by Rollin Glaser, Stephanie McBriar Hannett, and Cathy Proviano

No two work group situations are necessarily the same. And with so many complex variables to consider, what makes a leader effective? The answer is focus and flexibility.

According to the well-known work of Fred Fiedler, “The best style of leadership is determined by the situation in which the leader is working.” The Focused Leader Profile - A Situational Approach to Leading Work Groups, adapts Fiedler’s work to the practical concerns of today’s leaders. By examining three critical factors - relationships, task clarity, and power base - this powerful tool helps leaders narrow their focus, analyze work group situations, and then determine how to respond most effectively.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand that leadership is situational
  • Learn the three key factors leaders should use to analyze and respond to work group situations
  • Identify appropriate task- and/or relationship-focused responses
  • Develop personalized action steps for responding to a current leadership situation


According to Fred Fiedler and his researchers, all leadership is situational - meaning that a leader should base behavior on the situation in which he or she finds him or herself. Fiedler and his group concluded that each leadership situation needed to be examined from 3 angles.

In the Focused Leader Profile - A Situational Approach to Leading Work Groups, the HRDQ Research and Development Team adapted Fiedler’s work to the practical concerns of people who make group leadership decisions every day. The instrument identifies 3 factors to help leaders narrow their focus, analyze work group situations, and determine how to respond most effectively:

  • Relationships among the leader and the group members
  • Clarity of the task
  • Leader’s power base

How It Works

The Profile presents leaders with 8 work situations and 4 possible responses. In scoring the instrument, they generate two profiles - one for Style Effectiveness and one for Leadership Flexibility. Next, leaders are introduced to the 3 Factors of Focused Leadership and then learn how analyze these factors when choosing an effective task/relationship-oriented approach to address work group situations. Interpretation of Profile results and action planning help leaders apply their learning to a current work group situation.

To provide further practice in analyzing situations and choosing an effective leadership response, the Facilitator Guide also includes a complete 3-hour workshop.

Uses for Focused Leader Profile

The Focused Leader Profile is appropriate for leaders of groups or teams at any organizational level. Flexible enough to be used as a stand-alone instrument or as a component in a larger leadership-training program, it’s the perfect starting point in helping leaders to think in terms of the “situation-ality.”

Focused Leader Profile has a variety of applications including:

  • New supervisor/manager training
    Use the Profile as a baseline for new managers. Coupled with an explanation of the theory and the Three Factors of a situation, new managers have a foundation for developing and fine-tuning their management skills.
  • Refresher training
    Use the Profile as a pre/post application. By taking the Profile twice, managers gain a comparison and help in identifying areas of strength and improvement
  • Component of a longer training system
    Use the Profile as part of a supervisory or leadership development curriculum.

What to Order/Product Contents

Order one Facilitator Guide per trainer and one Participant Guide per participant.

  • Facilitator Guide includes:
    • Administrative guidelines
    • Theoretical background
    • Rationale
    • Reliability and validity
    • Experiential learning methodology
    • Description of the 3 Factors of Focused Leadership
    • Complete 3-hour workshop design
    • Alternative training designs
    • Blank training outline
    • 5 optional activities
    • FAQ
    • Sample copy of Participant Guide
    • CD-ROM containing Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation and reproducible masters, including a Certificate of Achievement, Training Evaluation, and overhead transparency masters
    • Convenient binder format
  • Participant Guide includes:
    • 8-item assessment
    • Pressure-sensitive Response Form
    • Description of the 3 Factors of Focused Leadership
    • Interpretive information
    • Action planning