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10 Tests to Know it’s Time to Take Charge

One dimensional leaders fit into one dimensional organizations. Do one dimensional organizations actually exist? Complexity and diversity call for more than one leadership style.

You may be a coaching-style leader but coaching doesn’t always work. I enjoy a hands-off approach both as a leader and a follower. But hands-off isn’t always best; some situations call leaders to be hands-on participants. Successful leaders adapt their leadership-style to the situation.

For example, crisis demands hands-on directive leadership.

Ten tests to determine it’s time to take charge. Take charge when:

  1. Employees expect direction. This may not be the determining factor but it matters.
  2. Situations require direction. Beginnings require more direction than middles or endings.
  3. Tasks are once and done rather than frequently repeated.
  4. Situations are highly ambiguous.
  5. Uncertainty is high.
  6. Organizational structure calls for authority; formal authority is high.
  7. Team members lack skills, education, or experience and they need time to develop.
  8. Tasks are highly complex.
  9. Failure is high impact and public.
  10. Job satisfaction is a function of the group rather than centered within individuals. Military organizations generally illustrate a need for highly directive leadership styles where job satisfaction is closely tied to the group.

Effective leaders leverage more than one leadership style. Jim Quigly and Mehrdad Baghai list eight leader/follower styles in their book, “As One.” Here is a brief summary of their suggestions: “8 Leadership Archetypes.”

What’s your preferred leadership style?

How do you determine when to become highly directive?


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