Here’s a leadership trick I pulled from Agile.

When you’re looking at yourself, your team, or a co-worker, you can use this tool to quickly assess readiness.

In the “Situational Leadership Model,” there are 4 levels of “readiness.” Readiness is how motivated and capable someone is.

It’s a predictor of future output.


Here are the readiness levels:

Here is the type of leadership that is most effective with each of these levels:


If you’re an R1, you don’t have the skills or the confidence to face challenges. This person needs a little micro-management and very clear task instructions. The goal is not to continue on like this, but to get enough small wins that they develop the confidence to move on to R2. You’re telling them what to do. Hence the name “Telling” style.


If you’re an R2, you still don’t have the skillset, but you’re up for learning. This is a great place for new hires to be if you’ve got the bandwidth for some training. Quick ways to get your team up to speed would be involving them in decisions and have them pair up on tasks where knowledge could be transferred. The focus here is on quality, not quantity. It’s like lifting weights. You need to get your form right before you can start doing the heavy stuff, else you risk injury. This is called the “Selling” style of leadership in this model.


R3s are interesting because they have the skills and tools they need, but lack the confidence to complete tasks at high capacity. It’s actually a great place to be. One of the most critical things you can do here is build trust by creating an environment where they don’t feel like they’ll get the axe if they fail. This might mean that instead of making decisions for the team, you’re letting them make their own decisions while you facilitate learning. This is called “Participating” style because you’re reducing task direction and increasing relationship-building behavior.


R4s are the final stage. This is where you can shift from participating in the process to delegating the task of deciding how the work should be done. This means you’re now only thinking of maximizing throughput, and blocking/tackling for the team. You’re making sure everyone is aligned with the most important priorities and pushing hard. Sustainability is key. This is called the “Delegating” style.

2 Minute Action:

Where are you on this map?

What kind of coaching do you need to give yourself?

What are the things you’ll need to level up?

Take 2 minutes to decide one way you might start leveling up, today.

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