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Situational Leadership Exercises

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Leadership in today's business climate is no easy task. Different approaches are required for different situations with varied levels of sensitivity, assertiveness, listening and structure. Because of this, training tactics called "situational leadership exercises" have been developed to help leaders sharpen their ability to deal with any potential conflict in the business realm.

Survey-Based Leadership Exercises

One type of situational leadership exercise is a survey-based exercise. In this, participants are presented with a series of statements about leadership, and must agree or disagree with the philosophy presented. At the end of the survey, points are assigned based on each question and the responses given. The tally of these points indicate what kind of leader, in general, the participant may be. These exercises are valuable in that they inform participants of their disposition towards conflict resolution while explaining the strengths and weaknesses of the current approach utilized. This gives participants the ability to self-assess and make any necessary improvements.

Stage-Based Role Playing

Stage-based role playing gives participants the opportunity to act out how they would respond to individuals at different levels of enthusiasm. A leader will be confronted with someone who is reluctant, incapable, enthusiastic, and a peak performer, and have to interact with that individual on the basis of their ability and willingness to participate in group work. This type of activity works best when other participants can watch the interactions and provide feedback to the leader doing the interaction. It allows participants to test out their leadership skills in a variety of situations before actually experiencing them.

Group Discussion Exercises

Group discussion exercises are a kind of situational leadership exercise that involves participants being presented with a theoretical situation and discussing what would be the best approach for handling it. These exercises function like a case study. One of the best ways to conduct these exercises is to split a larger group into several smaller groups. When the smaller groups have reached their conclusions, everyone comes back together to discuss their findings and reach what everyone can agree on as the best solution to the theoretical problem. These exercises have value because they put emphasis on communication skills and critical thought in dealing with various situations in the workplace.


Lauren Nelson was a nationally recognized public speaker and debater for eight years and has three years of contracted technical writing under her belt. Nelson is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in corporate and organizational communication and is currently serving as Director of Communications for Attain Capital Management.

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