Some may say task-oriented leadership is all about managing people to achieve a goal. Achieving results for the company. For that, the boss needs to know what skills are needed for the leader position and what are not. They need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each one of their employees, so they can delegate responsibilities accordingly.
A task-oriented leader thinks that leadership is fundamentally about assigning tasks and making sure they are done on time, on budget, and to quality standards. This type of leadership is often described as leading by example or ‘leading from behind’.
But in contrast team-oriented leaders think that leadership is about getting people to work together towards a common goal rather than just assigning tasks. For them leadership is more than just assigning tasks. A team-oriented leader will do what is best for the team as a whole, not just themselves or organisation. They will take care of their team members by being supportive and building up their confidence if they are struggling.
Students of leadership will find that the task-oriented style fits the definition of a manager, whereas the team-oriented style is more akin to those qualities of a leader. Leaders are called upon to inspire and motivate their teams, whereas managers are tasked with planning, organizing, and coordinating.
What are the benefits of task-oriented leadership?
Task-oriented leadership, also known as management by objectives, is a style of leadership that helps employees achieve their goals and achieve organizational objectives. This leadership style is a good fit for the digital age because it prizes clarity and immediacy. Task-oriented leaders constantly ask themselves “What needs to be done now?” and then they assign those tasks to the most suitable team members.
However, in the digital age, it’s not enough for employees to know what they’re supposed to do; they need to know why they’re doing it. Good task-oriented leaders constantly keep their team focused on these reasons—the end goal or objective of the task. The main benefit of task-oriented leadership is clear instruction in the form of deadlines, targets, and simple instructions to help team members achieve organization’s desired goals. However, it is vital that leadership set up perpetual systems in order to continue to encourage teams & reward them, when teams have achieved the tasks that are important to the company. For example, some good ways to increase productivity and make a disciplined work environment is with individual bonuses, set a reward or time off at the end of the month. This makes it more attractive for people with different motivations to continue working hard towards their goals. Also understanding teams culture & dynamics helps leaders to better keep their team motivated and productive.
Task-oriented Vs. Team-oriented Leadership
But what style of leadership is more effective at building companies? We know every company needs leadership that can see the “bigger picture”. If you don’t have this, then there are likely to be a lot of tasks that go unfinished or are even abandoned. Good leaders are goal-oriented, have good communication skills, and can take care of any obstacles so they can finish their work.
Organisational studies show it’s vital that we use both task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership to avoid dysfunctional working relationships. It’s true that some leaders are better suited for certain tasks than others. The strongest leadership teams are able to seamlessly blend both people-centric and task-oriented approaches to get the best results.
Leaders should ensure that workers are able to prioritize their wellness, mental stress, & work-life balance. This not only improves the employees’ experience at work, but it can also make for higher job satisfaction and better productivity. However, without task-oriented leaders almost no organisations can exist or be successful, as we all need to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
Recommended reading for task-oriented leadership:
- Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership: Third Edition by Gerard Blokdyk