by Alexander Haim

The Strategic Leadership Type Indicator (SLTi) is fast becoming the new standard for a 4-quadrant type supervisory leadership assessment. Trainers appreciate its simplicity combined with ample support materials but without burdensome certification requirements. Supervisors and managers like the emphasis on teaching the appropriate use of four different management styles, particularly the coaching style widely considered the most flexible and motivative supervision technique in wide use today. The SLTi is also translated into French and Spanish. The SLTi assessment is particularly important for supervisors or managers new to the people management role. These professionals will experience a wide range of new responsibilities and challenges and have severely limited time to absorb it all and be successful with these new challenges. SLTi offers a prescriptive approach to people management that aligns productivity concerns perfectly with the time consuming realities of supervising and managing people. For example:

  • When an employee is clearly both capable and motivated, supervisors learn to use the delegation strategy which requires the least direct intervention and monitoring. Supervisors often fall into the time trap of spending too much time on employees who are doing fine without them. Not only does this waste valuable time for the supervisor, these employees, who have earned and desire more autonomy, resist or are demotivated by micro management, even when it is good intentioned.
  • If an employee is capable but un-motivated the supervisor uses the relate strategy in order to coax, encourage, and support the employee to help improve their desire to meet their goals more effectively.
  • When an employee lacks capability as well as motivation then the supervisor uses the coach strategy which requires high relating contact and high levels of teaching/instruction. Coaching is a widely well regarded supervision style but it is time consuming and it’s important to use coaching where it will make the most impact on the work unit’s performance. Even coaching is counter productive when used in the wrong situation.
  • With an employee that is new to the job, there is often high motivation but a lack of capability. In this situation the supervisor should concentrate their time on teaching/instructing since building the relationship will have little impact on motivation. What these employees need is job specific task instruction; the instruct strategy.

By using these four strategies appropriately supervisors manage people both effectively and efficiently

The SLTi assessment lets supervisors and managers know what their dominant and secondary styles are, and how well they deploy the optimal strategy for the employees’ specific needs. Then there are exercises and activities to help supervisors better learn how to select strategies and implement them in novel ways such as through recognition and rewards. Strategic leadership places the new supervisor or manager on a firm foundation from which they can confidently build their own experiences and judgment.