One way of looking at different leadership styles is in terms of task orientation versus employee orientation.
The combination of these two effects lead to the following diagram:
- Task Orientation or Directive Behaviour. This reflects how much a leader is concerned with the actual task at hand and ensuring that those following him complete it.
- Employee Orientation or Supportive Behaviour. This reflects how much a leader is concerned for the people around him, providing support and encouragement for them.
|1. Country Club Management
||1. Team Management
|1. Impoverished Management
||1. Authority/Obedience Management
This diagram can be used in two ways:
- As a guide to how effective your leadership style is. Your general attitude to the leadership of the group will fall into one of these categories.
- As a guide to how best to lead different individuals using different styles to make the most efficient use of both their, and your, time and talents.
Anaylsing Your Style
How do you lead your group? What is your attitude to both them and the task at hand?
It is generally accepted that group leaders who have a Team Management style are the most effective, though this is not always the case.
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- Impoverished Management (low concern for the task, low concern for people).
This style is characterised by minimal effort on your part, just enough to get the job done and maintain the group structure.
"I'll just let them get on with it, I'm sure they'll do fine, they don't really want me interfering anyway"
- Country Club Management (low concern for the task, high concern for people).
You take good care of your group, ensuring a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. You hope this will lead to the work getting done.
"It stands to reason, if they're happy they'll work harder and the work will take care of itself."
- Authority/Obedience Management (high concern for task, low concern for people).
You are probably a bit of a task master. The most important thing is the work. You lead from behind by driving the group in front of you.
"We're here to work, the work needs to be done. If they're working hard enough they won't have time to feel unhappy, they're not here to enjoy themselves."
- Team Management (high concern for task, high concern for people).
You see the completeion of the task and the well being of the group as interdependent through a common stake in the organisation's future. This leads to relationships built on trust and respect, and work accomplishment from committed employees.
"We're in this together. We need to support and help each other to get this job done."
If you have a group of widely differing levels of ability, confidence and commitment, you may want to lead them each with a different style.
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A team member who has a lot of enthusiasm for the job but not much actual ability, for example a new start, will need to be directed. You will not need to spend much time giving encouragement or coaxing them along. You will however have to tell them what to do next after they complete every task, and how to do the tasks set.
After being in the group for a while, somebody might begin to lose confidence and therefore motivation, as they still can't seem to do the work they want to do. At this stage you will need to coach them along. You will still need to tell them what to do at virtually every point along the way, while taking care to encourage them and praise them at every turn.
Gradually the team member's technical ability will increase until they are at a stage where they can actually do everything required of them, however they may still lack the confidence to actually do it off their own backs. You should no longer have to tell them what to do, although they may think otherwise. You should seek their opinions on the next stage, and be seen to take notice of their ideas.
A technically competent person's confidence will gradually grow until they feel able to work completely on their own. You should now be able to delegate specific areas of work to them and feel little need to tell them either what to do or to praise them as frequently for doing it. The time that you don't have to spend "leading" these members of the group can be spent with the less experienced group members, or on the work that you need to do.
BLANCHARD K., ZIGARMI P. and ZIGARMI D.:"Leadership and the One Minute
Manager" (Willow Books, 1986)
VECCHIO R.P.:"Organizational Behaviour" (The Dryden Press, 1988), pp
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Most recent revision 7 Feb 1997