Last month we examined three of the four critical aspects of effective leadership, The Follower, The Leader, and Communication. This month we will look at The Situation, and conclude with an exercise that will let you determine how your own attitude is affecting your employees.

The Situation. The fourth major factor of leadership is the situation. All situations are different. Leadership actions that worked in one instance with one person or group may or may not work in other circumstances, no matter how similar. Many forces combine to determine the best leadership action to take at a particular time. Also, by identifying and influencing certain forces, you can create a situation more favorable to success. This is commonly known as situational leadership.

There are no magic rules or formulas to tell you exactly what to do in each situation. You therefore need to understand the four major factors of leadership (and human nature) and apply these as guides in particular situations. Then use your judgment to select the best action to take and what leadership style to use.

A Self-Learning Exercise:
How Does Your Attitude Affect Your Employee’s Performance?
© 2012 CATTAN Services Group, Inc. and used with permission

Managers’ attitudes, expectations and the way they treat employees all affect the outcome of their employees’ performance - the “Pygmalion Effect”. If you, as a leader, have a positive job attitude and have positive expectations of employees to be productive, they will be highly productive. So before you can accomplish changing the attitude of your employees, you need to understand how your own attitude affects their performance. Whether or not you think you do already, try this self-learning exercise. You might be surprised at your results.

Read each statement carefully.
Identify how often each describes how you react on the job.
Score yourself as: 5 = Always; 4 = Almost Always; 3 = Often; 2 = At Times; 1 = Rarely

____ I am friendly and courteous to those I work with.

____ When my boss asks me to go “the extra mile,” I am glad help.

____ I am a self-starter at getting work done.

____ I try not to spread rumors or gossip with other supervisors

____ I make positive comments and go out of my way not to make negative comments.

____ I try not to make excuses or blame others for errors or mistakes.

____ I try to keep morale high among my function’s employees.

____ I accept criticism and try to make the necessary changes to improve the situation.

____ I consider myself a “team player” and will concede my ideas for the good of the project.

____ If my boss were to answer the above nine questions about my attitude, he would answer as I did!

Add up your ten responses. The maximum score is 50.

The higher your score, the more positive is your job attitude, and a good attitude is critical to your success as a supervisor. Every day, you can choose to be positive or negative, and the following tips can help you improve your outlook plus increase your score and effectiveness:

- Be aware of your attitude
- Consciously try to have a positive attitude
- If you realize you are complaining - stop - and see the positives of the situation!
- Don’t let someone’s bad attitude affect you
- Being a positive role model will help your employees stay positive - and productive!

Conclusion. In this article we have examined and explained the four major factors of leadership and briefly outlined what a leader must be, know, and do to be effective. And after completing the exercise above, you hopefully now have a better idea of how effective a leader you are - and where you can improve.

This article is part of the monthly series authored by ISM’s Logistics & Transportation Group Board Members, who are current practitioners, consultants and educators. In future columns they will continue sharing their views on a number of Supply Chain topics.

Thomas L. Tanel, CTL, C.P.M., CISCM, is the President and CEO of CATTAN Services Group, Inc., specializing in Logistics and Supply Chain issues. He is also the Chair of ISM’s Logistics & Transportation Group and can be reached at or (979) 212-8200. Membership in the Group is open to all ISM members who are responsible for or have an interest in the Logistics & Transportation fields.