of, from going more hands on. Uh, and kind of showing someone to more hands off and coaching someone, you'll probably be pretty close, um, to applying the appropriate way of situational leadership. 

[00:21:04] Nate Prosser: All right. And that's, that's been this week's nerd alert brought to you by..... no, I'm just kidding. But that, that does sound like a pretty good spot for a nerdy sponsor at some point. 

[00:21:15] Nate Prosser: Anyway, we're, uh, we're gonna jump into segment two now, which is to start with, um, playing a clip from Steve Nash's introductory press conference. When he took off as the Nets head coach.

[00:21:31] Reporter: Hey, Steve, congrats. Uh, again, on the job you've played for so many different coaches throughout your career. When you envision yourself on the sidelines, what do you think your style is going to be your own personal identity? Will you be pulling from a Don Nelson, Mike D'Antoni? Will it be some type of mixture combination? Like how do you envision yourself? 

[00:21:50] Steve Nash: It's a great question. I mean, it's yet to be seen. I don't see myself as a yeller and screamer, but I haven't actually been over there yet. So. We'll see what transpires, but I think the reality is I'm gonna be myself. And if I'm anything other than myself, it's not gonna work.

[00:22:02] Steve Nash: So I think I can't come in, uh, trying to conform to what I think a coach is supposed to be. I just have to be myself, uh, um, build and support my team. Uh, put us in a position to have a lot of joy every day when we come into work, uh, and come together and build chemistry and a, and a belief and bond and contend.

[00:22:21] Steve Nash: So that stuff has, can only happen if you're authentic and if you're yourself and you're comfortable in your own skin. Uh, so that's all I can say really. We'll we'll see, we'll see what it's like actually when you're on the sidelines. But, uh, I would imagine I'm just gonna be me. 

[00:22:36] Nate Prosser: What I love about his quote in this clip is, um, how he says that he has to be his authentic self and that he has to create joy for his team and what they're doing.

[00:22:46] Nate Prosser: Look. Yeah. I mean, you can debate Steve's effectiveness as a, a new coach in his first two years, making this transition from player to coach. Um, you know, after coming a Kevin Durant foot on the line, away from a conference finals and probably NBA championship last year, the Nets got full blown swept, uh, by the Celtics in the first round this year.

[00:23:08] Nate Prosser: So, I mean, you can't, you can't make too many excuses for the team. right. And in his defense, every game was close. Uh in the sweep and he was dealing with a ton, uh, you know, Kyrie's limited playing time, not the least of it. Certainly the bizarre Harden, um, situation with the Simmons trade. Simmons, then never playing and you know, them kind of expecting him to, and having to answer questions about that.

[00:23:36] Nate Prosser: Really a lot of challenges to deal through. So in, in my opinion, at least, uh, I think he did a pretty good job of what he had to work work with. But, um, back to his quote overall, I think that's just some, some great advice for new leaders is to be yourself and to create joy for your team and what they're doing.

[00:23:53] Nate Prosser: So there's a lot to say about leadership is like, Creating purpose, um, you know, making the team feel like they're something bigger than themselves. So definitely some good advice there from Steve. So especially if you're a new manager, you know, tapping into that, I think will be a great idea. 

[00:24:08] Nate Prosser: And I, I honestly get asked about this particular situation a lot where, what Steve was doing, you know, he didn't just retire, but he is pretty new, had no other coaching experience. So he's transitioning from essentially a peer to a manager. And, you know, you were on the team, you were a top performer. That's probably why you got promoted. Uh, and now you're gonna lead the team and you're gonna lead the team that you're once a part of. Um, uh, there's a lot of challenges with that. And you, you know, on the same token, similarly, if you're leading someone like that, so this new manager that used to be, uh, on the team now leading the team reports to you and you have to kind of.

[00:24:48] Nate Prosser: Coach them and teach them through that. That can be tough for a leader of leaders too. So, uh, let's go through a few things here. So whether you're coaching yourself and you're in that situation or you're coaching the person, I'm gonna give you three pieces of advice that, um, I would tell you to think about as you're into this transition.

[00:25:05] Nate Prosser: So the first one you have to mentally promote yourself into the role. I, when I have someone in this situation, I coach to this concept all the time when someone just gets promoted and, um, you know, for the new manager, who's, who's coaching themselves. This is almost like a kind of a meta thing, right?

[00:25:23] Nate Prosser: Where like you have to step out of yourself and you have to promote yourself as if you aren't the person that you're talking about. You have to kind of talk to yourself in the third person, like. Nate you are the leader of this team. You were given this job, you were promoted into this job for a reason.

[00:25:39] Nate Prosser: You have to own it. You are that person. Um, and, and you have the responsibilities of leading it. So sometimes people have almost like a humility or an imposter syndrome where they, they don't really see themselves that way. Uh, they don't think they're worthy of the role or, um, you know, on the other side of the coin, it's the exact opposite that, that even worse.

[00:26:03] Nate Prosser: They think they're best. They're the best of the best. And that they're just gonna come in and crush this, cuz they're gonna teach everyone to be clones of themselves. Like, all I gotta do is teach everyone to kill it. Like I killed the job and do exactly what I did and they don't see themselves and promote themselves into the leader.

[00:26:18] Nate Prosser: They promote themselves into this like drill Sergeant manager. Right. They promote themselves into being a boss. And I'm about to tell people what to do. And the problem is when you don't see yourself in that leadership capacity, um, your team doesn't see you that way either your team will see you as just another team member, or maybe they'll see you as a jerk if you're, you know, trying to be that other type.

[00:26:43] Nate Prosser: So you need to be the leader. You need to promote yourself because your company already has, right. So mentally promote yourself. That's tip number one. 

[00:26:53] Nate Prosser: OKay. Tip number two, Get in the people business and get a people plan. You have to understand it now that your results are actually the team's results there's days where you don't actually really do anything and that's gonna be disorienting.

[00:27:12] Nate Prosser: You're you're just directing the work of other people or you're coaching them to solve problems, or you're giving them some feedback to help them succeed, or you're helping them prep for, uh, you know, a big meeting that they have. It, it can feel really weird, especially at first, if you're a new manager, um, but you have to get comfortable with this idea that your success is the team's success.

[00:27:35] Nate Prosser: You can't do the work for the people and you can't get them to do the work like you did, which I was alluding to before, or, or you can't get them to do it, how you would do it, they're their own people. And you have to understand that. And then the second part of this is like, get a people plan. This is what makes it like get in the people business and get a people plan.

[00:27:54] Nate Prosser: This is what brings it to life. So, um, let's talk that out. What this means is how are you gonna show your team that you care about them and their development? And it's not just gonna be kind of happenstance. You're gonna be super intentional about it. So one, you know, really easy way to think about a people plan is like your one on ones.

[00:28:14] Nate Prosser: When you're gonna meet with people one to one. What's your plan for that? How often are you gonna have them? Right. There's probably a, a company norm for you. Maybe it's weekly. Maybe it's biweekly. Maybe it's monthly. Maybe you wanna do it more often, right? Especially at first. How long are you gonna meet?

[00:28:28] Nate Prosser: Is it half hour? Is it an hour? Are you gonna have some meetings for this, some meetings for that? Uh, I like to think. You know, what percentage of your one-on-one time are you gonna allocate to the people's development versus just project updates or things like that? What percentage of that time? Uh, during one-on-ones are you gonna devote to upward feedback?

[00:28:48] Nate Prosser: Yeah, that's right. Them telling you what you could be doing better as a leader and making sure you're asking for it in a way where they can genuinely feel safe to tell you the truth, because I'll tell you this as a new leader, you're gonna screw up stuff a lot. Right. And what will make that totally.

[00:29:04] Nate Prosser: Okay. Is if you ask people and they tell you how you're screwing up, and then you adapt and you learn and you adjust and you don't keep making the same mistakes what's gonna go bad is if you're screwing things up and you don't ask the people that are directly affected by it, and you just keep doing it.

[00:29:21] Nate Prosser: So this is all to say that you have to think really strategically about how you're going to use your one-on-one meetings. You gotta create a plan and you gotta stick to it. Uh, one of the things that I like to do part of my one-on-one plan is I like to ask standard questions and I might rotate them, you know, every six months or something.

[00:29:38] Nate Prosser: But I have a favorite that I end up coming back to a lot, which is something that usually sounds like, you know, what's one thing I can do more of, less of, or different to be a better leader for you? So whatever that question is for you find your groove, um, ask it consistently in your one on ones, hold your one on ones consistently, and your team will actually start to expect this they'll grow to trust you.

[00:30:01] Nate Prosser: And. If you do all that, you'll be well on your way to being a great leader. So you gotta have a people plan. You gotta be really intentional about it. Just like you would have a business plan. 

[00:30:12] Nate Prosser: My third tip is, expect what you can accept. So shout out to Jen for this one. She said this to me recently and it, it really stuck with me.

[00:30:20] Nate Prosser: I really like it. So if number two is the, you know, quote unquote soft stuff of like coaching and feedback and trust and helping people. This is, um, the part where you have to set really high expectations and then hold people to it. So I know I made a lot of callbacks in this one, but stuff's really starting to come together together.

[00:30:37] Nate Prosser: Um, this is all about episode number one, which is what true accountability means. If you accept that people are, you know, coming in late or, um, you know, yeah. Let's say that they're coming in late. If you accept that you can expect them to do it again. You're teaching them that's okay. Or if you accept that when your team sends you medium quality work, you, you are the ones that clean it up and turn it into high quality work.

[00:31:04] Nate Prosser: Well, if you do that, guess what you can expect? Medium quality work. So a, a great question. Ask yourself here and, uh, shout out to Lindsay for this one is. What am I tolerating right now? Ask that question to yourself or ask that question, you know, with your leadership team is. What am I tolerating right now?

[00:31:23] Nate Prosser: And if you're honest with yourself, you're probably tolerating some things that are below your true expectations of people in the role. And instead of just like continuing to tolerate it, this is where you have that accountability conversation. Right. And, and make sure you're doing it with empathy and honesty, like we've talked about, and after you've reset the expectation, you can then dive into that GROW model that we worked through in episode five and, and do some coaching.

[00:31:49] Nate Prosser: OKay. That was a mouthful for just those three things. And. and look, there's probably more things that you can, and, and you certainly should do, uh, when you transition from being a peer to a manager or a leader, um, you should probably have some type of 90 day business plan. You should probably be evaluating the strategy, the resources, the technology.

[00:32:09] Nate Prosser: All that. Sure. Uh, of course. Um, but my guess is you probably already know how to do that stuff or there's someone that can teach you to do that stuff because that's a little bit more straightforward. It's a little bit more procedural. Um, it's the people stuff is where new leaders often fall flat. Um, so, and the people stuff includes our own mental strength than our internal psychology.

[00:32:29] Nate Prosser: Right. Um, that part about you have to mentally promote yourself. There there's a lot wrapped in that. So these are the things like the people, stuff, the people plan, the personal promotion. Those are the things that people often ignore and they focus on kind of the business stuff and the 90 day business plan.

[00:32:47] Nate Prosser: And really the people stuff tend to play, um, a bigger role in whether you're successful in that transition. 

[00:32:56] Nate Prosser: All right. I gave you a lot to chew on today, um, related to situational leadership. So let me run back through a quick recap to make sure you were able to take away a few of these important nuggets.

[00:33:07] Nate Prosser: We first started off by explaining situational leadership, which is essentially the willingness and the ability to adapt your style of leadership instead of just applying your preferred style. Right? So we talked about if you're a control freak, can you adapt to a more letting go and vice versa if you're kind of removed, are you able to dive into the weeds when the situation calls for it?

[00:33:25] Nate Prosser: Um, later in the episode, I did give the nerd alert about kind of the full situational leadership model and the four distinct styles of tha. But just said that, you know, from my perspective, you don't need to get that technical. You just need to understand this idea of flexing from kind of more of a hands on directing style to a little bit more of a hands off guiding coaching style.

[00:33:46] Nate Prosser: We spent a little bit of time diving into Urban Meyer's, short tenure with the Jacksonville Jaguars. And we picked up a clue in his introductory press conference that he probably wasn't actually preparing to adjust his leadership style all that much. And making the jump from the NFL or from college to the NFL, uh, he was willing to adjust his strategy.

[00:34:08] Nate Prosser: Yes, but his leadership style, it, it didn't really seem like it. If you read between the lines. We then looked at, um, other coaches making the jump and shifting away from a position of authority to a position of, um, I don't know, support, certainly accountability, certain certainly respect, but those that are able to be more in that kind of Jimmy Johnson, Pete Carroll player-coach mode tended to, you know, based on the records seemed to do better. 

[00:34:38] Nate Prosser: Uh, we then dove into a specific situation of this idea of moving from peer to leader. So we looked at Steve Nash's situation with the nets where he went from kind of a, a player to a coach pretty quickly after his retirement.

[00:34:51] Nate Prosser: Uh, and we tapped into his advice at first, which was around. Being yourself being authentic, creating joy for your team and for those around you, for your players. Uh, and then we dove into my three tips to add on to Steve's, which was one mentally promote yourself. This is so important. You're in the role for a reason, you have to own it.

[00:35:11] Nate Prosser: And that could be, you know, whether you're too humble or you're too confident, you have to mentally promote yourself as you are the leader. The next one was you gotta get in the people game and just totally acknowledge that you are now a leader. You are a people person. And the best way to tangibly get in the people game is to create a people plan.

[00:35:32] Nate Prosser: So I gave the example of being super specific and really strategic about how you use one on ones with people that can really kickstart your, uour entry into the people game. And then the third one was expect what you accept, which means if you accept mediocrity, you can expect it, right. If you can accept little things that annoy you, but you don't address them, you can expect them to continue.

[00:35:56] Nate Prosser: So you have to realize that. So you're kind of balancing this, um, you know, really empathetic, caring approach also with a high bar, right. And high accountability. And I always say that high performers, like high standards, so don't be afraid to have high standard. 

[00:36:11] Nate Prosser: All right, you got all that? Awesome. I know you do so's time for me to hit you with the episode challenge.

[00:36:17] Nate Prosser: Here's what I want you to try. There's two parts for this week. Part one. I want you to think back over the last couple weeks and identify a time when you applied your preferred style of leadership, you know, maybe it was very hands on or maybe it was very hands off or somewhere in the middle, whatever it was.

[00:36:31] Nate Prosser: But, um, if you really thought about this situation, It should have been a different style, right? So you just used your preferred style, but the situation actually called for something else. So, um, I want you to, to write this down somewhere so you can just type it in a note section on your phone. Sure. Send me an email.

[00:36:50] Nate Prosser: That would be awesome. Uh, but write it down somewhere. Now part two of the challenge is to, you got kind of an option here, either take your aha back to the person or the people involved and share it with them and, you know, let your let, let them know you're listening to this podcast. You're trying to be a better leader.

[00:37:08] Nate Prosser: People love to hear that, right? That you're like trying to be better. It's a good seed to plant with your team, let them know you're working on it. And you realize that you think you were a little bit too much this way, and you should have been more that way. RIght. So let them know that you're trying to adapt to the situation a little bit more.

[00:37:23] Nate Prosser: You're gonna be more conscious about this and that they can expect maybe a little bit of shifting in the future. If that doesn't make sense for your situation. Um, and you, you can't really circle back instead, just be on the lookout for a time where you can adapt your style to the situation sometime over the next couple months.

[00:37:43] Nate Prosser: All right. Hopefully that was easy enough. Basically the challenge is reflect on a time you should have adjusted your style didn't and then either explain to that person why, or just look out for a future opportunity where you're starting to kind of cave into your preferred style, but you recognize that you're self aware and you shift to, uh, you shift to more of a situational leadership to the appropriate style.

[00:38:08] Nate Prosser: All right. You all are awesome. You're the best. This week was a little bit more advanced. We're up in the game on Chalk Talk, but you're, you're staying with us. We're, you know, we're growing together, we're building a community, we're building a community of leaders and I'm really, really glad you're on this journey with me.

[00:38:23] Nate Prosser: Uh, as I said at the top again, it'd be great to hear from you how you're growing as a leader. You can always email me and, and let me know, uh, I'm here to help you for sure. Uh, email is Nate@leadershipchalk talk.com. We'll continue to say the world needs more leaders. Let's go make it happen, y'all. All right.

[00:38:39] Nate Prosser: Till next time.