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11 leadership styles (plus how to find your own)

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It’s normal for your personality and experience to influence your leadership style. While there isn’t one right way to lead, identifying your leadership style can help you grow your skill set and empower your team. In this article we describe 11 different leadership types, along with their pros and cons in different situations.

What do Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s, have in common? They are both exceptional leaders. While one makes waves in the tech industry, the other takes on the challenge of retail. Both are forward-thinking, have visions for their work, and are compelling enough to command an audience. 

Leadership is not one-size-fits-all. Every leader has their own personality and experience that influences their particular style. This style can evolve over time, so the leader you are today may be different from the leader you’d like to become. 

To help you better understand what your current leadership style is and how you can use it to empower your team to make an impact, we cover 11 common leadership styles and theories. 

Turning leadership styles into action

1. Authoritarian or autocratic leadership style

Authoritarian—also referred to as autocratic—leaders have clear command and control over their peers. Decision-making is centralized, meaning there is one person making the critical decisions. An authoritarian leader has a clear vision of the bigger picture, but only involves the rest of the team on a task-by-task or as-needed basis. 

Lewin's leadership theory

Authoritarian leaders will be personal when giving others praise or criticism but clearly separate themselves from the group. While you might assume an authoritarian leader would be unpleasant, this isn’t typically true. Rarely are they openly hostile. Instead, they’re typically friendly or, at times, impersonal. 

Examples of an authoritarian or autocratic leader's style:

Their own learnings are more important than those of the team.

In disagreements within the company, their view is typically the right one.

If there are too many voices speaking, we can’t get the job done. 

Opposing opinions on a project I'm in charge of don't matter.

Pros of an authoritarian leadership style:

Authoritarian leaders have the ability to complete projects in a time crunch. 

This style is helpful when decisive action is needed.

Autocratic leadership is successful when the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group.

Cons of an authoritarian leadership style:

This style doesn’t promote creativity. 

Leaders can be viewed negatively and as overbearing or controlling.

Has difficulty trying another leadership style and are typically set in their ways. 

2. Participative leadership style

Participative or democratic leaders welcome everyone’s opinions and encourage collaboration. While they might have the final say, these leaders distribute the responsibility of making decisions to everyone.  

Participative leaders are part of the team. They invest their time and energy in their colleagues' growth because they know it will, in turn, help them reach the end goal. If you excel in collaborative group environments, this might be your leadership style.

Examples of a participative leader's style:

Prioritizing the group’s learnings will benefit my role. 

In disagreements within the company, we should hear everyone’s opinion and then come to a solution. 

The more people we have working on a project, the better the outcome will be. 

Opposing views because it will make the end product better. 

Pros of a participative leadership style:

This is the most effective leadership style, according to Lewin’s study. 

Participative leadership leads to higher quality contributions. 

There is more creativity and group members feel engaged. 

Everyone understands the bigger picture and is motivated to reach the end goal. 

Cons of a participative leadership style:

Teams with participative leaders aren’t as productive as those with authoritarian leaders.

All team members need to be bought-in for collaboration to work. 

3. Delegative or laissez-faire leadership style

Lewin’s third style is delegative or laissez-faire leadership. Delegative leaders offer very little guidance to the group. They allow team members complete freedom in the decision-making process.

Delegative leaders separate themselves from the group and choose not to participate or interrupt the current trajectory of a project. Their comments are infrequent. Group members might even forget what this leader looks like by the time they finish the project. 

Examples of a delegative or laissez-faire leader's style:

The group can decide what’s best for them, but I expect a stellar end product. 

In disagreements within the company, others can make a decision without my input. 

I’ll pass along resources to my team. From there, I want group members who are self-starters and can determine how to proceed.

Those with opposing views can try their methods individually. 

Pros of a delegative leadership style:

Delegative leadership can be beneficial if all group members are qualified experts.

Those who value autonomy will have high job satisfaction under this leadership.

Cons of a delegative leadership style:

Teams with laissez-faire leadership are the least productive, according to Lewin’s study. 

With a delegative leader, roles and responsibilities are unclear.

This style can lead to team members blaming each other and not taking any responsibility.

Now that you understand Lewin’s three leadership styles, let’s take a different approach by looking at the emotional leadership theory.  This approach will help you use emotional intelligence to read the room and apply the correct leadership style. 

4. Visionary leadership style

Visionary leadership is comparable to Lewin’s authoritative leadership style. Visionary leaders have clear, long-term visions, and are able to inspire and motivate others. 

Emotional leadership theory

This type of leadership is best used when there is a big change in the company or a clear direction is needed. In this case, people are looking for someone they trust to follow into the unknown. 

It is less successful when other team members are experts who have differing ideas or opinions than that of the leader. These team members won’t want to blindly follow a leader they don’t agree with.

Pros of a visionary leadership style:

Members of the organization feel inspired and understand their roles. 

Temporary problems don’t dishearten the leader because they have their eye on the end goal. 

Visionary leaders are skilled at creating contingency plans to address challenges from outside factors such as politics or world events.

Cons of a visionary leadership style:

There is a lack of short-term focus by teams. 

Vision can be lost if it’s too intertwined with the leader’s personality. 

Visionary leaders have the potential to reject other group members' ideas. 

5. Coaching leadership style

A coaching leader is able to identify other team members’ strengths and weaknesses and coach them to improve . They are also able to tie these skills to the company’s goals.

Coaching leadership is successful when the leader is creative, willing to collaborate, and can give concrete feedback. It’s also important that the coach knows when to step back and give the person autonomy. 

If you’ve ever had a bad coach, you know that coaching isn’t for everyone. When done poorly, coaching leadership can be seen as micromanaging . 

Pros of a coaching leadership style:

Coaching leadership can create an environment that is motivating and group members enjoy being a part of.

There are clear expectations, so team members’ skills can develop.

This style of leadership gives companies a competitive advantage, as it results in skilled individuals that are productive and willing to coach others.

Cons of a coaching leadership style:

Coaching leadership requires patience and time.

It only works if others are open to receiving this type of leadership. 

Coaching leaders rely heavily on relationships which can be difficult if there isn’t team chemistry. 

6. Affiliative leadership style

Affiliative leadership is relationship-focused. The intention of an affiliative leader is to create harmony. This charismatic leader works to build and foster relationships within the workplace which leads to a more collaborative and positive work environment. 

An affiliative leader is helpful when creating a new team or when in crisis, as both of these situations require trust. This leadership style can be harmful when the leader focuses too much on being a friend and is less concerned with productivity and company goals. 

Pros of an affiliative leadership style:

Team morale is boosted by positive and constructive feedback .

Interpersonal conflict is quickly stopped. 

Team members feel important and have less stress.

Affiliative leadership creates tightly knit teams that are empowered to help each other. 

Cons of an affiliative leadership style:

Some team members may be underperforming under the radar. A lack of clear roles can lead to social loafing . 

Affiliative leaders are reluctant to say anything negative which doesn’t help others grow.

The organization’s goals are often forgotten. 

Team members become emotionally dependent on the leader. If the leader were to change teams or leave, the rest of the team would be lost.

7. Democratic leadership style

Democratic leadership is the same concept as Lewin’s participative leadership. All team members are encouraged to participate and share ideas. As a result, the team feels empowered, even though the leader ultimately has the final say. 

Democratic leadership is successful in highly skilled teams, where members can provide fruitful contributions. It is less impactful for junior teams that don’t have as much experience or knowledge on the topic. It also shouldn’t be used in situations that need immediate action. 

Pros of a democratic leadership style:

Collaboration leads to creativity and innovation.

There is high employee engagement and trust. 

Common goals lead to high accountability and productivity .

Cons of a democratic leadership style:

Collaboration takes time.

Team members can lose trust if the leader makes a decision without their input. 

Democratic leadership isn’t successful if team members aren’t skilled.

8. Pacesetting leadership style

A pacesetting leader sets an example of high productivity, performance, and quality. Team members are supposed to follow in their footsteps. If team members can’t keep up, pacesetting leaders will step in and complete the task correctly. 

Pacesetting leadership is successful when the leader creates clear requirements and motivates team members to meet deadlines. It’s unsuccessful when team members lose trust in the leader and become stressed, overworked , or unmotivated. 

Pros of a pacesetting leadership style:

Pacesetting leaders are able to achieve business goals on time. 

Teams can be fully utilized with a pacesetting leader. 

Progress reports allow issues to be identified quickly. 

Cons of a pacesetting leadership style:

Pacesetting leadership can lead to stressed and unmotivated team members with low morale. 

Team members can lose trust if the leader is watching and correcting their every move.

A strong focus on results and deadlines can lead to less creativity. 

Limited feedback is given. 

9. Commanding leadership style

Commanding leadership is comparable to directive or coercive leadership. In this style, the leader has clear goals and objectives that they communicate to the team and expect others to follow. They put procedures and policies in place to create structure. 

Commanding leadership is typically used when other team members don’t have skills or expertise. In this scenario, the members need structure in order to know how to complete their tasks. It is also successful in emergency situations when there is no time for discussion. This leadership style should be used in combination with the others, if used at all. 

Pros of a commanding leadership style:

There are clear expectations that can improve job performance. 

It’s useful in times of crisis as decisions can be made quickly.

Commanding leadership can be helpful in groups of low-skill or inexperienced workers.

Commanding leaders can quickly identify if a team member is falling behind.

Cons of a commanding leadership style:

If the leader isn’t more experienced than the group, this leadership style fails. 

There is no collaboration, which stifles creativity.

Team morale can drop and employees aren’t as engaged.

There is a high dependency on the leader, causing a bottleneck . 

A commanding leader can easily turn into an autocratic leader.

Emotional leadership theory can easily be implemented into your day-to-day work. First, identify the type of team you’re working with. Then consider which leadership styles could best support your tasks. From there, try adjusting your emotional leadership style to match scenarios that arise. With a little practice, this theory could transform your leadership approach.

10. Transformational leadership style

In addition to Lewin’s leadership theory and the emotional leadership theory, there are two more noteworthy styles of leadership: transformational and transactional. 

Both of these styles were documented by Bernard M. Bass, an American psychologist who studied organizational behavior and leadership. While you might not know them by name yet, you’ve probably seen them in the workplace. 

Transformational vs. transactional leadership

Bernard M. Bass’s most popular theory is transformational leadership, also referred to as the four I’s. This theory was built on James MacGregor Burns’ concept from 1978 in which he explained , “leaders and followers help each other to advance a higher level of morale and motivation.” 

In this leadership style, transformational leaders effectively gain the trust and respect of others who want to follow them. The four I’s of transformational leadership are: individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. The four I’s are used to measure how transformational a leader is. 

Pros of a transformational leadership style:

Transformational leaders use coaching and encouragement to empower their team. 

Team members are seen as individuals, so all their unique skills can be put to use effectively. 

Teams are united in a common cause which leads to growth within the company.

Individuals are given freedom. 

Cons of a transformational leadership style:

Smaller tasks are easily forgotten which means it’s difficult to make the vision a reality.

The constant involvement of a leader can result in pressure and burnout. 

The leader’s goals must align with the company’s goals, or else it becomes risky. 

All team members must respect the leader and agree with their approach. 

11. Transactional leadership style

Transactional leadership was first conceptualized by sociologist Max Weber. It was then elaborated on by Bernard M. Bass in opposition to transformational leadership. 

Transactional leadership uses rewards and punishments to motivate team members. This type of leader believes that a clear chain of command will lead to better performance. Team members need to follow instructions and are closely monitored by the leader. 

Pros of a transactional leadership style:

Transactional leadership is useful in situations that have a clearly defined problem. 

This style of leadership can be helpful in a crisis as everyone has clear roles.

Group members know what is expected of them.  

Cons of a transactional leadership style:

Transactional leadership style stifles creativity of team members. 

Transactional leaders don’t support team members’ emotional needs. 

These types of leaders don’t reward the initiative of individuals. 

This leadership role doesn’t typically have long-term success because it’s too focused on short-term goals . 

Leadership vs. management

Leadership and management are often used interchangeably. However, the two have different meanings.

A leader uses their vision to push a company forward, while keeping the team inspired. They also have a positive social influence and are able to use it to benefit the organization. On the other hand, managers have an operational role in the company to keep projects on track using a specific management style . 

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Management is operational; it’s about setting priorities, evaluating priorities, hiring and firing decisions, compensation decisions, things like that. A leader is more of a coach, or even a spiritual guide. She is responsible for maintaining energy, keeping everyone on the team inspired and helping them grow, and for ensuring everyone is aligned in the same direction. A leader must be a point of strength and stability across changes.”

You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader. Leaders can be found in every role in a company, not just top-level positions. If you’re working on becoming a better leader within your role, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons of your current leadership style and what additional types of leadership you can aim to embody. 

Next, we’ll dive into various leadership styles and theories to help you better understand your style. You may even adopt some new strategies along the way.

What’s your leadership style?

As you can see, there are many different leadership theories and ways of thinking about leadership. 

Lewin’s theory places leaders into one of three groups, participative being the most effective. Emotional leadership theory gives six leadership styles that an effective leader will deploy at different times, depending on the situation. Bass gives us two opposing styles—transformational and transactional—one which motivates by empowering others while the other motivates with rewards and punishments.  

There isn’t one correct leadership style, but there is a style that you’re likely naturally drawn to. Which style did you relate to the most? What’s your default? Understand the pros and cons so that you can become a leader that empowers your team to thrive. If you’re having trouble leading consciously with your current method, consider trying a new leadership approach. 

Effective leadership styles empower your team

A leadership style is a classification of how you put your leadership skills into action. As we already know, leaders have many strengths. They spend their days on various responsibilities, from motivating others and thinking creatively to solving problems and taking risks. No two leaders are the same, though—how one approaches the same set of tasks can be vastly different from the next.

Leaders are tasked with ensuring teams are meeting the goals of an organization. Work management software will help ensure your team is on the same page, no matter where you’re leading them from. 

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Home / Degrees / Education / What is Task-Oriented Leadership?

What is Task-Oriented Leadership?

task leadership style

Students of leadership will find that the task-oriented style fits the definition of a manager while the people-oriented style focuses on the characteristics of a leader. According to the Center for Leadership Development, “The manager’s job is to plan, organize and coordinate. The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.”

Leadership students need to understand the difference between task- and relations-oriented styles because they are likely to encounter both over the course of their careers. Which leadership style is better? Which style would you prefer as a future leader or future employee?

Task-oriented leadership definition

What is task-oriented leadership? Perhaps the most concise definition of task-oriented leadership is “doing whatever it takes to get the job done.” The approach tends to be autocratic and emphasizes completing tasks required to meet organizational goals.

While it has its place in a modern workplace, task-oriented leadership can lack attention to the well-being of team members, which can prove to be a deficiency in many leadership scenarios.

Qualities and examples of task-oriented leadership

A task-oriented leader places a heavy emphasis on structure, plans, and schedules for getting things done. The task-oriented leadership style might include:

When should this type of leadership be used? Why does task-oriented leadership work? One prudent principle of modern leadership theory is that leaders should base their approach on each unique situation they face. If certain team members have poor time management skills, task-oriented leadership is a possible solution. Also, a workplace with tight deadlines can benefit from task-oriented leadership.

Apparently William Shakespeare advocated this leadership approach centuries ago with his observation, “Better three hours too soon than one minute too late.”

Potential drawbacks of task-oriented leadership

Because task-oriented leadership is essentially an autocratic style, it can lead to retention and motivation problems.

Jim Collins, author of the leadership classic “Good to Great,” summed up what’s at stake for most leaders: “Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.”

Contemporary leadership studies have illustrated that both task-oriented and relations-oriented leadership models are too simplistic for many modern workplace environments. Additionally, the increased prominence of individuals and “knowledge workers” (a term popularized by Peter Drucker) has made the leadership process more complicated.

As a result, task-oriented leadership as a distinct leadership style often has been replaced by more specialized approaches such as situational and transformational leadership .

One thing’s for certain: students of leadership need to learn to be flexible.

“The kind of thinking that led to past success will not lead to future success.”

— Ken Blanchard, John Carlos, and Alan Randolph (“Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute”)

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if(typeof ez_ad_units!='undefined'){ez_ad_units.push([[468,60],'howigotjob_com-box-2','ezslot_21',621,'0','0'])};__ez_fad_position('div-gpt-ad-howigotjob_com-box-2-0'); What is Task-Oriented Leadership?- Its Definition, And Examples

Leaders are the backbone of teams and organizations. A leader’s decision can have an overall impact on an organization. Thus, the rise or fall of an organization is tied to the effectiveness of the leader and the efficiency of the processes the leader adopts to actualize organizational goals. Effective leadership is needed to drive the realization of the goals and objectives of an organization. In this article, we take an in-depth look at the definition of task-oriented leadership and examples. 

Task-oriented leadership is leadership style that is an umbrella term used for leaders who are autocratic in their style of leading their followers or subordinates. They focus on tasks rather than people. They are authoritative and ensure things are done in their own way. They are insensitive to the needs of employees or subordinates as opposed to people-oriented leadership that is employee-centric .

What Is Task Oriented Leadership?

Task oriented leadership is an autocratic style of leadership that is more concerned about executing set goals and objectives within a specific time frame no matter the cost. Task-oriented leaders put more emphasis on getting the job done than on the well-being of the individuals carrying out the task. 

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Characteristics of A Task Oriented Leader

Strategies of task oriented leadership , skills of task oriented leaders, advantages of task oriented leadership .

The task-oriented leader is meticulous in his approach to getting things done. He sets clear, specific, and easy-to-follow work schedules with the exact time for completion of each task. 

A task-oriented leader is well acquainted with the nitty-gritty of a job. The leader has a well-rounded knowledge of what it takes to get the job done, the resources and skills that are needed to execute the task. As such, he delegates work to be done appropriately. 

Disadvantages of Task Oriented Leadership 

There is no allowance for the adjustment of time for the completion of a task. The processes are rigid. No form of flexibility can be entertained. Employees must complete their tasks within a specified deadline. Employees are always subjected to working under pressure to complete tasks at specified deadlines. 

Forms Of Task Oriented Leadership 

This type of task-oriented leader is a perfectionist and is constantly raising the bar high for their employees. Higher goals are set each time a task is completed.  There is usually no breathing space for employees. Because they are highly goal-oriented, lots of pressure are exerted on employees.

Examples of Task Oriented Leadership 

Martha Stewart is a  businesswoman, magazine publisher, and cookbook author. Her success in the media industry is credited to her autocratic style of leadership which made her powerful. 

“If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected.”

Also, in an article for “The Telegraph”, Richard Branson the founder of Virgin Atlantic wrote that “Steve Jobs’ leadership style was autocratic; he had a meticulous eye for detail and surrounded himself with like-minded people to follow his lead”. 

Related Questions 

The people-oriented leadership style is focused on people rather than processes, structures, and procedures. While the task-oriented leader is focused on getting things done, following through with a plan, and staying on course, the people-oriented leader is concerned about the employee’s wellbeing and feelings. Leadership and management proponents say employees will gravitate towards either form of leadership style. The key is understanding which leadership style best helps the employee to be effective and efficient. 

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Leadership Styles

The behavioral approach employed by leaders to influence, motivate, and direct their followers

What are Leadership Styles?

Leadership styles refer to the behavioral approach employed by leaders to influence, motivate, and direct their followers. A leadership style determines how leaders implement plans and strategies to accomplish given objectives while accounting for stakeholder expectations and the wellbeing and soundness of their team.

Leadership styles have been studied in various fora to establish the appropriate or most effective leadership style that motivates and influences others to accomplish set goals. The major tenet of effective leadership style is the degree to which it builds follower trust.

Studies carried out indicate that followers who trust in their leader are more likely to follow through with the leader’s instructions over and above the expected. In turn, they will accomplish set goals while being allowed to speak freely to air their ideas and suggestions on the direction of the projects at hand.

The leadership styles discussed in this article are based on studies and findings by several accomplished leadership researchers, which include Robert K. Greenleaf, Karl Lewis, Daniel Goleman, Bruce Avolio, and Bernard M. Bass.

Why Do Leadership Styles Matter?

A leadership style adopted by any leader is usually a combination of their personality, life experiences, level of emotional intelligence , family dynamics, and way of thinking. Thus, leaders should be able to understand their leadership style in relation to a combination of traits listed above and determine how best they can be more effective.

Effective leadership has more to do with leadership style. Hence, a leader’s ability to take charge and know whether a situation requires an executive decision or a more consultative one is vital. Furthermore, a leader needs to have the ability to know the most effective leadership style that is suitable for an organization or situation to succeed. Understanding one’s leadership style allows a leader to take ownership, control, and responsibility for the size and scope of the tasks ahead.

A study by Daniel Coleman in a Harvard Business Review article, Leadership That Gets Results , reviewed and analyzed more than 3,000 middle-level managers to find out specific leadership behaviors and their effect on profitability. The results revealed that a manager’s leadership style was responsible for 30% of the company’s bottom-line profitability.

An understanding of one’s leadership style and the ability to be flexible based on changing circumstances will likely result in the additional benefits below:

Below are the most common leadership styles.

Common Leadership Styles

Leadership Styles

1. Democratic Leadership

A democratic leadership style is where a leader makes decisions based on the input received from team members. It is a collaborative and consultative leadership style where each team member has an opportunity to contribute to the direction of ongoing projects. However, the leader holds the final responsibility to make the decision.

Democratic leadership is one of the most popular and effective leadership styles because of its ability to provide lower-level employees a voice making it equally important in the organization. It is a style that resembles how decisions are made in company boardrooms. Democratic leadership can culminate in a vote to make decisions.

Democratic leadership also involves delegation of authority to other people who determine work assignments. It utilizes the skills and experiences of team members in carrying out tasks.

The democratic leadership style encourages creativity and engagement of team members, which often leads to high job satisfaction and high productivity. However, establishing a consensus among team members can be time-consuming and costly, especially in cases where decisions need to be made swiftly.

2. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is the direct opposite of democratic leadership. In this case, the leader makes all decisions on behalf of the team without taking any input or suggestions from them. The leader holds all authority and responsibility. They have absolute power and dictate all tasks to be undertaken. There is no consultation with employees before a decision is made. After the decision is made, everyone is expected to support the decision made by the leader. There is often some level of fear of the leader by the team.

The autocratic type of leadership style can be very retrogressive as it fuels employee disgruntlement since most decisions would not be in the employees’ interests. An example can be a unilateral increase in working hours or a change in other working conditions unfavorable to employees but made by leadership to increase production. Without employee consultation, the manager may not be fully aware of why production is not increasing, thereby resorting to a forced increase in working hours. It can lead to persistent absenteeism and high employee turnover .

However, autocratic leadership can be an effective approach in cases where the leader is experienced and knowledgeable about the circumstances surrounding the decision in question and where the decision needs to be made swiftly. There are other instances where it is also ideal such as when a decision does not require team input or an agreement to ensure a successful outcome.

3. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership is accurately defined as a hands-off or passive approach to leadership. Instead, leaders provide their team members with the necessary tools, information, and resources to carry out their work tasks. The “let them be” style of leadership entails that a leader steps back and lets team members work without supervision and free to plan, organize, make decisions, tackle problems, and complete the assigned projects.

The laissez-faire leadership approach is empowering to employees who are creative, skilled, and self-motivated. The level of trust and independence given to the team can prove to be uplifting and productive and can lead to job satisfaction.

At the same time, it is important to keep such a type of leadership in check as chaos and confusion can quickly ensue if the team is not organized. The team can end up doing completely different things contrary to what the leader expects.

According to research, laissez-faire leadership is the least satisfying and least effective.

4. Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is all about transforming the business or groups by inspiring team members to keep increasing their bar and achieve what they never thought they were capable of. Transformational leaders expect the best out of their team and push them consistently until their work, lives, and businesses go through a transformation or considerable improvement.

Transformational leadership is about cultivating change in organizations and people. The transformation is done through motivating team members to go beyond their comfort zone and achieve much more than their perceived capabilities. To be effective, transformational leaders should possess high levels of integrity, emotional intelligence, a shared vision of the future, empathy, and good communication skills.

Such a style of leadership is often associated with high growth-oriented organizations that push boundaries in innovation and productivity. Practically, such leaders tend to give employees tasks that grow in difficulty and deadlines that keep getting tighter as time progresses.

However, transformational leaders risk losing track of individual learning curves as some team members may not receive appropriate coaching and guidance to get through challenging tasks. At the same time, transformational leaders can lead to high productivity and engagement through shared trust and vision between the leader and employees.

5. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership is more short-term and can best be described as a “give and take” kind of transaction. Team members agree to follow their leader on job acceptance; therefore, it’s a transaction involving payment for services rendered. Employees are rewarded for exactly the work they would’ve performed. If you meet a certain target, you receive the bonus that you’ve been promised. It is especially so in sales and marketing jobs.

Transactional leadership establishes roles and responsibilities for each team member and encourages the work to be completed as scheduled. There are instances where incentive programs can be employed over and above regular pay. In addition to incentives, there are penalties imposed to regulate how work should be done.

Transactional leadership is a more direct way of leadership that eliminates confusion between leader and subordinate, and tasks are clearly spelled out by the leader. However, due to its rigid environment and direct expectations, it may curb creativity and innovation. It can also lead to lower job satisfaction and high employee turnover.

6. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership is a “go by the book” type of leadership. Processes and regulations are followed according to policy with no room for flexibility. Rules are set on how work should be done, and bureaucratic leaders ensure that team members follow these procedures meticulously. Input from employees is considered by the leader; however, it is rejected if it does not conform to organizational policy. New ideas flow in a trickle, and a lot of red tape is present. Another characteristic is a hierarchical authority structure implying that power flows from top to bottom and is assigned to formal titles.

Bureaucratic leadership is often associated with large, “century-old” organizations where success has come through the employment of traditional practices. Hence, proposing a new strategy at these organizations is met with fierce resistance, especially if it is new and innovative. New ideas are viewed as wasteful and ineffective, or even downright risky.

Although there is less control and more freedom than an autocratic leadership style, there is still no motivation to be innovative or go the extra mile. It is, therefore, not suitable for young, ambitious organizations on a growth path.

Bureaucratic leadership is suitable for jobs involving safety risks or managing valuable items such as large amounts of money or gold. It is also ideal for managing employees who perform routine work.

7. Servant Leadership

Servant leadership involves a leader being a servant to the team first before being a leader. A servant leader strives to serve the needs of their team above their own. It is also a form of leading by example. Servant leaders try to find ways to develop, elevate and inspire people following their lead to achieve the best results.

Servant leadership requires leaders with high integrity and munificence. It creates a positive organizational culture and high morale among team members. It also creates an ethical environment characterized by strong values and ideals.

However, other scholars believe servant leadership may not be suitable for competitive situations where other leaders compete with servant leaders. Servant leaders can easily fall behind more ambitious leaders. The servant leadership style is also criticized for not being agile enough to respond to tight deadlines and high-velocity organizations or situations.

Other Leadership Styles

1. coach-style leadership.

Coach-style leadership involves identifying and nurturing individual strengths and formulating strategies for the team to blend and work well together, cohesively and successfully.

2. Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership employs charisma to motivate and inspire followers. Leaders use eloquent communication skills to unite a team towards a shared vision. However, due to the charismatic leaders’ overwhelming disposition, they can see themselves as bigger than the team and lose track of the important tasks.

3. Strategic Leadership

Strategic leadership leads the company’s main operations and coordinates its growth opportunities. The leader can support multiple employee layers at the same time.

Which Leadership Style is the Best?

No one leadership style fits all organizations or situations. In addition, there is no one right way to lead, and there may be a need to switch between different leadership styles. It is therefore important to know all leadership styles and their pros and cons. The right leadership approach is often determined by the following factors:

A consideration of the above factors will likely determine the appropriate leadership style to adopt or an appropriate combination of certain leadership styles.

More Resources

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to the different Leadership Styles. To keep advancing your career, the additional CFI resources below will be useful:

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task leadership style

7 Key Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

task leadership style

The task-oriented leadership style is often a bit controversial when it comes to leadership styles. When compared to people-oriented or relationship-oriented leadership, it is quite often seen as narrow-minded and blunt. While that may be the case, it still has its place in the realm of leadership. 

The great NFL Coach Vince Lombardi demonstrated it best when he said

“Winning isn’t the only thing. It’s everything.”

Coach Lombardi proves to be a prime example in task-oriented leadership . His task? Winning. His method? Do whatever it takes to get the job done.

What is task-oriented leadership?

Task-oriented leadership is a directive style of leadership specifying tasks and goals. Task-oriented leaders provide steps and a plan to meet the goals of an organization. In task-oriented leadership, the leader can achieve a specific standard of performance in their direction. You can choose task-oriented leadership as a style to incorporate your management skills in the business.

Task-oriented leadership is highly goal focused and complete the objectives within specified deadlines. Task-oriented leaders define the roles of the whole team, supporting them. Task-oriented leaders provide specific work tools, resources, and other tools to get the job done. In this kind of leadership, everything is focused on achieving the task.

What are the Strengths and strategies of task-oriented leadership?

This directive kind of leadership strives to ensure the achievement of deadlines. This type of leadership is much different than relationship-oriented leadership, which focuses on developing strong bonds and being emotionally supportive for many reasons:

In specific circumstances and situations, employees require and thirst for direction.

Being direct provides step by step solutions to problems and tasks that need to complete on specific deadlines.

These types of leaders actively understand the employee requirements for completing the assignments and getting the job done. Leaders who are competent style are especially beneficial for industries that need to fulfill strict targets.

Task-oriented leaders know how to divide the work according to the team’s strengths, competencies, and roles within the time limit required. They understand their resource limitations and make defined plans to assign the work to highly effective and efficient employees to meet the closing date. In this way, the leader can achieve results more successfully than any other kind of leadership.

“In startups there can at times be a lot of shifting priorities, changing dynamics in the market and what can at times only be called chaos. In this case the CEO has to be what’s called a “wartime CEO.” She has to convey calm confidence and give clear direction. That is not consensus – “tell me what you think we should do.” That is not empathetic – “tell me how you feel.” It is directive – “let me tell you what I need you to do . ” This is essential during these kinds of times since things are moving so fast the CEO has to offer up a clear beacon for people to follow.”

Alisa Cohn – #1 Startup Coach in the World – Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Leading Coaches Awards

Seven key strengths of task-oriented leadership are:

These skills and strategies which help you become more focused on results and outcomes. It will help if you are typically less concerned about catering constantly to emotional requirements rather than the tasks to be completed.

What are the weaknesses of task-oriented leadership?

The weakness of task-oriented leadership is that it ignores the welfare and happiness of the staff. Being focused on the task can result in the leader ignoring some critical issues that may come up within the team. Pushing the staff to complete the job without paying attention to their personal needs can result in a negative environment within the workplace, which can lead the workforce to be less productive.

Task-oriented leadership tends to stifle ground-breaking, creative, or spontaneous work. Instead, employees typically follow orders, have fixed deadlines for the projects, and have less or no flexibility in completing the tasks. The team that works under this kind of leadership can often lack interest, inspiration, and enthusiasm to go beyond the limits.

With few chances to explore new ideas, the staff gets limited in their ability to develop into more complex job roles. Development and training are formal in this environment, which limits staff development opportunities.

Famous examples of task-oriented leaders:

An excellent example of task-oriented leaders is the project managers who are in charge of big projects. Project managers are typically concerned with completing the project within the specified time limit and attaining the project goals.

Good examples of business leaders in this category are the low-level managers in the association who are accountable for the day-to-day operations of the enterprise. They are excellent at arranging processes and tasks necessary to implement projects dictated by middle-level managers.

This leadership type includes various small tasks and will deploy work appropriately to guarantee that everything completes in a productive and promising way. Process-oriented leadership will be appropriate in areas where management of processes is essential to meet the stated expectations. Process-oriented leaders understand that productivity is one of the paramount factors in meeting goals. Command and control of operations in small groups are essential and yield much success in the attainment of goals.

He is the CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world, but also the eighth largest company in the world on Forbes’ Global 2000 list, Apple. Cook has helped navigate Apple through the evolution after Jobs’ death and opening Apple retail stores in China. About leadership, his views are:

“It’s about finding your values and committing to them. It’s about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”

Sheryl Sandberg:

She has been the CEO of Facebook and has been an advocate for women in business. She is a great task-oriented leader and says:

“ Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence. ”

Jack Ma was the first businessperson from mainland China to give an impression on the cover of Forbes magazine. He founded Alibaba Group, a group of internet companies. He is the richest man in China. Look what he says about the leadership:

“ Leadership is your instinct, and then it’s your training. Leaders are always positive; they never complain. ”

Bill Gates:

Who doesn’t know about Bill Gates? As the founder of Microsoft, he is listed as the second richest person in the world, with a current net worth of $108.8 billion, according to Forbes. Although this might change by the time you are reading this article, Jeff Bezos might be ranked #1.

“ If you give people tools, [and they use] their natural ability and their curiosity, they will develop things in ways that will surprise you very much beyond what you might have expected. ”

Please also read Amazon Leadership Principles .

What are other forms of leadership that are not task-oriented?

There is much research on task-oriented leadership and other styles of leadership. Therefore it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of any of them. Each of them has its pros and cons. Have a look at other forms of leadership.

Public oriented leadership:

People-oriented leadership is just the opposite of task-oriented leadership. In this type of leadership, the leader is more concerned about the well being of people and public perception. The leader is more concerned with the effect of his decisions over his people or employees. It requires the high involvement of the leader in any task. Democratic leadership is said to be the public-oriented leadership. It can take a longer time to make effective decisions. Thus it also requires the opinions of the team members.

Relationship oriented leadership:

Relationship-oriented leaders are concerned with motivating people through positive communication, moral support, and active listening. The relationship-oriented leader focuses on satisfaction and motivation.

Final words:

All organizations need task-oriented leadership – if it didn’t exist, very few tasks would ever get completed. You need to meet deadlines, explain the procedures to clients, and then enjoy the best outcomes.

Management is most associated with task-oriented leadership. It is essential to balance this type of leadership with relationship-oriented leadership to avoid dysfunctional working relationships.

Leaders should consider well being, stress management, and work-life balance so that the workforce will become more productive and highly engaged.

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Relationship Vs. Task Leadership style

February 17, 2022 by nmr5634

Task vs. relationship leadership

We all have to identify who in our lives are our leaders and who we are leaders to. Whether that may make you go on a “power trip”, you should identify and understand that both the leader and follower of that specific organization, group, company etc. are all in it for the same end goal. How would the style of that leader benefit from its followers? Would it be by getting straight to the point or getting to know their followers to achieve that goal?

When examining a leader and their styles is good to categorize them by what they value as a leader. A leader who is mainly about achieving a specific goal regardless of other circumstances, then he/she are most likely a task-based leader. A leader who encourages on relying on procedures and assigning tasks based on the employee’s strengths and weaknesses is going to be categorized as a relationship-based leader. According to Northouse, task leadership considers the elements involved in task accomplishments from organizing work and defining roles to determining policies and procedures to facilitate production (Northouse, 2021, pg. 85). A better understanding of what this leadership is according to Northouse is that the task-oriented style is the opposite from what the relationship orientation style of leadership. Relationship oriented leadership behaviors focus on the well being of its followers and how they all relate with one another (Northouse, 2021, pg. 85). In this blog, behaviors of both task and relationship styles will be explored as well as, examples from real world scenarios will be explained.

First and foremost, when we think of our favorite leaders, we often think of the ones who motivate, encourage, and relate with us the most. When we think of bad leaders, we often think about the ones who may act like they don’t want to be there, inconvenience staff (aka, the followers), and don’t care about guests or customers. The list could go on in many different directions. When we think about a good leader and how they are with their employees, a good foundation for their work is getting to know their staff and how to implement the tasks needed to reach their goal. In the Ohio State studies, it was believed that the results of studying leadership as a personality was pointless and rather so, they decided to analyze how individuals acted when leading a group instead (Northouse, 2021, pg. 85). In a questionnaire, given to the leader’s followers, they had to rate the behavior of that leader. Examples of those questions asked were:

“He/She lets subordinates know when they’ve done a good job.

He/She sets clear expectations about performance.

He/She shows concern for subordinates as individuals.

He/She makes subordinates feel at ease. (PSU WC, 2022, L.5).”

This questionnaire that was used is called the Leader behavior description questionnaire (LBDQ). This questionnaire was to analyze and depict the kind of behaviors used during their leadership. Followers categorized the behaviors into two clusters, and those were if they initiated structure or consideration for the followers. The Ohio state studies came to a conclusion that a leader can be either high in initiating structure or high or low on consideration (PSU WC, 2022, L.5). Based on these studies, a way to determine if a leader is task oriented or relationship oriented in their leadership style is based on the Ohio studies is to see how followers answered the questions and if the leader scored high on the consideration aspect of the questionnaire. A leader who got a higher score would mean that they are nurturing to their followers and associate their success with the importance of their trust, respect and liking amongst themselves with their followers. Someone who scored higher on the initiative of structure may focus mainly on assigning roles, organization, and schedules (PSU WC, 2022, L.5).

Along with determining whether someone’s leadership style is task oriented or relationship oriented, these all come with certain traits that distinguish the two apart. According to Northouse, there are five major leadership traits and those are: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability (Northouse, 2021, pg. 32). Out of those five traits, the one that would most likely resonate with task-oriented leaders would be determination. “Determination is the desire to get the job done and include characteristics such as initiative, persistence, dominance and drive (Northouse, 2021, pg. 33).” A task-oriented leader would need to contain this trait in order to even be considered a “task oriented” leader. Hence, the description of “getting things done.” On the other hand, a relationship-oriented leader would need the sociability trait out of those five traits. “Sociability is a leader’s inclination to seek out pleasant social relationships (Northouse, 2021, pg. 34).” Connecting with followers and understanding them to work toward the end goal that is shared among the leader and other followers is important. A leader who is oriented this way finds it easier to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their followers as mentioned before. By doing this, it is easier to assign specific roles to the followers liking. This also enhances the follower’s motivation to completing a task.

Personally, I have worked with both task-oriented leaders and relationship-oriented leaders. Traits that come out from task-oriented leaders from my experiences were one’s that were determined and had self-discipline. They took the responsibility for being in charge or their followers and made sure that all tasks were done correctly. On the other hand, a relationship-oriented leader that I had also was very successful because of the relationships amongst the followers (employees). When you build that trust and connection with those who need to take orders from, they respect you more to do it right. Many employees will do the bare-minimum work because of that lack of connection between them and their leader. I think that is a common issue among leaders and followers and that is their lack of respect and integrity. Another trait that most of those relationship-oriented leaders contain is a high level of emotional intelligence and extraversion. Those traits help leaders become closely connected with their followers. I think this because without that emotional intelligence trait, leaders wouldn’t be able to understand the needs of their followers.

When you look at both of these approaches and combine them together, you find a very great leader who is able to get jobs done while also gaining the trust and respect from their followers.

task leadership style

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2022). PSYCH 485 Lesson 5: Style and situational approaches. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2177519/modules/items/33991684

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February 21, 2022 at 6:53 am

Leadership style consists of an individual’s traits and behaviors, and how they utilize those to influence others. Identifying a leader as either relationship oriented or task oriented is critical to understanding their leadership behaviors and as such, is the foundation for the behavioral approach to leadership. Using the situational approach, specifically, Blanchard’s SLII model, the task-oriented leader you describe would utilize directive behaviors (Northouse, 2021). As you referenced by citing Northouse (2021), task leadership relies on understanding the components necessary for completing a task and then putting plan in place to facilitate goal achievement (nmr5634, 2022). The use of directive behaviors enables task-oriented leaders to assist followers in achieving tasks by providing directions, establishing goals, setting timelines, and defining roles (Northouse, 2021, p. 110).

Alternatively, under the situational approach, the relationship-oriented leader you describe would utilize supportive behaviors. You identify relationship-oriented leaders as those who influence their followers through support and by assigning tasks based on followers’ strengths and weaknesses (nmr5634, 2022). This suggests a leader who takes the time to know and understand his followers, and who leverages those relationships for success. The use of supportive behaviors enables relationship-based leaders to assist followers in achieving tasks by making them feel comfortable about themselves, their peers, and the situation they are in (Northouse, 2021, p. 110).

What is evident between the two styles is that task-oriented leaders are more directive in their approach, making clear what needs accomplished and the expectations for doing so, while relationship-oriented leaders are more supportive in their approach, focusing on making connections with their followers (Northouse, 2021, pg. 85). I like that in your conclusion, you suggest a blend of task oriented and relationship-oriented leadership styles creates an effective leader who can accomplish goals while simultaneously, earning trust and respect from followers.

Upon reading your post, I found myself curious to know which of the styles you found most effective. Additionally, to what extent do you believe that situation plays a role in leader-follower success? I believe it is helpful to use situational approach to expand upon the behavioral approach when trying to explicate effective leadership styles. The SLII model helps to demonstrate how directive and supportive behaviors interact to create blended leadership styles; high directive-low supportive, high directive-high supportive, high supportive-low directive, and low-supportive-low directive (Northouse, 2021, pp. 110-111). This approach appeals to me the most because it focuses on the situation and emphasizes leader flexibility in choosing the most effective approach within the given situation (Northouse, 2021, p. 115).

Great post nmr5634 and thank you for sharing!

nmr5634. (2022, February 17). Relationship Vs. Task Leadership Style. Leadership. Retrieved from https://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2022/02/17/relationship-vs-task-leadership-styles/

Northouse, P.G. (2021). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 9th Edition. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. ISBN 978-1-5443-9756-6.

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People-Oriented vs. Task-Oriented Leadership: Finding the Right Balance for Success

People-Oriented vs. Task-Oriented Leadership : Finding the Right Balance for Success


Leadership is a critical aspect of any organization or group, and it can be categorized into different styles. Two of the most popular leadership styles are people-oriented and task-oriented leadership. Both styles have their unique characteristics, and understanding the difference between them can help leaders make informed decisions about how to manage their teams. In this blog, we’ll explore the difference between people-oriented and task-oriented leadership, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to determine which style is best for your team.

What is People-Oriented Leadership?

People-oriented leadership is a leadership style that prioritizes the well-being, happiness, and satisfaction of the team members . Leaders who adopt a people-oriented leadership style focus on building relationships with their team members, understanding their needs, and creating a positive work environment. They listen to their team members’ opinions and ideas and encourage open communication. People-oriented leaders are supportive, empathetic, and approachable.

Advantages of People-Oriented Leadership:

Disadvantages of People-Oriented Leadership:

What is Task-Oriented Leadership?

Task-oriented leadership is a leadership style that prioritizes achieving specific goals and completing tasks . Leaders who adopt a task-oriented leadership style focus on setting goals, delegating tasks, and monitoring progress. They are results-driven and prioritize efficiency and productivity over relationships. Task-oriented leaders are assertive, confident, and efficient.

Advantages of Task-Oriented Leadership:

Disadvantages of Task-Oriented Leadership:

How to Determine Which Leadership Style is Best for Your Team:

The best leadership style for your team depends on several factors, including the team’s goals, the team members’ personalities, and the organizational culture. Here are some tips to help you determine which leadership style is best for your team:

People-oriented leadership focuses on building relationships, inspiring and empowering employees, and creating a positive work environment. Task-oriented leadership, on the other hand, emphasizes achieving goals, meeting targets, and completing tasks efficiently.

While both approaches have their strengths, studies have shown that people-oriented leadership can lead to higher job satisfaction, employee motivation, and overall team performance. This is because employees who feel valued and supported by their leaders are more likely to be engaged in their work and to contribute their best efforts to achieving team goals.

Task-oriented leadership , on the other hand, can be effective in situations where clear direction and strong focus are needed to achieve specific objectives. This approach can be useful in fast-paced work environments, such as in manufacturing or production settings, where efficiency and productivity are critical to success.

However, the most effective leaders are those who can balance both people-oriented and task-oriented approaches. By prioritizing both the needs of their employees and the goals of the organization, these leaders can create a positive work culture that fosters high performance, employee engagement, and overall success.

In conclusion, the choice between people-oriented and task-oriented leadership depends on the situation and the needs of the team or organization. While both approaches have their strengths, the most effective leaders are those who can balance both approaches and prioritize both the well-being of their employees and the success of the organization.

As a leading technology company, CronJ has implemented various leadership styles based on the needs of the team and the project . Our team of experts has experience in both people-oriented and task-oriented leadership and knows when and how to use each approach effectively.


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The 6 most common leadership styles & how to find yours

Throughout history, great leaders have emerged, each with particular leadership styles.

Leadership in itself is a somewhat fluid principle. Generally, most leaders adapt their leadership styles to suit their situation. This is particularly true the longer they lead; they adapt their leadership style as they learn and engage with their employees.

To become a more successful leader, leaders must understand their current leadership style. In this article, we’ll answer the question “what a leadership style?” , then look at 6 of the most common leadership styles and their effectiveness.

The six most common leadership styles are:

What is a leadership style?

A leadership style refers to a leader’s methods, characteristics, and behaviors when directing, motivating, and managing their teams . A leader’s style is shaped by a variety of factors, including personality, values, skills, and experiences, and can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of their leadership.

Their leadership style also determines how leaders develop their strategy , implement plans and respond to changes while managing stakeholders’ expectations and their team’s well-being.

In many cases leaders will express a wide-range of leadership styles – and will likely adapt this dependent on their situation. However, leader will often have one pre-eminent style that they tend to express more often.

Why is it important to know your own leadership style?

As a leader, understanding your leadership style is critically important. When you understand your leadership style, you can determine how this affects those you directly influence. It also helps you find your leadership strengths and define which leadership skills to develop.

Some leaders can already categorize their current leadership style, recognizing whether this makes them effective. Or how their employees see them. But it is not always so defined. It is usually the case that leaders can categorize their style; however, they often exhibit traits of many other leadership styles.

Detailed feedback is one easy way to know your leadership style. Asking those who you lead to provide you with open and honest feedback is a helpful exercise. Doing so will allow you to adapt your style’s characteristics within your day-to-day responsibilities as a leader.

Ready to discover your leadership style? 🚀

1. transformational leadership.

We’ve likely all been in a group situation where someone took control, communicating with the group and creating a shared vision. Creating unity, developing bonds, creating energy, and instilling passion. This person is very likely to be considered a transformational leader.

Transformational leadership is a leadership style that emphasiz es change and transformation . Leaders who adopt this approach strive to inspire their followers to achieve more than they ever thought possible by tapping into their potential. This type of leadership can be highly effective in organizations looking to make significant changes or transformations.

Some of the key characteristics of transformational leadership include:

A focus on the future: Transformational leaders always look ahead and think about what needs to be done to achieve the organization’s goals. They inspire their followers to do the same.

A focus on change: Transformational leaders are comfortable with change and understand it is necessary for organizational success. They work to ensure their followers are comfortable with change and can adapt to it.

A focus on people: Transformational leaders see the potential in every one of their followers. They strive to develop their followers’ individual strengths and abilities so that they can reach their full potential.

Read more about transformational leadership »

2. Delegative Leadership

Often referred to as “laissez-faire,” a  delegative leadership  style focuses on delegating initiative to team members. This is generally known as one of the least intrusive forms of leadership; this translates to “let them do.” This is therefore considered a very hand-off leadership style.

Leaders who adopt this style have trust and rely on their employees to do their jobs. They don’t micromanage or get too involved in providing feedback or guidance. Instead, delegative leaders allow employees to utilize their creativity, resources, and experience to help them meet their goals.

This can be a successful leadership strategy if team members are competent and take responsibility for their work. However, delegative leadership can also lead to disagreements among team members and may split or divide a group.

It can be challenging for newcomers to adapt to this style of leadership or staff members to develop an understanding of who is ultimately in charge and responsible for outcomes. Therefore, this leadership style must be kept in check.

Read more about delegative leadership »

3. Authoritative Leadership

Authoritative leaders are often referred to as visionary. Leaders who adopt this style consider themselves mentors to their followers. Not to be confused with authoritarian leadership, authoritative leadership emphasizes a “follow me” approach. This way, leaders chart a course and encourage those around them to follow.

Leaders who display authoritative traits tend to motivate and inspire those around them. They provide overall direction and provide their teams with guidance, feedback, and motivation. This promotes a sense of accomplishment or achievement.

The authoritative leadership style relies heavily on getting to know each team member. This allows a leader to provide guidance and feedback on a more personalized level, helping individuals to succeed. This means authoritative leaders need to be able to adapt, particularly as the size of their team grows.

Authoritative leadership is very hands-on, but leaders must be cautious not to micromanage. This is a tendency with this style, which can be overbearing for team members and create negative sentiments.

Read more about authoritative leadership »

4. Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership, often referred to as managerial leadership, is a leadership style that relies on rewards and punishments. This leadership style clearly emphasizes structure , assuming individuals may not possess the motivation needed to complete their tasks.

With this reward-based system, a leader sets clear team goals or tasks. Leaders also clarify how their teams will be rewarded (or punished) for their work. Rewards can take many formats but typically involve financial recompenses, such as pay or a bonus.

This “give and take”  leadership style  is more concerned with efficiently follow ing established routines and procedures than making transformational organizational changes.

Transactional leadership establishes roles and responsibilities for each employee. However, it can lead to diminishing returns if employees are always aware of how much their effort is worth. Therefore, incentives must be consistent with company goals and supported by additional gestures of appreciation.

Read more about transactional leadership »

5. Participative Leadership

Sometimes referred to as democratic leadership, participative leadership is a leadership style that encourages leaders to listen to their employees and involve them in the decision-making proces s. This leadership style requires leaders to be inclusive, utilize good communication skills, and, crucially, be able to share power/responsibility.

When a leader adopts a participative leadership style, this encourages collaboration through accountability. This often leads to a collective effort of a team to identify problems and develop solutions instead of assigning individual blame.

This leadership style has historically been prevalent and utilized by many leaders in many organizations. However, as working habits have changed (accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic) and teams have become more decentralized, this leadership style is more complicated.

Spontaneous, open, and candid communication is often associated with a participative leadership style. Remote working or virtual teams can make this particularly challenging to maintain.

Participative leadership is often favored as it helps to build trust with employees. Empowering them and encouraging them to share their ideas on essential matters, demonstrating their value to a team.

Read more about participative leadership »

6. Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is a leadership style that puts the needs of others first . It emphasizes creating strong relationships with those around you and focuses on enabling them to reach their full potential. As a leader, it requires focusing on understanding the people you are working with and developing their abilities, while also setting a good example and understanding their personal goals.

At its core, servant leadership is about ethical decision making ; if one follows this model they will be more likely to make decisions based on what is right for everyone involved, rather than just benefitting a select few. This approach fosters an environment where creativity and problem-solving thrive as team members feel empowered to suggest new solutions and build upon each other’s ideas .

Furthermore, following the principles of servant leadership can result in improved communication between all involved parties – from senior management to front-line employees. By taking into account the opinions of subordinates, leaders can prevent any potential conflicts while maintaining both healthy relationships and peaceful work environments. Ultimately, these qualities help create a stronger sense of loyalty amongst team members which consequently leads to increased productivity overall.

Read more about servant leadership »

How to find your leadership style? 

Choosing a leadership style that works for you can make you a more effective leader. Whether you manage a large or small team, your leadership style heavily impacts how your team sees you. Here are a few points that can help you get started.  

Firstly, being clear about your goals and what you want to achieve is essential. Once you have a clear vision, it will be easier to communicate your ideas to your team and inspire them to follow your lead. 

Secondly, experiment! There are many different leadership styles, and the best way to find your own is to experiment with different approaches and see what works best for you and your team.  

Finally, remember that leadership is not about being perfect but authentically leading. When you lead from a place of passion and purpose, others will naturally be drawn to you and your message. Remember, as a leader, it is vitally important to be open to (and to seek actively) feedback and be willing to adjust your approach as needed.

Which style resonated with you? Do you think that your current leadership style is effective?

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task leadership style

Task Oriented Leadership – Styles | Qualities | Examples

Task-oriented leadership is a type of vastly practice leadership style leaders practice all over the world. The task-relationship model is defined by Forsyth as a “descriptive model of leadership that maintains that most leadership behaviors can be categorized as the key to performing maintenance or relationships.” This article will give an overview of Task-oriented leadership.

Task-oriented leadership

Task-oriented (or task-focused) leadership is a behavioral approach in which the leader focuses on the tasks that need to be done to achieve specific goals or achieve a certain performance standard.

Relationship-based (or relationship-centered) leadership is a behavioral approach that focuses on the satisfaction, motivation, and general well-being of the leadership team members.

It has become increasingly clear that effective leadership in the workplace is crucial. If leadership is not effective, problems such as poor productivity, low motivation, and high turnover may arise.

In the current market, there are many new opportunities for employees, and so if employees are not happy, it is very likely that they will move somewhere else.

Leaders often do not think about what kind of leader they are. Usually, they fall into either a work-based or relationship-based leadership style.

Task-based and relationship-based leadership are two models that are often compared, as they are known to achieve different outcomes in different situations.

Attributes of Task-oriented leadership

Task-oriented leaders focus on getting the work they need or the tasks they need to go hand in hand to achieve a goal.

These leaders are generally less concerned with the idea of ​​providing food to employees and are more concerned with finding the step-by-step solution needed to achieve specific goals.

They will often actively define work and required roles precisely, put them in a structured place, and plan, organize and monitor progress within the team.

The advantage of task-oriented leadership is that it ensures that deadlines are met and jobs are completed, and this is especially effective for team members who do not manage their time properly.

Further, these types of leaders give an example of a clear understanding of how to do the work, focus on the required workplace procedures and assign tasks accordingly to ensure that the work is done in a timely and productive manner.

Task-oriented leadership focuses on the tasks that need to be performed to reach the goals. Her leadership style can be described as autocratic.

Autocratic leaders do not mobilize their party to make decisions. Some of the task management-oriented features involved with task-oriented leadership include an emphasis on administrative activities, coordinating job-related activities, preparing financial reports, and so on.

We can notice that Task-oriented leadership is focused on getting things done by choosing an alternative to this style.

Such a leader does not really care about establishing relationships or the employees required to achieve this goal. They are more concerned with pursuing plans to reach organizational goals.

One of these, if not the greatest strength of this type of leadership, is that all work is of high quality overtime standard.

Task-oriented leadership sets an example for employees by focusing on the necessary processes related to how tasks are completed.

As a result, they can deliver the work and ensure that the work is completed on time to become of a higher standard.

Task-oriented leadership is appropriate in well-structured environments such as example the productive assembly line where the repetition of well-defined processes produces high levels of both productivity and quality.

Some of the weaknesses associated with this leadership style include fear of breaking the rules among employees, which can lead to a lack of creativity, low morale, and consequently high turnover.

The lack of innovation can arise from the risk of taking risks, which means that naturally, creative staff can become frustrated and eventually leave the organization to look for more exciting opportunities.

However, since executive leaders do not want to worry too much about the well-being of their team, this approach may suffer many shortcomings of autocratic leadership, including motivation and retention issues.

Key strengths of Task-oriented leadership are:

Make clear goals: Task-oriented leadership present direct instruction. For instance, if you’re working with a staff, you have to specify easy directions, deadlines, and targets to staff to make it simple for them to attain the potential you need.

Framework duties exactly. If you’re engaged on a mission, you have to define the mission first. Checklist the important jobs after which precisely clarify the processes.

Design the strategies and techniques with them to brainstorm the concepts in a well-mannered plan of action.

Situation precise deadlines . Setting deadlines is important for the group to have a way of feat. Set reminders on your staff and ask them to work actively over the mission, which has strict deadlines.

Provide steering. Present clear recommendations and courses to keep away from errors, roadblocks, and hassles.

Give alternatives to ask questions. Present info, assets, analysis, and different factors of clarification. By providing steering, you’ll deal with obstacles and transfer one other step in direction of progress.

Wonderful representatives , They know very properly which staff is appropriate for which process; subsequently, they’re nice at correct delegations. They drive productiveness ranges increased by figuring out the strengths of their staff.

Apply a reward system: After their groups have achieved key outcomes and goals, apply programs to repeatedly reward and inspire.

For instance, set a reward, bonus, break day, or different elements particular to a particular person’s various units of motivation at the finish of the month to extend productiveness and make a disciplined work setting.

Attain favorable outcomes: Task-oriented leadership achieves the most effective outcomes by directing staff strengths and setting methods. They perceive their obligations properly and work successfully.

Well-known examples of task-oriented leaders:

A superb instance of task-oriented leaders is the mission managers who’re answerable for massive tasks.

Venture managers are usually involved with finishing the mission throughout the specified time restrict and attaining the mission targets.

Good examples of Task-oriented leadership in this class are the low-level managers within the affiliation who’re accountable for the day-to-day operations of the enterprise.

They’re wonderful at arranging processes and duties essential to implement tasks dictated by middle-level managers.

Task-oriented leadership contains numerous small duties and can deploy work appropriately to ensure that everything completes in a productive and promising manner.

Task-oriented leadership will probably be applicable in areas the place administration of processes is important to fulfill the said expectations.

Task-oriented leadership perceives that productiveness is likely one of the paramount elements in assembly targets.

Command and management of operations in small teams are important and yield a lot of success within the attainment of targets.

He’s the CEO of one of the many largest tech firms on the planet, but additionally the eighth largest firm on the planet on Forbes’ International 2000 record, Apple.

Cook has helped navigate Apple via the evolution after Jobs’ loss of life and opening Apple retail shops in China. About management, his views are:

“It’s about discovering your values and committing to them. It’s about discovering your North Star. It’s about making decisions. Some are simple. Some are exhausting. And a few will make you query everything.”

Sheryl Sandberg:

She has been the CEO of Facebook and has been an advocate for girls in the enterprise. She is a good task-oriented leader and says:

“Management is about making others higher on account of your presence and ensuring that impression lasts in your absence.”

Jack Ma was the primary businessperson from mainland China to provide an impression on the duvet of Forbes journal.

He based Alibaba Group, a gaggle of web firms. He’s the richest man in China. Look what he says concerning the management:

“Management is your intuition, after which it’s your coaching. Leaders are all the time constructive; they by no means complain.”

Bill Gates:

Who doesn’t learn about Bill Gates? Because of the founding father of Microsoft, he’s listed because of the second richest particular person on the planet, with a present internet value of $108.eight billion, in line with Forbes. Though this may change by the point you’re studying this text, Jeff Bezos is perhaps ranked #1.

“In case you give folks instruments, [and they use] their pure skill and their curiosity, they are going to develop issues in methods that can shock you very a lot past what you might need to be anticipated.”

task oriented leadership

Attributes of relationship-based leadership

Relationship-based leaders focus on supporting, inspiring, and developing people in the relationships that exist between their party and it.

This style of leadership promotes good teamwork and collaboration by fostering positive relationships and good communication.

Relationship-based leaders prioritize the well-being of everyone in the group and will put the time and effort into meeting the individual needs of everyone involved.

These can include motivating like bonuses, providing mediation to address workplace or classroom conflicts, having more casual interactions with team members about their strengths and weaknesses, creating a competitive and transparent work environment, or simply being able or leadership as an individual.

The benefit of relationship-based leadership is that team members are in a setting where the leader cares about their well-being.

Relationship-based leaders understand that creating positive productivity requires a positive environment where individuals feel driven.

Personal conflicts, dissatisfaction with a job, dissatisfaction, even loneliness can drastically reduce productivity, so leaders like these put people first to make sure these types of problems are kept to a minimum.

Furthermore, team members may be more willing to take risks, as they know that the leader will provide support if needed.

This national leadership focuses on building success by building lasting relationships with employees and gaining motivation, job satisfaction, and work-life balance for their employees.

They still care about getting things done, but they believe that work culture is even more important.

Leaders who use this style focus on inspiring, supporting, and developing their employees. Relationship-based leaders also promote cooperation and teamwork by promoting communication and building positive relationships.

For these leaders, employee well-being is a top priority and as a result, they put the time and effort into meeting the personal needs of their employees.

One of the strengths of this leadership style is that these leaders create a team that wants to be part of all employees.

Members of this team are often more productive and willing to take risks because they understand that they will get support from the leader when needed.

Another strength is that employees are in an environment where they know their leader cares about welfare.

These leaders know that a positive environment for workplace productivity needs to be created where employees are motivated.

As a result, these leaders prioritize people to ensure that issues such as personal conflicts, dissatisfaction, and turnover are minimized.

One weakness of this style of leadership is that teams can get in the way of completing tasks that are focused on building spirit and reaching goals. Some leaders can put their team development work on hold.

Over the years, studies have been conducted to determine if one type is better than another, but in each situation, no one’s behavior is conducive to the success of the leader.

The dynamic nature of leadership determines that when a leader is effective, they should be able to balance both types of leadership styles that should be implemented in response to a particular situation.

This involves a bit of self-awareness, making sure you know what style you are under and if you need to change your style for a specific situation.

For example, if you are task-oriented you need to be soft, it can be difficult but it is very important.

Start by trying to listen to your ‘soft’ skills such as. Relationship-based leaders need to do the opposite and make it harder.

This can be through further decision-making and quality assessment.

The downside of relationship-based leadership is that, if taken too far, the development of team chemistry can derail actual work and goals.

The term “people-oriented” is used synonymously, although, in business, this approach may be termed “employee-oriented.”

Task-oriented vs. relationship-oriented leadership

In the 1940s, research on leadership identified the distinctive characteristics of leadership, beginning to shy away from analyzing the effects of specific behaviors on leadership – mainly leadership and relationship-oriented leadership.

A common finding is that relationship-based leadership will create greater cohesion between groups, as will learning larger groups.

It is also supported that the relationship between leadership-based leadership has a different effect on the individual, and on self-efficacy. Has a positive effect.

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How to Lead: 6 Leadership Styles and Frameworks

Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

task leadership style

Aaron Johnson is a fact checker and expert on qualitative research design and methodology. 

task leadership style

Authoritarian Leadership (Autocratic)

Participative leadership (democratic).

Transformational Leadership

Transactional leadership, situational leadership.

Leadership styles are classifications of how a person behaves while directing, motivating, guiding, and managing groups of people. There are many leadership styles. Some of the most widely discussed include: authoritarian (autocratic), participative (democratic), delegative (laissez-faire), transformational, transactional, and situational.

Great leaders can inspire political movements and social change. They can also motivate others to perform, create, and innovate. As you start to consider some of the people who you think of as great leaders , you can immediately see that there are often vast differences in how each person leads.

Fortunately, researchers have developed different theories and frameworks that allow us to better identify and understand these different leadership styles.

Lewin's Leadership Styles

In 1939, a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin set out to identify different styles of leadership.   While further research has identified more distinct types of leadership, this early study was very influential and established three major leadership styles that have provided a springboard for more defined leadership theories.

In Lewin's study, schoolchildren were assigned to one of three groups with an authoritarian, democratic, or laissez-faire leader. The children were then led in an arts and crafts project while researchers observed the behavior of children in response to the different styles of leadership. The researchers found that democratic leadership tended to be the most effective at inspiring followers to perform well.

Authoritarian leaders, also known as autocratic leaders, provide clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. This style of leadership is strongly focused on both command by the leader and control of the followers. There is also a clear division between the leader and the members. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently, with little or no input from the rest of the group.

Researchers found that decision-making was less creative under authoritarian leadership.   Lewin also concluded that it is harder to move from an authoritarian style to a democratic style than vice versa. Abuse of this method is usually viewed as controlling, bossy, and dictatorial.

Mental Health in the Workplace Webinar

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Authoritarian leadership is best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision-making or where the leader is the most knowledgeable member of the group. The autocratic approach can be a good one when the situation calls for rapid decisions and decisive actions. However, it tends to create dysfunctional and even hostile environments, often pitting followers against the domineering leader.

Lewin’s study found that participative leadership, also known as democratic leadership, is typically the most effective leadership style. Democratic leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also participate in the group and allow input from other group members. In Lewin’s study, children in this group were less productive than the members of the authoritarian group, but their contributions were of a higher quality.

Participative leaders encourage group members to participate, but retain the final say in the decision-making process. Group members feel engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative. Democratic leaders tend to make followers feel like they are an important part of the team, which helps foster commitment to the goals of the group.

Delegative Leadership (Laissez-Faire)

Lewin found that children under delegative leadership, also known as laissez-faire leadership, were the least productive of all three groups. The children in this group also made more demands on the leader, showed little cooperation, and were unable to work independently.

Delegative leaders offer little or no guidance to group members and leave the decision-making up to group members. While this style can be useful in situations involving highly qualified experts, it often leads to poorly defined roles and a lack of motivation.

Lewin noted that laissez-faire leadership tended to result in groups that lacked direction and members who blamed each other for mistakes, refused to accept personal responsibility, made less progress, and produced less work.

Observations About Lewin's Leadership Styles

In their book,  The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications , Bass and Bass note that authoritarian leadership is often presented solely in negative, often disapproving, terms. Authoritarian leaders are often described as controlling and close-minded, yet this overlooks the potential positives of stressing rules, expecting obedience, and taking responsibility.

While authoritarian leadership certainly is not the best choice for every situation, it can be effective and beneficial in cases where followers need a great deal of direction and where rules and standards must be followed to the letter. Another often overlooked benefit of the authoritarian style is the ability to maintain a sense of order.

Bass and Bass note that democratic leadership tends to be centered on the followers and is an effective approach when trying to maintain relationships with others. People who work under such leaders tend to get along well, support one another, and consult other members of the group when making decisions.

Additional Leadership Styles and Models

In addition to the three styles identified by Lewin and his colleagues, researchers have described numerous other characteristic patterns of leadership. A few of the best-known include:

Transformational leadership is often identified as the single most effective style. This style was first described during the late 1970s and later expanded upon by researcher Bernard M. Bass. Transformational leaders are able to motivate and inspire followers and to direct positive changes in groups.

These leaders tend to be emotionally intelligent , energetic, and passionate. They are not only committed to helping the organization achieve its goals, but also to helping group members fulfill their potential.

Research shows that this style of leadership results in higher performance and more improved group satisfaction than other leadership styles. One study also found that transformational leadership led to improved well-being among group members.

The transactional leadership style views the leader-follower relationship as a transaction. By accepting a position as a member of the group, the individual has agreed to obey the leader. In most situations, this involves the employer-employee relationship, and the transaction focuses on the follower completing required tasks in exchange for monetary compensation.

One of the main advantages of this leadership style is that it creates clearly defined roles. People know what they are required to do and what they will be receiving in exchange. This style allows leaders to offer a great deal of supervision and direction, if needed.

Group members may also be motivated to perform well to receive rewards. One of the biggest downsides is that the transactional style tends to stifle creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.

Situational theories of leadership stress the significant influence of the environment and the situation on leadership. Hersey and Blanchard's leadership styles is one of the best-known situational theories. First published in 1969, this model describes four primary styles of leadership, including:

Later, Blanchard expanded upon the original Hersey and Blanchard model to emphasize how the developmental and skill level of learners influences the style that should be used by leaders. Blanchard's SLII leadership styles model also described four different leading styles:

Lewin K, Lippitt R, White K. Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created “social climates” . J Soc Psychol. 1939;10(2):271-301.

Bass BM.   The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications . 4th Ed. Simon & Schuster; 2009.

Choi SL, Goh CF, Adam MB, Tan OK. Transformational leadership, empowerment, and job satisfaction: The mediating role of employee empowerment . Hum Resour Health. 2016;14(1):73. doi:10.1186/s12960-016-0171-2

Nielsen K, Daniels K. Does shared and differentiated transformational leadership predict followers’ working conditions and well-being? The Leadership Quarterly . 2012;23(3):383-397. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.09.001

Hussain S, Abbas J, Lei S, Haider MJ, Akram T. Transactional leadership and organizational creativity: Examining the mediating role of knowledge sharing behavior . Cogent Bus Manag. 2017;4(1). doi:10.1080/23311975.2017.1361663

Kark R, Van Dijk D, Vashdi DR. Motivated or demotivated to be creative: The role of self-regulatory focus in transformational and transactional leadership processes . Applied Psychology . 2017;67(1):186-224. doi:10.1111/apps.12122

Hersey P, Blanchard KH. Life cycle theory of leadership . Training and Development Journal . 1969;23(5).

Blanchard KH, Zigarmi P, Drea Zigarmi.   Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership . William Morrow, An Imprint Of HarperCollins; 2013.

Hersey P, Blanchard KH. Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources . Prentice Hall, 1969.

By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

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What Kind of Leader Are You? 8 Common Leadership Styles (and Their Pros and Cons)

person leading meeting

When we think about different types of leaders, it’s tempting to group them into just two categories: good and bad. Maybe there was that former boss who made you feel supported and inspired. And maybe there was also that manager who was so critical, they made you wonder if you were even qualified to handle the afternoon coffee runs.

Yes, those are two drastically different kinds of management. But here’s the thing: Leadership style isn’t always so straightforward.

There are numerous styles of leadership that aren’t inherently good or bad—they’re just different. They all have their benefits and drawbacks, as well as their appropriate uses in certain scenarios.

Read on to find out why understanding your own approach matters, to get a breakdown of eight common leadership styles—along with their pros, cons, identifying characteristics—and to learn how you can change your leadership style.

What Is Leadership...Really?

Complete this sentence: “A leader is…”

What’s your answer? Someone who’s in a formal position of power? Whoever’s ranked above you on the org chart? The person with the corner office and the higher salary?

Those might be the traditional perceptions, but it’s important to recognize that anybody can be a leader . Yes, that means you, too.

Fundamentally, a leader is somebody who influences or guides other people through their own actions and behaviors. That might mean someone who’s the designated head of a department. But make no mistake—having that seniority isn’t a prerequisite.

Even if you’re not managing a team on a daily basis, you might still have to step into a leadership role from time to time. Maybe you’re spearheading an important cross-functional project or you have to host a meeting.

Those are opportunities for you to fulfill a leadership role and be looked to as an example. They’re also moments when your own leadership qualities and style will bubble to the surface. So, don’t write off these approaches as something that don’t apply to you just because you don’t have a C-suite role.

Why Is it Important to Understand Your Leadership Style?

Before we jump right into the nitty gritty, there’s one critical question that needs to be answered: Why the heck do leadership styles matter?

“Understanding how you lead and want to lead will give you a better sense of control over the size and scope of your reach and impact,” explains Joyel Crawford , a Muse career coach and leadership development consultant.

“Bringing awareness allows you to take ownership and responsibility,” adds Tara Padua, executive coach , entrepreneur, and startup advisor. “Our leadership style is a whirlpool of our values, our natural strengths and abilities, [and] our beliefs and experiences. Knowing your leadership style can help you align that whirlpool with your vision, goals, and even your organization’s mission and vision.”

Put simply, to have an impact as a leader, you need to be an effective one. And in order to be effective, you have to understand exactly where you’re starting from—as well as where you want to go. Knowing your current approach gives you a baseline that you can use to identify the improvements you need to make.

8 Different Leadership Styles (and Their Pros and Cons)

Here’s the good, bad, and the ugly on eight common, “textbook” approaches to leadership.

These styles are based on the findings of several well-known leadership researchers (such as Karl Lewin, Bernard M. Bass, Robert K. Greenleaf, and more). However, be aware that you’ll see different experts define these buckets differently.

1. Transactional Leadership

The best way to understand transactional leadership is to think of a typical transaction: I give you this, and you do this in return.

That’s really the basis of this leadership style. Transactional leaders dish out instructions to their team members and then use different rewards and penalties to either recognize or punish what they do in response.

Think of a leader offering praise to applaud a job well done or mandating that a group member handles a despised department-wide task because they missed a deadline. Those are examples of rewards and punishments in a work setting.

Needless to say, this approach is highly directive, and is often referred to as a “telling” leadership style.

Pro: Confusion and guesswork are eliminated, because tasks and expectations are clearly mapped out by the leader.

Con: Due to the rigid environment and expectations, creativity and innovation may be stifled.

You Might Be a Transactional Leader If…

2. Transformational Leadership

Again, with this leadership style, it’s all in the name: Transformational leaders seek to change (ahem, transform ) the businesses or groups in which they lead by inspiring their employees to innovate.

These leaders are all about making improvements and finding better ways to get things done. And as a result, they inspire and empower other people to own their work and chime in with their suggestions or observations about how things could be streamlined or upgraded.

Under transformational leaders, people have tons of autonomy, as well as plenty of breathing room to innovate and think outside the box.

Pro: Leaders are able to establish a high level of trust with employees and rally them around a shared vision or end goal.

Con: In environments where existing processes are valued, this desire to change things up can ruffle some feathers.

You Might Be a Transformational Leader If…

3. Servant Leadership

Servant leaders operate with this standard motto: Serve first and lead second.

Rather than thinking about how they can inspire people to follow their lead, they channel the majority of their energy into finding ways that they can help others. They prioritize the needs of other people above their own.

Despite the fact that they’re natural leaders, those who follow the servant leadership model don’t try to maintain a white-knuckle grasp on their own status or power. Instead, they focus on elevating and developing the people who follow them.

As Simon Sinek eloquently explains in his book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t , “leaders are the ones who are willing to give up something of their own for us. Their time, their energy, their money, maybe even the food off their plate. When it matters, leaders choose to eat last.”

Pro: This approach boosts morale and leads to a high level of trust, which results in better employee performance and a more positive company culture overall.

Con: It’s challenging. Constantly pushing your own needs and priorities to the backburner isn’t something that comes as second nature for most of us.

You Might Be a Servant Leader If…

4. Democratic Leadership

You might also hear this leadership style referred to as “participative leadership.” Leaders in this category run groups and projects like…well, a democracy.

Even if these leaders are technically higher on the org chart, they emphasize working together and actively involve their teams in the decision-making process. Democratic leaders value ideas and input from others , and encourage discussion about those contributions.

They aren’t handing down orders from on high, and instead take a much more collaborative approach to getting things done.

Pro: Creativity and innovation are encouraged, which also improves job satisfaction among employees and team members.

Con: Constantly trying to achieve consensus among a group can be inefficient and, in some cases, costly.

You Might Be a Democratic Leader If…

5. Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership exists on the opposite side of the spectrum from democratic leadership.

You can think of this as a “my way or the highway” approach.

Autocratic leaders view themselves as having absolute power and make decisions on behalf of their subordinates. They dictate not only what needs to be done, but also how those tasks should be accomplished.

Pro: Decisions are often made quickly and strategically, and teams are kept on track as a result.

Con: Employees can feel ignored, restricted, and—in the absolute worst of cases—even abused.

You Might Be an Autocratic Leader If…

6. Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership goes “by the book,” so to speak. With this leadership style, there’s a prescribed set of boxes to check in order to be a true leader.

For example, bureaucratic leaders have hierarchical authority —meaning their power comes from a formal position or title, rather than unique traits or characteristics that they possess.

They also have a set list of responsibilities, as well as clearly-defined rules and systems for how they’ll manage others and make decisions. They just need to follow that roadmap that’s laid out for them.

Pro: There’s plenty of stability. Since this is a systematized approach to leadership, things remain constant even through personnel changes and other shifts that threaten to rock the boat.

Con: It’s tempting to fall into the “we’ve always done it this way” trap. This approach can be inflexible and neglect to leave room for creativity or ideas from employees.

You Might Be a Bureaucratic Leader If…

7. Laissez-Faire Leadership

Do you remember the term “laissez-faire” from your high school French or history class? If not, let’s refresh your memory.

This is a French term that translates to “leave it be,” which pretty accurately summarizes this hands-off leadership approach. It’s the exact opposite of micromanagement.

Laissez-faire leaders provide the necessary tools and resources. But then they step back and let their team members make decisions, solve problems, and get their work accomplished—without having to worry about the leader obsessively supervising their every move.

Pro: This level of trust and independence is empowering for teams that are creative and self-motivated.

Con: Chaos and confusion can quickly ensue—especially if a team isn’t organized or self-directed.

You Might Be a Laissez-Faire Leader If…

8. Charismatic Leadership

You know what it means to have a lot of charisma, and that’s exactly what these leaders possess.

Charismatic leaders have magnetic personalities, as well as a lot of conviction to achieve their objectives.

Rather than encouraging behaviors through strict instructions, these leaders use eloquent communication and persuasion to unite a team around a cause. They’re able to clearly lay out their vision and get others excited about that same goal.

Pro: Charismatic leaders are very inspirational and effective at getting an entire group invested in a shared objective.

Con: Due to their intense focus, it’s easy for these leaders to develop “tunnel vision” and lose sight of other important issues or tasks that crop up.

You Might Be a Charismatic Leader If…

How Hard Is it to Change Your Leadership Style?

So you’ve familiarized yourself with the ins and outs of the above approaches…what if you’ve realized that you want to make some changes? Perhaps you’ve pegged yourself as a transactional leader and want to be more transformational, or you think you could incorporate more servant leadership into your existing style.

The good news: You absolutely can change your personal leadership style. “Your leadership style isn’t an annual membership,” says Crawford. Altering your approach is actually fairly straightforward in concept (although a little more difficult in practice), and you can do it at any time. The key is to swap out ineffective habits for new ones that are more in line with the style you’d like to align with, and “stay committed to practicing your new leadership style and technique.”

For example, if you tend to be autocratic and want to incorporate some more democratic practices, try some things that force you to relinquish some power like:

If you’re struggling to even figure out how you can be more effective or what the best leadership style for you is in the first place, Padua recommends that you start by thinking about a leader or mentor you admired. “What were their qualities?” she asks. “What did they do? What did they say? How did it impact you?”

That exercise can help you identify some traits that you’d like to implement in your own style.

Here’s the thing: There’s no such thing as a “perfect” leadership style, because leadership isn’t one size fits all. All of these approaches come with their benefits and drawbacks, and some of them will be more effective in certain scenarios.

That very idea has paved the way for one final style: situational leadership . It’s highly flexible and suggests that leaders should adapt their approach to the specific circumstances they’re in.

Regardless of where you think your own current style fits in, there are likely a few changes you can make to be even more effective. Like anything, leadership is a learning process, and it takes a little bit of trial and error to get it right.

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” concludes Crawford. “That’s how we learn. Sometimes you may have to take a few tries at different styles to make things work. Be easy on yourself.”

task leadership style


Task Oriented vs People Oriented Leadership Style: Which One is Right for You?

Task Oriented vs People Oriented Leadership Style Which One is Right for You banner image

Task oriented vs people oriented leadership style, what’s the difference? Which is better for your business? What are the pros and cons of each? In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between these two leadership styles and help you decide which is best for you and your company. Stay tuned!

What is task oriented leadership style and what is people oriented leadership style?

Task-oriented leadership is a style in which the leader is more focused on the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goal. This type of leader is typically more organized and may be better at developing strategies and plans.

People-oriented leadership is a style in which the leader is more focused on the people they are leading and their needs. This type of leader is typically more concerned with developing relationships and providing support.

Key differences between task oriented leadership style and people oriented leadership style

The key differences between task-oriented leadership and people-oriented leadership styles are that task-oriented leaders focus more on the task at hand and achieving results, while people-oriented leaders focus more on their team members and ensuring they feel motivated and supported. Task-oriented leaders may come across as more stern and demanding, while people-oriented leaders may be seen as more compassionate and approachable. Ultimately, both leadership styles can be effective in different situations.

delegating tasks

Pros of task oriented leadership style over people oriented leadership style

Some advantages of task-oriented leadership over people-oriented leadership include:

Cons of task oriented leadership style compared to people oriented leadership style

There are several key disadvantages of task oriented leadership style compared to people oriented leadership:

Pros of people oriented leadership style over task oriented leadership style

There are several key advantages that people oriented leadership style has over task oriented leadership style.

Overall, the advantages of people oriented leadership style over task oriented leadership style are significant. People oriented leadership style is more effective in building trust and rapport , motivating team members, and fostering a positive work environment. Additionally, people oriented leadership style is more adaptable and resilient, which makes it better suited to deal with change or adversity. As such, people oriented leadership style is the preferred choice for most organizations.

people oriented

Cons of people oriented leadership style compared to task oriented leadership style

There are a few potential downsides to people-oriented leadership styles:

Situations when task oriented leadership style is better than people oriented leadership style

There are various situations when a task-oriented leadership style is more beneficial than a people-oriented leadership style:

1. When tasks need to be completed quickly and efficiently

When tasks need to be completed quickly and efficiently, without much room for error. In these cases, it is important for the leader to maintain a focus on the task at hand and ensure that everyone is working together towards the common goal. Additionally, task-oriented leadership can be useful in situations where there is little time for interpersonal interaction or when team members are not particularly close-knit.

2. When team members have different levels of experience or expertise

In these cases, it can be helpful for the leader to focus on the task at hand and delegate tasks accordingly. This ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal and that the team is able to utilize everyone’s strengths. Additionally, this leadership style can help to prevent conflict between team members by ensuring that there is a clear hierarchy and understanding of who is responsible for what.

3. When the goal is more important than the process

For example, if a team is working on a project with a tight deadline, it may be more beneficial for the leader to focus on completing the task rather than on ensuring that everyone is working together harmoniously. In these cases, a task-oriented leadership style can help to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Additionally, this leadership style can help to prevent team members from getting bogged down in the details or becoming too invested in the process, which can lead to conflict.

Situations when people oriented leadership style is better than task oriented leadership style

There are a few situations when people oriented leadership style is better than task oriented leadership style:

Task Oriented vs People Oriented Leadership Style Which One is Right for You pin

Task Oriented vs People Oriented Leadership Style Summary

So, what is the answer? What leadership style should you choose for your team or organization? The answer depends on a variety of factors, but in general, people oriented leadership style is better when working with teams and organizations that need to build trust and create strong relationships. Task oriented leadership style works best when you need to get things done quickly and efficiently, without too much focus on relationship building.

Of course, these are not hard and fast rules, so it’s important to always consider the specific situation before making a decision about which type of leader to be. Do you have any questions about people oriented versus task oriented leadership styles? Leave us a comment below – we would love to hear from you!

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83 Leadership Activities, Building Games, and Exercises

leadership activities and exercises

Leadership activities are associated with benefits to business, including increased performance and productivity.

However, perhaps the sign of a truly successful leader is a happy, healthy workplace. Interested in what leadership activities can do for your workplace or school? Read on.

With the activities below, there may be some overlap with activities found under certain headings – for example, activities suitable for adults may also be useful for groups, or with employees.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Work & Career Coaching Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients identify opportunities for professional growth and create a more meaningful career.

This Article Contains:

What are leadership activities, what are they used for, 8 examples of leadership activities, 4 leadership workshop ideas, 2 activities that showcase different leadership styles, 3 situational leadership activities and scenarios, 8 games and activities for kids to learn leadership skills, 6 leadership development activities for teens and youth (pdf), 3 classroom leadership activities for students in elementary and middle school, 6 leadership activities and games for high school students, 3 activities and exercises for college students (pdf), 7 leadership games and activities for adults, 5 leadership group and team activities, 8 leadership training activities for employees, 5 leadership building exercises for managers, 11 leadership exercises for team building in the workplace, a take-home message.

Increasingly, people are assuming positions of leadership in the workplace (Cserti, 2018). However, the journey to becoming a leader is lengthy (Cserti, 2018). Leadership activities are valuable on the journey to becoming an effective leader , and also develop confidence in leadership teams (Cserti, 2018; Stepshift, 2016).

Leadership activities may be conducted on or off site, and be physical or sedentary (Stepshift, 2016). Leadership activities can either be performed by a leader in their own team, or with an external facilitator (Cserti, 2018). They may take the form of specially organized themed events, such as scavenger hunts (Stepshift, 2016). Or, they may be smaller, office-based tasks built into an ordinary workday.

For example, leadership activities could consist of meeting openers or conference break activities (Stepshift, 2016).

Leadership activities can be an effective way for individuals to practice and strengthen their leadership and team-building skills (Cserti, 2018). They can also be fun!

The structure of leadership activities is essential. It is important that the participants can relate the activity to the workplace setting (Stepshift, 2016).

The 10 Skills Every Leadership Coach Should Teach

The working style, principles, and values of a leader is a crucial aspect in determining the behavior within an organization (Cserti, 2018). Leadership training can help leaders become role-models (Cserti, 2018). The behavior of leaders and what they consider the “norm” determines which behaviors are enforced and those which are punished (Cserti, 2018).

Given the importance of a leader’s behavior, it is also essential that they learn skills, such as:


Leaders need to develop the ability to clearly, succinctly explain to employees everything from the goals of a company to the details of specific work-tasks (Doyle, 2019). Many components are important for effective communication , including active listening, reading body language and written communication such as emails (Doyle, 2019).

Leaders need to inspire employees. They may do this by increasing worker’s self-esteem , by recognizing effort and achievement, or by giving a worker new responsibilities to further their investment in the business (Doyle, 2019).

Leaders can achieve this by identifying the skills that workers have, and as such assign tasks to each worker based on the skills they have (Doyle, 2019).

Being positive helps develop a happy , healthy work environment, even when the workplace is busy or stressful (Doyle, 2019).


By demonstrating integrity , workers will feel at ease to approach their leader with questions or concerns (Doyle, 2019). Building trust is one of the most essential leadership skills.

Good leaders are willing to try novel solutions or to approach problems in a non-traditional way (Doyle, 2019).

Leaders are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to provide team members with information about their performance, without ‘micromanaging’ their work (Doyle, 2019).


A good leader accepts mistakes or failures and instead look for solutions for improvement of a situation (Doyle, 2019). This skill also includes being reflective and being open to feedback (Doyle, 2019).

A leader should strive to follow through with everything that they agree to do (Doyle, 2019). It also involves applying appropriate feedback and keeping promises (Doyle, 2019).


Leaders need to be able to accept changes and creatively problem-solve, as well as being open to suggestions and feedback (Doyle, 2019).

While these skills are explained in a workplace context, they can easily be applied to other leadership situations such as sports or community groups.

Now that you have more clarity as to what leadership activities are, and what they are used for, let us look at a wide selection of activities. While some of the activities and games may not immediately appear to be ‘leadership activities,’ the chosen activities might develop and promote the leadership skills outlined above.

7 Ways to Practice Leadership Without Actually Being a Leader

Here are eight such activities:

Effective leaders are aware that continuing professional and personal development is the key to ongoing success (Higgins, 2018). As such, they recognize that leadership workshops are important (Higgins, 2018). What activities can be used in such a workshop?

Here are four suggestions:

Idea 1: ‘Tallest Tower’ (from Stepshift, 2016)

Participants are provided with everyday items such as toothpicks, wooden blocks, uncooked pasta and so on. The task is to build the tallest possible free-standing structure from the materials provided. This activity is designed to encourage creative problem-solving and developing collaboration skills.

Idea 2: ‘Centre Stage’ (from Higgins, 2018)

Select four team members as volunteers. One team member plays the role of an employee who has missed meetings or been late to work in recent times. Each of the other three participants demonstrates a different style of leader (to save time, nominate the particular personality trait). Ask all participants to form a circle, and put two chairs in the middle of the circle.

After each demonstration of how to deal with the employee, ask the whole group to reflect on the different leadership approaches. For example, the group could consider what worked and what did not. Finally, to conclude this activity, ask the group to consider what the ‘ideal’ leader would do in the scenario.

Idea 3: ‘Minefield’ (from Stepshift, 2016)

This activity helps build trust and improve communication skills. It involves participants working in pairs, with one team member being blindfolded. Then, using only specified communication techniques, the pair negotiate their way around or over a ‘minefield’ of obstacles.

So, for example, the participants may be told they are only able to use commands such as the words ‘left’ or ‘right,’ ‘forwards’ or ‘backwards.’ The aim is to help the blindfolded team member to navigate the ‘minefield’.

Idea 4: ‘Magic Carpet’ (from Higgins, 2018)

Provide a small tarp or rug, which has enough room for all workshop participants to stand within its boundaries. Then, inform the group that their task is to work together to flip the rug or tarp over without any participant stepping off. If (or when) a participant steps off the teams have discussed all of the paragraphs or tarp, the team must begin again.

Leadership styles

These are: autocratic (also known as authoritarian), delegative (also called ‘free reign)’ and democratic (which is also called participative) (Clark, 2015; Johnson-Gerard, 2017).

An autocratic leader makes decisions without first consulting others, while a delegative leader allows the staff to make the decisions (Johnson-Gerard, 2017). Finally, a democratic leader consults with the staff in making workplace decisions (Johnson-Gerard, 2017).

Here is an excellent resource for exploring different leadership styles.

The workbook also provides some helpful worksheets.

The following two activities help participants think more deeply about styles of leadership. The group should be divided into small groups of 3 – 4 participants. The participants work in groups for the first activity, and then they work individually on the second activity.

Activity One (Clark, 2015)

Provide a list of approximately 10 – 12 scenarios displaying the three different leadership styles. For example, “a new supervisor has just been put in charge of the production line. He immediately starts by telling the crew what change needs to be made. When some suggestions are made, he tells them he does not have time to consider them”.

The group then works together to figure out which leadership style is used in each scenario and to talk about whether it is effective, or if a different style could work better.

Encourage participants to think about themselves in a similar situation and their reaction to the particular leadership style.

Activity Two (Clark, 2015)

Provide participants with the statement ‘consider a time when you, or another leader, used the authoritarian (autocratic), participative (democratic) or delegative (free reign) style of leadership’.

Ask participants to reflect on the statement and make a few comments, such as: was it effective? Would a different leadership style have worked better? What were the employees’ experiences? Did they learn from the leadership style? What was it they learned? Which style is easiest to use (and why)? Alternatively, nominate the style which the participant prefers (and why).

To conclude these two activities, come together as a whole group and discuss what was learned about the three styles of leadership.

Leadership building activities – project management training – ProjectManager

Situational leadership is when a leader is flexible in their approach and uses different leadership strategies depending on the situation (Johnson-Gerard, 2017). The following three games, from Johnson-Gerard (2017) provide an opportunity to explore situational leadership:

1. ‘Jumping Ship’

The aim of this game is for participants to reflect upon different leadership styles and come up with a list of actual workplace scenarios which would need a leader to abandon a natural leadership style for one that is more effective (i.e., to ‘jump ship’).

Each group is given three large pieces of paper. Ask the teams to write one style of leadership on each (i.e., autocratic, delegative, democratic). Then, allow the groups 45 minutes to come up with real work situations for which employing the particular leadership style would be disastrous.

Ask the groups to place the sheets of paper up on the wall, and to discuss the sheets as a team. As a whole group, review the posters.

2. ‘Who Ya Gonna Call’

Each participant begins by writing a one-paragraph description of a work situation that is not going well. Collect these, and at the top of each page, number them in consecutive order. Then, divide the participants into two teams.

Give each team half of the paragraphs. Then, ask the teams to choose the style of leadership that would be the least and the most effective in solving the problem. Have the teams note their answers on a piece of paper, being sure to identify the paragraph number on the top of each page, and their choices.

Then, ask the teams to swap paragraphs and repeat the activity.

When the teams have discussed all the paragraphs, discuss the scenarios and review the choices as a group. Where the team’s choices are different, discuss as a group.

3. ‘Ducks in a Row’

This particular activity enables participants to devise a 3-to-5 step decision-making process they can use when challenging leadership situations occur.

Ask participants to form pairs. Then, ask them to come up with the steps that an effective leader goes through in order to work out how to manage a difficult situation. After about 30 minutes, ask each pair to review the steps they have come up with for the group, and to write them on a large piece of paper.

Ask every pair to review their process, and after all the pairs have done so, have a group discussion that enables a consensus to be reached about the three to five most effective steps to take in a difficult leadership situation.

Fun exercises for children

Edsys (2016) provides eight suggested activities for children to learn leadership skills:

1. ‘Create a New You’

Provide children with materials such as textas, crayons, poster/construction paper, magazines, and scissors. Then, ask them to draw themselves, using things that clearly show that the picture is theirs – such as using cut-outs of their most favorite things to do, foods they like, pets, and whatever else makes them unique.

Once the children have finished their posters, they can show their completed work to the other children – helping kids to improve their confidence to lead.

2. ‘Same or Different’

The children sit in a circle. Ask the first child to point to another child in the circle who is similar to them, either in appearance, hair-style or clothing color. Then, when the child has chosen someone, ask them to note other differences and similarities they have with the child they have chosen.

3. ‘Move the Egg’

Ask children to form groups of four or five. Then, have the children select a leader for their team. Each participant is given a spoon and an egg. The leader has the task of finding an effective way to move the eggs from one point to another. For example, one option may be for children to form a line to pass each egg along.

Another leader may suggest forgetting about the spoons altogether and merely tell their group to make a run for it. The winner of the game is the group that can get their egg safely across the finish in the most creative way.

4. ‘Lead the Blindfolded’

This game requires a large indoor or outdoor area. Divide the children into two groups and give them enough blindfolds for everyone except one member to put on. The teams are placed at opposite sides of the space. The child who is not blindfolded is required to lead their team to the other side of the designated space, using clear commands.

Ensure that each member of the team has an opportunity to lead their team. The winner is the team that sees its members successfully cross the finish line.

5. ‘Charity Support’

Help children support a charity by organizing a fundraiser. Each child can have a different task. For example, one child may select the charity, another may find a suitable space to hold the fundraising activity, and another child can collect donations.

6. ‘Planning Strategies’

Teach children to divide a large task into smaller steps. Set the children a large task, such as holding a class function. Show the children a plan that enables them to achieve the task step by step. This activity can involve a number of children sharing tasks. Suggest to the children how they may be able to improve.

7. ‘Volunteer Roles’

Volunteering plays a role in leadership. Discuss with children how they would like to help someone in need. Older children may be interested in taking a role in an organization in their community. The children should be helped to select a volunteer opportunity that gives them a chance to practice leadership and work with other children.

8. ‘A Quick Quiz’

In this task, ask students to be prepared to evaluate an experience when it is over. Then, after the experience, ask the child questions. For example, inquire “Do you remember the name of the dog we saw?”, “What was it?”, “Did you touch the dog?”, “What is the owner’s name?” and so on.

This is an excellent introduction to leadership for kids in grades 4 – 6 (children aged approximately 9 – 12 years).

The following resources are appropriate for helping teens and youth to develop leadership:

1. “Leaders are, can, and think”

This looks at what a leader is, and what their role can and should be.

2. “Who do you admire and why?”

This worksheet examines leadership role models and the qualities we see in them that we want to develop in ourselves.

3. “4 Ways leaders approach tasks: Leaders Motivation”

This handout focuses on leadership attitude.

4. “Lesson Planet”

Links to 45+ reviewed resources for teen leadership which can be accessed free by registering your details.

5. The Women’s Learning Partnership

This partnership has created a comprehensive manual for promoting leadership for teens aged 13 – 17 years. The manual outlines a number of sessions which guide leadership development activities.

6. “I Care Values Activity”

This is a fun, engaging and introspective activity . It is suitable for students aged 13 and upwards, so it can be used with older students or adults too.

Leadership games

Examples of such activities are:

1. ‘Just Listen’ (Edsys, 2016)

Make an agreement that you and the student(s) will refrain from talking about yourselves for a whole day. Ask them, rather, to listen to others, and if they do talk to another person, it should be about the person whom they are talking to. This game helps children to learn how important it is to focus on other people rather than themselves, which forms the basis of ‘relational leadership’.

2. Silence Classroom Leadership Game (Stapleton, 2018).

To begin the activity, the teacher divides students into two teams, and the teams move to either side of the classroom. The desks may be pushed aside to create more space. The teacher instructs the students to, for example, ‘line up according to the first letter of your surname’ or ‘arrange yourselves into age order by the month your birthday is in’. The students then follow the directions without speaking a word to one another.

Students are permitted to use hand signals, or even write instructions down on paper. The teacher’s instruction to the students is that they are not allowed to talk. The winning team is the one that completes the task successfully.

3. ‘The Cup Game’ (Tony, 2018)

Divide students into pairs and select one student to be the leader. Each team should face each other standing up, with a plastic cup in the middle. The leader calls out simple directions, such as ‘touch your knee’, ‘close one eye’ and so on.

When the leader calls out “cup” the students should try and be the first to grab the cup. The player who successfully grabs the cup should pair up with another player who also got the cup. Those without a cup sit down and watch.

task leadership style

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By high school, students are more sophisticated. Here are some interesting activities for high school students to develop leadership.

1. Brainstorming for change (Stapleton, 2018)

The teacher puts students into groups of 4 or 5. The goal is for students to come up with possible solutions to social, political or economic problems. Working together, students brainstorm both small- and large-scale solutions to a given problem topic.

Once the groups have finalized their list of detailed solutions, the teacher facilitates a discussion with the whole class, and together they examine which of the identified solutions could be a viable option and why.

2. Leadership characteristics (Stapleton, 2018)

The teacher puts students into pairs or groups of three. Then, each group member shares a story about someone whom they consider to be an influential leader. After each story has been shared, students discuss the characteristics that they think made the person in the story an effective leader.

Once each student has shared a story, students compile a list of all the characteristics of an influential leader they identified. Post these characteristics on the walls around the classroom.

3. Blindfold leader game (Stapleton, 2018)

The teacher arranges the students into a single line, and comes up with a starting point and finishing point. Then, the teacher places a blindfold on every student except for the student who is at the front of the line.

The teacher tells each student to put their left hand on the left shoulder of the person in front of them. Next, the teacher says “go”. The aim is for the leader (who is not blindfolded) to walk towards the finishing point, providing instructions to students behind, who are blindfolded.

An extra challenging game sees the teacher putting obstacles in the path – the leader must direct followers on how to avoid the obstacles and successfully reach the finish line. When this goal is achieved, a different student takes a turn of being the leader.

4. Buckets and balls (Cohen, 2017)

This game aims to move all the balls from one box to another. The catch is, team members cannot use their hands or arms. In equal-sized teams, players choose one ‘handler’ per team. This is the only person who can touch the balls with their hands.

The handler must remain behind the start line throughout the game. Team members attempt to get balls from their bucket at the finish line, and get them to the team’s handler without the ball touching their hands or arms.

The handler places the balls into the empty bucket at the start line. If a team member touches the ball, they are disqualified and can no longer participate. Give teams a 5-minute time limit. All teams play at the same time, and the team that has the most balls in the handler’s bucket at the end of the game wins.

5. Team jigsaw (Cohen, 2017)

Two teams have to complete a jigsaw puzzle within a 20 – 30-minute time limit. Give each team a box containing a puzzle. At first, A body will assume that their task is to complete the puzzle. As they work on it, however, teams will realize that the puzzle is missing some of its pieces and has some additional pieces that do not fit their puzzle.

Teams then have the task to communicate with one another, and they will eventually realize that they need to work together to complete the puzzle. Teams are only allowed to exchange pieces of the puzzle one at a time.

6. ‘Sneak-a-peak’ (Cohen, 2017)

Divide participants into two teams. Build a structure out of Lego. Make it complicated, but able to be replicated. Ensure that there is sufficient Lego left to build two similar copies of the structure.

Make sure that this structure is kept out of eyesight.

A player from each team is allowed to see the structure for 10 seconds. Then, the players will return to their respective teams and have 25 seconds in which to give his/her team instruction as to how to build the structure. Then, the teams have 1 minute to build the structure.

When that minute is up, another team member takes a look at the structure for 10 seconds and has a further 25 seconds to deliver their instructions to their team.

This process continues until all the team members have had a chance to examine the structure and provide instructions. The team that successfully built the structure is the winner.

Leadership and team building exercised for students

A wide range of leadership activities are suitable for adults:

1. The Marshmallow Challenge

In this activity , teams use spaghetti sticks, tape and string to construct the tallest free-standing structure. They are given one marshmallow, which must be placed at the top of the structure. Devised by Tom Wujec.

2. ‘Stand up’ (Landau, 2018)

This game is convenient in that it requires no materials. It involves two people. They sit on the floor, facing one another. They hold hands, and the soles of their feet are placed together. Then, the task is for both people to stand up at the same time. This game builds trust and teamwork, and also develops skills in problem solving and collaboration.

3. Zoom (Stepshift, 2016)

A set of randomly provided sequential pictures are given to the participants. The task requires participants to put the pictures in the correct order to recreate the story, without knowing which pictures the other participants have. This activity can be an effective way to improve communication, patience, and tolerance.

4. ‘You’re a Poet’ (Landau, 2018)

To harness creativity and reflect on leadership concepts, one activity for adults is to write a poem. This activity can be done individually or in small groups. The aim is to consider leadership in creative ways to find new perspectives.

5. ‘Leadership Pizza’ (Cserti, 2018)

This activity can help adults develop leadership. It does so by providing a self-assessment tool. People begin by identifying the skills, attitudes, and attributes that they consider being important for successful leadership. The individual then rates their own development in the defined areas. The framework can also provide a helpful tool in assisting adults in identifying their leadership development goals in a coaching session.

6. Leadership advice from your role model (Cserti, 2018)

Each participant considers a role model who they admire. They then think about a young person they know. If the young person was to ask the role model for leadership advice, what kind of advice would the role model give?

In groups, discuss and share the sort of advice identified and talk about contradicting points and how they can be reconciled. This sharing discussion may be a practical introduction to the idea of situational leadership.

7. ‘Crocodile River’ (Cserti, 2018)

This outdoor activity challenges a group to physically provide support to the group members’ behavior move from one end of a designated space to the other.

Participants are told to pretend that the whole team must cross a wide river which contains dangerous crocodiles. Magic stones (which are represented by wooden planks) provide the only supports to be used to cross the river (which has ‘banks’ that are marked out by two ropes).

These ‘stones’ only float on the water if there is constant body contact. These ‘stones’ (i.e., the wooden planks) are placed next to the ‘river bank’ – there should be one less plank than the total number of participants. As part of the game, if a participant’s hand or foot touches the ‘water’, it will be bitten off (if this happens during the challenge, the participant must hold the hand behind their back).

The facilitator then pretends to be the ‘crocodile’, keeping a close eye on the group as they attempt to cross the river. When one of the stones (the planks) is not in body contact, it is removed. When participants mistakenly touch the ground with their hands or feet, tell them that the limb has therefore been bitten off and the player must continue without using it.

This activity continues until the group succeeds in getting all group members to the other side of the ‘river’. If anyone falls in, the group is deemed to have failed, and they must begin the river crossing attempt again.

1. ‘Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue’ (Cserti, 2018)

Leadership group activities

Openness creates trust, which then promotes further openness. This activity is designed to be used by a group that has spent sufficient time together in order to have a range of shared experiences they can draw from when they are providing feedback.

Each participant takes a post-it and writes the name of the person who they are addressing on it. Then, they write on the post-it:

“To…. Something I would like you to START doing is…. something I would like you to STOP doing is…. something I would like you to CONTINUE doing is……Signed: ___________”

In groups of around 4 to 6 people, participants complete these sentences on one post-it for the other participants in their group.

If they cannot think of relevant feedback for one of the prompts (i.e., start, stop, continue), they do not need to include it. Once the group has finished writing, they provide the feedback verbally, one at a time, and afterward hand the post-it to the relevant person.

2. Round Tables (Stepshift, 2016)

Four tables are set up with different tasks. Each task has separate steps that participants can be responsible for carrying out. The group select a team member, who is only allowed to communicate and delegate tasks but not take a part in the task. Each table is timed to record how long the task takes to be completed. Round Tables improves leadership and delegation skills.

3. ‘Pass the hoop’ (Landau, 2018)

This game requires participants to stand in a circle and hold hands. One person in the group has a hula hoop around their arm. The game aims to pass the hula hoop the whole way around the circle.

As well as promoting teamwork and problem-solving, this game develops communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively is a crucial skill for any successful leader to have.

4. ‘Improv night’ (Landau, 2018)

One key responsibility of the leader of a team is to encourage team bonding. One way to facilitate bonding is improvisation. ‘Improv’ develops skills in communication – helping teams to listen and pay attention. It also builds self-awareness, self-confidence, and creativity.

Arrange the group into ‘audience’ and ‘performers’. Then, members of the audience take turns in calling out the specified location, profession, and scenario (e.g., coffeehouse, cop, and purchasing a donut). Chosen suggestions are fun and should promote creativity.

5. ‘Shape-Shifting’ (Landau, 2018)

This game requires a rope that is tied at both ends to form a loop. The loop needs to be big enough for all group members to hold onto with both hands as they stand in a circle. The group is instructed to make a chosen shape (e.g., circle, square, triangle). The group attempts to create the shape on the floor.

Progressively, ask the group to make more complex shapes – e.g., a dog, or a tree. To add another layer of difficulty, instruct the team to communicate without talking – i.e., to rely on hand gestures. Afterward, have the group reflect on their experience and discuss the importance of communication.

Leadership is an integral feature of any workplace. Here are some activities to promote leadership in employees:

1. Your favorite manager (Cserti, 2018)

To begin this activity, employees individually take the role of three different people and brainstorm the particular behaviors that each person’s most favorite and least favorite managers demonstrate, from the chosen person’s perspective. After the employees have had the chance to reflect, the participants compare their list of behaviors – in pairs, and then subsequently, in groups.

The teams then prepare a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ for developing better employee perceptions of the leader’s style.

2. Explore your values (Cserti, 2018)

The values of a leader are reflected in their organization. In this activity, each participant writes ten things that they value most in their lives, each one on a post-it. Then, ask the employees to spread the Post-its in a way in which they can see them all clearly. Then, explain to them that they will have 30 seconds to select the three Post-its that are of least importance to them.

It is essential to time strictly, so that the participants rely on their gut feelings.

Repeat the process, this time allowing participants to have 20 seconds to discard two more values. Finally, give the participants a further 20 seconds to throw another two away. Participants should have three Post-its in front of them, showing their top three important values.

Following the activity, have participants reflect individually for about 15 minutes about what was found, and then to discuss reflection questions in pairs or groups of three.

Because this activity is done quickly, participants are encouraged to follow their own intuition – rather than over-thinking and finding what they perceive to be the ‘right’ values.

3. ‘Leadership Coat of Arms’ (Cserti, 2018; Landau, 2018).

Each leader has their own values and the things that they consider valuable and important. These values guide the behavior of the leader and make up a person’s unique leadership philosophy.

This activity sees participants drawing their own ‘leadership coat of arms’ embodying their leadership philosophy.

Individuals have 10 – 15 minutes to draw their coat of arms. They can divide the coat of arms (or ‘crest’) into four sections. To fill each section, consider the categories of leadership skills, values that help influence others, recent achievements/accomplishments and what you like most about your current work.

They should be encouraged not to be overly concerned with how visually appealing their picture is but rather that it expressed what they personally believe to be important aspects of a leader.

Once the drawings are complete, the participants can show their drawings to the others in the group and explain their unique coat of arms. It is also helpful to reflect on the activity – consider which section was easiest to complete and whether your crest reflects your company’s values.

4. Communication: Coach the Builder (Goyette, 2016)

Divide employees into groups of four to seven people. Each group should be given two sets of blocks (such as Lego). Each set should have a minimum of 10 blocks.

Beforehand, you should construct a sample object (e.g., a house) from one of the sets of blocks. In each group, select a leader, a delegator, a builder and a note-taker. The note-taker watches and records the group’s behavior during the task. They take note of what appeared to be done well and how employees could improve.

The leader is given the item that you built – however, they are the only group member to see the object. Set a timer for ten minutes. To begin with, the leader describes to the delegator how the builder should build a replica of the item. However, the delegator does not see the object, and at this stage of the activity, the builder should not hear the instructions.

The delegator can speak with the leader as often as necessary during the 10 minutes. The builder attempts to build the same item that the leader can see. However, they are only relying on the delegator’s instructions. At this stage, the delegator should not see the object that the builder is constructing.

When the time is up, reveal both objects to all participants and see how closely they match. Finally, to wrap up the activity, employees can discuss what was either frustrating or easy about the process and discuss how they may do things differently in order to achieve better results.

5. Accountability (Goyette, 2016)

Begin a meeting by saying to the group – “the seating arrangement is totally wrong for today’s meeting. You have 60 seconds to improve it”. If the employees ask further questions, only repeat the instructions. While some employees may continue asking questions, others may start moving the furniture around straight away. Observe the team and what they do without giving any further information, feedback, or instructions.

After 1 minute, let the employees know to stop. Then, ask them whether the objective was achieved, and how. Discuss with employees how and why a lack of clarity makes it challenging to complete a task.

Then, discuss who asked for clarification and how they felt when the leader refused to give further details. Use this opportunity to highlight to employees how if they fail to ask questions, and when the person in charge of a project doesn’t provide the necessary clarification, the whole team is at risk of making mistakes or even not completing a task.

Finally, ask how the time pressure affected behavior. Discuss how employees may be more likely to respond to pressure, or stress, by taking action without first confirming a plan and the significant problems this approach can lead to.

6. The “what if” game (Deputy, 2018)

Present different hypothetical problematic scenarios to employees. Either individually or by providing a document that requires written answers, present situations such as “you didn’t follow the rules, and subsequently lost an important client. You have lost a lot of money for the company. How do you justify this? What is your solution?”.

The questions only need to be rough, and employees should only receive a short time with which to think of their responses. If there is a particularly challenging question, provide a time limit of five minutes.

7. ‘Silver Lining’ (Cohen, 2017)

Employees form teams of at least two people who have shared a work experience – e.g., working on a project together. One person shares an experience from working together that was negative for them.

Then, the second person reflects on the same experience but instead reflects on the positive aspects of the experience (i.e., the ‘ silver lining ’). Then this same person shares their own negative experience, and this time it is up to the other person to focus on the positive aspects of it.

Often, when people reflect on an experience, they do so with a particular perspective . By looking at the positive aspects of a ‘negative’ experience, this helps individuals shift perspectives. Furthermore, by sharing experiences, employees develop deeper relationships, and team bonding is promoted.

8. My favorite brand (Training Course Material, n.d.).

Ask employees to bring three or four printed logos/brands that they use regularly or admire most. Then, form groups of 3 – 4 people. Teams have a period of ten minutes to share and discuss their chosen logos.

Their task is to agree upon the team’s top 2 logos or brands which is their team’s choice. The team also selects a team spokesperson who will report to the bigger group about why the team chose the specific brands/logos.

Participants are encouraged to share personal experiences or stories that they had with their chosen brand. After the ten minutes elapses, each spokesperson presents the logos that the team began with as well as their two top chosen logos/brands. It is their role to explain to the group why the team voted on their top brand/logo.

1. Manager or leader? (Training Course Material, n.d.)

Positive communication at work

Small groups of managers work together to create two tables, one titled ‘leader’ and one titled ‘manager’. In each table, the group writes statements describing either management behavior or leadership behavior.

For example, the ‘manager’ table may contain statements such as “schedules work to be done” or “delegates tasks”. On the other hand, statements in the ‘leader’ table could be “motivating staff” and “creating culture”.

The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate to managers the difference between management versus leadership, and show that while ‘every leader can be a manager, not every manager can be a leader’. However, by brainstorming leadership behaviors, managers begin the process of becoming a successful leader.

2. The race of the leaders (Deputy, 2018)

This activity encourages leadership behaviors. To begin with, write a list of leadership qualities – approximately 10 – 20 statements – on a piece of paper. Describe the qualities – e.g., ‘I determine everything that happens to me’, and ‘I will not blame others for my problems’.

Read these statements out loud, and participants take a step forward if they believe a statement describes them. They must be prepared to give reasons as to why they think they possess each quality. Continue reading the statements until there is a definite ‘winner’.

3. The best team member (Training Course Material, n.d.).

Divide the group into teams of about 4 – 5 participants. Give each team a large, blank piece of paper and markers. Each group has the task to come up with as many characteristics of their ‘ideal’ team member as they can. Teams should consider what this ‘best team member ever’ would be like.

After ten minutes, the groups should examine the characteristics that they have written and work out the portion which are ‘technical’ skills and those which are ‘interpersonal’. The aim is to work out whether most of the traits can be classified as technical or interpersonal skills.

Teams usually come to realize that interpersonal skills in employees are especially critical and that these have a tremendous impact on the quality and quantity of workplace performance.

This activity can be adapted according to the setting. For example, if the focus is on leadership development, teams could discuss their ideal leader/supervisor.

4. The importance of feedback (Training Course Material, n.d.).

Divide the group into three teams. Provide each team with poster paper and markers or pens.

Team A is required to consider as many reasons as they can that would make them apprehensive to provide feedback to another person.

Team B is asked to consider what feedback can help them so, i.e., what feedback will help them accomplish.

Team C comes up with as many things as they can that would make a feedback session effective.

Each team has 15 minutes to brainstorm their ideas, then, each team can present their ideas.

Point out to Team A that the hurdles they suggested are self-imposed ideas that will lead to the manager fearing the worst. Instead, managers should be encouraged to share feedback on a more regular basis to gain the necessary experience in having such conversations. Furthermore, by having an awareness of the most effective way to prepare and deliver feedback can help a manager conquer the issues holding them back.

Point out to Team B that providing constructive feedback as needed is imperative for developing a productive work environment. A feedback discussion that is well-planned and thought out delivers an opportunity to share what you have noticed about another person’s job performance and bring about productive change.

Finally, after Team C has shared their ideas, point out that effective feedback is specific, honest, and backed up with evidence. The feedback will help others to come up with goals, make and reinforce positive changes, promote self-confidence and encourage action in the workplace.

Thank all the teams for their participation and input.

5. ‘Shark Tank’ (Deputy, 2018).

This activity is derived from a famous TV show that gives people a chance to show their entrepreneurial skills. Managers may work individually or in groups. The aim of this activity is for employees to come up with a business plan that outlines the steps of how to build a successful company from ‘startup’.

Once the managers have a plan, they can create a ‘pitch’, which should contain the brand’s name, its’ tagline (or slogan), a detailed business plan, a detailed marketing plan, financial predictions (sales, profits and market) and potential problems (competition, lack of resources).

In a role play, appoint a few chosen managers to be the ‘sharks’ (the ones who consider the projects’ merit and offer imaginary ‘investments’). The winning group, or individual, is the one who raised the most money from the ‘shark’.

1. The Human Icebreaker (Stepshift, 2016).

This is a simple activity that can alleviate tension and promote discussion and contribution. Participants devise a list of questions that relate to people generally – for example, “who is left-handed?”. Participants then discover which team members meet the question’s criteria. After 10 minutes, the participant who has the most answers wins. This activity promotes communication and helps team members build inter-personal skills.

2. ‘Office trivia’ (Cohen, 2017)

This quick activity can help as an ice-breaker and provides a flexible option for team building. Create a list of trivia questions that are related to the workplace. For example, “how many people named ‘John’ work in the accounting department?” or, “how many people work in the IT department?”. Read the questions out loud to the whole group. The employee with the most correct answers at the end is the winner.

3. Plane crash (Stepshift, 2016)

The participants imagine that they are on a plane which has crashed on a deserted island. They are allowed to select a specified number of items from around the workplace that would help the group to survive. Each chosen item is ranked in importance. The whole group must agree on their decision. This activity helps with creative problem solving and collaboration.

4. ‘Magazine story’ (Cohen, 2017)

Each team works together to come up with an imaginary cover story of a magazine, about a successful project or business achievement. The team designs the images, headlines, and come up with quotes.

5. The Human Knot (Stepshift, 2016)

Relying on cooperation, this is a good problem-solving and communication activity. Participants stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle. Then, they put their right hand in the hand of a person who stands across from them. They then put their left hand in the hand of another different person (but not someone standing directly next to them).

Participants are required to untangle the human knot without breaking the chain. If the chain is broken, the participants must start over.

6. Make your own movie (Cohen, 2017)

This is a fun activity that is suitable for both indoors and outdoors. Although it requires the necessary equipment (i.e., camera, tripod, and microphone), teams enjoy it. Employees should work in large groups (more than eight people) and divide responsibilities. Teams work together to come up with scripts for a 5 – 7-minute movie.

7. Radio Play (Cohen, 2017)

This activity can provide an alternative to making a movie. Employees work together, spending about one-hour planning and writing a play and taking a further 15 – 20 minutes to ‘perform’ it, keeping in mind that it is designed for radio.

Each participant places their chair, in no particular order, around the room. The room should be cleared of tables and other furniture. Each person should sit on their chair, pointing in a different direction. Then, request one manager to volunteer and come to the front of the room. Their task is to walk slowly back to their empty chair and sit down.

If their chair is occupied, they can move to the next empty chair available and sit on it. However, everyone else has the task of stopping the volunteer from sitting down.

Only one person at a time can stand and move. No one can make two consecutive moves. A person cannot sit on the chair that they have just left. Once the activity begins, the room is required to be silent. No one is allowed to touch the volunteer.

Give the managers 2 minutes to come up with their strategy. After every round, the participants should discuss what happened and select a new volunteer for the next round. The team is given 2 minutes preparation time each round. It is important that the volunteer’s movement is kept at a slow walk.

At the conclusion of the activity, it is beneficial for the team to discuss the activity. They may reflect upon whether they need a leader, what made planning difficult, whether everyone agreed on the plan, and what would make the task easier.

9. Back to back drawing (Cohen, 2017)

Provide vector shapes on separate pieces of paper (they can be shapes of signs, objects or merely abstract shapes). Participants sit in pairs, back-to-back. Employee A is given a sheet of paper and a pen, and employee B is provided with one of the printed shapes.

The aim of the activity is for employee A to draw the shape relying only on verbal instructions from employee B. Person B cannot only tell the other person what the shape is – he/she is only able to provide directions about how to draw it, or to describe its uses. Each team has two 2 minutes to draw the shape.

10. ‘All Aboard’ (Stepshift, 2016).

Teams use various materials, for example, pieces of wood or mats, to build a pretend ‘boat’. All the participants must stand on the ‘boat’ at once. Then, pieces of the ‘boat’ should be removed. The team should still strive to stand in the diminished space on the ‘boat’. All Aboard can promote communication, problem-solving and critical thinking.

11. Body of words (Cohen, 2017)

Participants are divided into teams of between four and eight people, and each team elects one leader. To prepare the activity, record words that have one less letter than the number of people in the team (i.e., if there are five people in the team, a suitable word could be ‘book’ which has four letters). Randomly select a word, and then the teams have the task of making the word using only their bodies.

Each team member moves and bends their body to form a letter. The team leader can direct their team.

What stands out to me from this article is the complexity of leadership. This article demonstrates that even if one is not a ‘natural’ leader, there are plenty of activities that can promote leadership skills. Even children can develop leadership, and what’s more, have fun with activities at the same time.

What do you think espouses leadership? Do you think that there are people who might tend to be leaders more than others? Perhaps you have a story about a leadership activity you have participated in or delivered – I would dearly like to hear about your experiences.

Thank you for reading.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Work & Career Coaching Exercises for free .

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FullTilt Teams

Thank you for posting this informative blog. keep sharing.

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Too interesting for me to try all.

Chloe Mansergh

Great article! Having group activities Melbourne helps the team to enhance working together. I love how it brings people together and motivates employees to learn from each other.


Great activities. Thank you.

Nann Htet Win

This is an excellent article for every manager and leader tn build successful leadership. Thank you.

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Does paradoxical leadership facilitate leaders’ task performance a perspective of self-regulation theory.

task leadership style

1. Introduction

2. research framework, 2.1. paradoxical leadership and task performance, 2.2. mediating role of job crafting, 2.3. moderating role of career resilience, 3. materials and methods, 3.1. samples and procedures, 3.2. measurement items, 3.2.1. paradoxical leadership, 3.2.2. task performance, 3.2.3. job crafting, 3.2.4. career resilience, 3.2.5. control variables, 5. discussion, 5.1. theoretical contributions, 5.2. practical implications, 5.3. limitations, 6. conclusions, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, conflicts of interest, appendix a. items used to measure paradoxical leadership, appendix b. items used to measure task performance.

Appendix C. Items Used to Measure Job Crafting

Appendix d. items used to measure career resilience.

Share and Cite

Chen, S.; Zhang, Y.; Liang, L.; Shen, T. Does Paradoxical Leadership Facilitate Leaders’ Task Performance? A Perspective of Self-Regulation Theory. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021 , 18 , 3505. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073505

Chen S, Zhang Y, Liang L, Shen T. Does Paradoxical Leadership Facilitate Leaders’ Task Performance? A Perspective of Self-Regulation Theory. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health . 2021; 18(7):3505. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073505

Chen, Silu, Yu Zhang, Lili Liang, and Tao Shen. 2021. "Does Paradoxical Leadership Facilitate Leaders’ Task Performance? A Perspective of Self-Regulation Theory" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 7: 3505. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073505

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The Four Leadership Styles of Situational Leadership ®

Situational Leadership ® is a common-sense, contingency-based leadership model that consists of four common leadership styles. Two points of clarification in that regard:

A Situational Leader employs one of four leadership styles that provide him or her with the highest probability of success in every situation they encounter. Those situations are a function of the task that needs to be performed, in conjunction with the task-related ability and willingness of the follower identified to perform it. Based on the objective assessment of those parameters, and with the responsibility of successfully and effectively influencing the follower, the leader responds to the situation with one of four leadership styles. Those styles are operationally defined by Task/Directive Behavior and Relationship/Supportive Behavior :

The Four Leadership Styles of The Situational Leadership(R) Model


Style 1 is a short-term approach intended to create movement . It aligns with followers who have limited (if any) experience or skill performing the task in question and (for whatever reason) are either insecure or unmotivated to try. Style 1 requires close supervision by the leader for the express purpose of identifying any signs of incremental progress (to be recognized by the leader in an effort to accelerate ongoing development).


Style 2 is intended to create buy-in and understanding . It aligns with followers who have limited (if any) experience performing the task but exude both confidence and motivation toward the process of leader-driven skill development. Like Style 1, effective use of this approach depends upon direct observations by the leader, which fuel focused performance feedback discussions and increased dialog.


The objective of Style 3 is to create alignment. If the follower is developing, he/she might have demonstrated task proficiency but still have some degree of trepidation about performing it on their own. If the follower is regressing, they are aware they can effectively perform but have lost commitment, motivation (or both) to do so. Either way, the leader needs to discuss the follower’s willingness by asking open-ended questions intended to help the follower recognize the source of the performance challenge and generate a viable solution.


The intent of Style 4 is to create/enhance task mastery and autonomy . It aligns with followers that have significant experience performing the task at or above expectation, in combination with a level of intrinsic motivation that drives their ongoing commitment to excellence. The flow of communication with Style 4 is from the follower to the leader and is typically initiated by questions from the leader that feature significant degrees of freedom (e.g.  “From your perspective, what is working and what do we need to consider doing differently moving forward?”).

Based on your own experience as a leader (and as a follower), consider that the most inconsistent thing a leader can do is to treat everybody the same. A leader’s approach should be dictated by the nuances of each situation they encounter. Situational Leadership ® is a practical, repeatable model that helps leaders do just that!

Use code DiSC20 to save 20% on an upcoming Leading With DiSC ® workshop bundle.

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Module 13: Leadership

Leadership styles, learning outcomes.

We’ve already talked about how personality traits, behaviors and situations (and response to those situations) affect leadership. But what about style? Every leader has their own personal approach. In fact, one might assume that there are as many leadership styles as there are leaders.

Traditional Leadership Styles

Leadership style is a leader’s approach to providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. In 1939, psychologist Kurt Lewin and a team of researchers determined that there were three basic leadership styles: Authoritarian (Autocratic), Participative (Democratic) and Delegative (Laissez-Faire). They put these three leadership styles into action with a group of school children charged with the completion of a craft project to determine responses to the leadership styles.

Authoritarian (Autocratic) Leadership

decorative image

Researchers found there was less creativity under an authoritarian leadership style, but the children were still productive.

While authoritarian leadership sounds stifling, it has its place: it’s best applied to situations where there is little time for group decision making, or when the leader has expertise that the rest of the group does not. When authoritarian leadership strays into areas where it’s not needed, it can create dysfunctional environments where followers are the “good guys” and domineering leaders the “bad guys.”

Participative (Democratic) Leadership

Group members feel engaged in the decision making process when they have a participative leader. Those leaders practicing the participative leadership style offer guidance to the group, as for their input in decision making but retain final say. Participative leaders make their group feel like they’re part of a team, which creates commitment within the group.

Lewin’s researchers found that the participative style of leadership yielded the most desirable results with the school children and their craft project. They weren’t quite as productive as the children in the authoritarian group, but their work was a higher quality.

There are drawbacks to the participative style. If roles within the group are unclear, participative leadership can lead to communication failures. If the group is not skilled in the area in which they’re making decisions, poor decisions could be the result.

Delegative (Laissez-Faire) Leadership

Leaders practicing the delegative leadership style are very hands-off. They offer little or no guidance to their group and leave decision making up to the group. A delegative leader will provide the necessary tools and resources to complete a project and will take responsibility for the group’s decisions and actions, but power is basically handed over to the group.

Lewin and his team found that the group of children trying to complete the craft project under the delegative leader were the least productive. They also made more demands of their leader, were unable to work independently and showed little cooperation.

The delegative style is particularly appropriate for a group of highly skilled workers, and creative teams often value this kind of freedom. On the other hand, this style does not work well for a group that lacks the needed skills, motivation or adherence to deadlines, and that can lead to poor performance.

As you might have guessed, further research has yielded more leadership styles than the original three that Lewin and his team identified in 1939. Still, Lewin’s studies were influential in establishing a starting point for this kind of research. Let’s take a look at some additional leadership styles proposed by researchers since Lewin developed his original framework.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership is a set of activities that involve an exchange between followers and leader and deal with daily tasks (Bass, 1990). Transactional leadership deals with those day-to-day tasks that get the job done. The majority of models we talked about in the last section—Fiedler’s Contingency Theory, Path-Goal among them—are based on the concept of this exchange between leaders and followers. The leader provides followers with direction, resources and rewards in exchange for productivity and task accomplishment.

Charismatic Leadership

Illustration of a man in a suit holding a cell phone

The relationship between charismatic leader and followers is an emotional one (this can sometimes go awry—just think about the relationship between the leaders and followers in a cult). In order for a charismatic leader to be effective, the situation has to be right. There are four situations required for a charismatic leader to have success:

Culturally speaking, those cultures with a tradition of prophetic salvation (e.g., Christianity, Islam) are more welcoming of the charismatic leader, while cultures without prophetic tradition are less likely to embrace them.

In spite of a limited amount of scientific study where charismatic leaders are concerned, researchers agree there are applications and lessons to be learned out of this type of leadership. Leaders should have belief in their own actions. They should seek to develop bonds with their followers. And they must be able to communicate their messages clearly.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership takes a chapter out of the book of charismatic leadership. (Bass, 1990) Followers admire and are inspired to act. But the transformational leadership concept takes that one step further and expects intellectual stimulation from a leader, as well as individual consideration, in which a leader singles out followers and provides them with additional motivation.

Transformational leaders motivate and teach with a shared vision of the future. They communicate well. They inspire their group because they expect the best from everyone and hold themselves accountable as well. Transformational leaders usually exhibit the following traits:

Measuring a leader’s ability to inspire and enable is a challenge, so researchers rely on anecdotes to supply data. This makes scientific study difficult. And even though this theory emphasize leadership behavior, it’s difficult to determine how a leader can learn to be charismatic and transformational.

Servant Leadership

If you’ve read up on the Southwest Airlines organization, then you already understand the concept of servant leadership – they profess to practice it daily. A “servant leader” is someone, regardless of their level on the corporate hierarchy, who leads by meeting the needs of the team. (Greenleaf, 1970)

Values are important in the world of servant leadership, and those that lead within this network do so with generosity of spirit. Servant leaders can achieve power because of their ideals and ethics.

Practice Question

There are many more leadership styles out there to be studied. Daniel Goleman, et. al., has written extensively about the concept of emotional intelligence in business, and he and his team review six emotional leadership styles in their book Primal Leadership . Flamholtz and Randle proposed a leadership style matrix in 2007 which measures the quality of people on a team versus the quality of the task to determine which leadership style is most appropriate.

By understanding various frameworks of leadership and how they work, those who are stepping up to lead can develop their own approaches to leadership and be more effective.


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  1. Situational Leadership

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  2. 7 Key Strengths Of Task-Oriented Leadership

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  3. What Is Task-Oriented Leadership?

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  4. The Four Leadership Styles of Situational Leadership®

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  5. Task-Oriented vs Relationship-Oriented Leadership Styles

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  6. 12.2: Management Styles

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  1. Leadership Series: Task vs Relationship Leaders

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  3. Can’t Get Your Team To Complete Their Tasks On Time? Task Management Tips!

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  1. 8 Common Leadership Styles (Plus How To Find Your Own)

    This leadership style is most effective in highly regulated industries or in departments like finance, health care or government. This style may fit your leadership approach if you're detail-oriented and task-focused, value rules and structure, are strong-willed and self-disciplined and have a great work ethic.

  2. Task-Oriented Leadership: 4 Strengths of Task-Oriented Leaders

    Task-oriented leadership is a type of leadership style in which the efficient accomplishing of tasks and business goals is the primary objective. Task-oriented leaders focus on increasing productivity, efficiency, and time management to ensure that the company effectively meets its business objectives.

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  4. What Is Task-Oriented Leadership? (With Benefits and Skills)

    Task-oriented leadership is a style of running an organization, unit, or team which focuses on tasks and the most effective way to complete them. This type of leadership is very keen on results and effectiveness. A notable feature of task-oriented leaders is that they encourage employees to complete more tasks within a particular period.

  5. Task-Oriented Leadership: The Pros and Cons

    What is task-oriented leadership? Task-oriented leadership is a leadership model where your top priority is getting tasks done to reach your team's goal. Task-oriented managers tend to be concerned with creating step-by-step plans to meet their company's objectives.

  6. What is Task-Oriented Leadership?

    A task-oriented leader places a heavy emphasis on structure, plans, and schedules for getting things done. The task-oriented leadership style might include: Step-by-step planning and reward/punishment systems Constantly defining structure and goals Prioritizing achievement of specific outcomes Sticking to rigid schedules

  7. What is Task-Oriented Leadership?- Its Definition, And Examples

    Task-oriented leadership is leadership style that is an umbrella term used for leaders who are autocratic in their style of leading their followers or subordinates. They focus on tasks rather than people. They are authoritative and ensure things are done in their own way.

  8. Leadership Styles

    Leadership styles refer to the behavioral approach employed by leaders to influence, motivate, and direct their followers. A leadership style determines how leaders implement plans and strategies to accomplish given objectives while accounting for stakeholder expectations and the wellbeing and soundness of their team.

  9. 7 Key Strengths Of Task-Oriented Leadership

    Task-oriented leadership is a directive style of leadership specifying tasks and goals. Task-oriented leaders provide steps and a plan to meet the goals of an organization. In task-oriented leadership, the leader can achieve a specific standard of performance in their direction.

  10. Relationship Vs. Task Leadership style

    According to Northouse, there are five major leadership traits and those are: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability (Northouse, 2021, pg. 32). Out of those five traits, the one that would most likely resonate with task-oriented leaders would be determination.

  11. What's Your Leadership Style?

    By adopting this style of leadership, you empower your team to make decisions and to organize its own processes, with little or no guidance. The danger of this approach is that situations can collapse into chaos if your people have low motivation or poor skills. It can work, however, if they are experienced, knowledgeable, confident, creative ...

  12. People-Oriented vs. Task-Oriented Leadership: Finding the Right Balance

    Task-oriented leadership is a leadership style that prioritizes achieving specific goals and completing tasks. Leaders who adopt a task-oriented leadership style focus on setting...

  13. The 6 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Yours

    The six most common leadership styles are: Transformational Leadership Delegative Leadership Authoritative Leadership Transactional Leadership Participative Leadership Servant Leadership What is a leadership style? A leadership style refers to a leader's methods, characteristics, and behaviors when directing, motivating, and managing their teams.

  14. Task Oriented Leadership

    Task-oriented leadership is a type of vastly practice leadership style leaders practice all over the world. The task-relationship model is defined by Forsyth as a "descriptive model of leadership that maintains that most leadership behaviors can be categorized as the key to performing maintenance or relationships."

  15. How to Lead: 6 Leadership Styles and Frameworks

    Leadership styles are classifications of how a person behaves while directing, motivating, guiding, and managing groups of people. There are many leadership styles. Some of the most widely discussed include: authoritarian (autocratic), participative (democratic), delegative (laissez-faire), transformational, transactional, and situational.

  16. 8 Common Leadership Styles (and How to Find Yours)

    Needless to say, this approach is highly directive, and is often referred to as a "telling" leadership style. Pro: Confusion and guesswork are eliminated, because tasks and expectations are clearly mapped out by the leader. Con: Due to the rigid environment and expectations, creativity and innovation may be stifled.

  17. Task Oriented vs People Oriented Leadership Style: Which One is Right

    Task-oriented leadership is a style in which the leader is more focused on the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve the goal. This type of leader is typically more organized and may be better at developing strategies and plans.

  18. The Strengths & Weaknesses of a Task-Oriented Leadership Style

    People-oriented leadership style, in one in which the leader focuses on building relationships with employees.Tasks are important, but employee welfare comes first. Collaborative leadership style ...

  19. 83 Leadership Activities, Building Games, and Exercises

    Situational leadership is when a leader is flexible in their approach and uses different leadership strategies depending on the situation (Johnson-Gerard, 2017). The following three games, from Johnson-Gerard (2017) provide an opportunity to explore situational leadership: 1. 'Jumping Ship'.

  20. Leadership Styles

    This participatory style encourages good teamwork and creative collaboration. With task-oriented leadership, you focus on getting the job done. You define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, and plan, organize, and monitor work.

  21. Does Paradoxical Leadership Facilitate Leaders' Task Performance? A

    As an emerging Chinese indigenous leadership style, paradoxical leadership has received considerable attention from researchers. Many studies have demonstrated the positive impact of paradoxical leadership on employees, teams, and organizations; however, there is less information on how paradoxical leaders influence their own work outcomes. On the basis of self-regulation theory, in this study ...

  22. Task-Oriented vs People-Oriented Leadership Styles: Characteristics

    Task-oriented leadership style. As a task-oriented leader, your objective is to get things done. These leaders lean more towards: Completing the project. Their focus is so sharp that it offers no flexibility other than to complete the assigned project. Goal-setting. If there's a skill that will help them to get the task done, they are ...

  23. The Four Leadership Styles of Situational Leadership®

    Style 1 or a telling leadership style, is characterized by the leader using moderate to high amounts of Task Behavior and moderate to low amounts of Relationship Behavior. The leader makes decisions surrounding the timely completion of the task and provides the follower with the benefit of his/her experience in that regard.

  24. PDF 10. Task Oriented Leadership

    Another leadership style that uses power and influence is transactional leadership. This approach assumes that people do things for reward and for no other reason. Therefore, it focuses on designing tasks and reward structures. While this may not be the most appealing leadership strategy in terms of building relationships and

  25. Leadership Styles

    Leadership style is a leader's approach to providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. ... 1990). Transactional leadership deals with those day-to-day tasks that get the job done. The majority of models we talked about in the last section—Fiedler's Contingency Theory, Path-Goal among them—are based on the concept of ...