Leadership Theory at Work

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As leadership theory has evolved, there is a commonality that has continued over time: virtually every theory has characteristics that are task-oriented and those that are relationship-oriented. Although the specific language changes with each theory, the dichotomy still exists. Every single major leadership theory, except servant leadership, has this dual-sided set of characteristics.

Task-oriented characteristics have been described as unidirectional, providing order, consistency, and structure, setting goals, defining roles.

Relationship-oriented characteristics have been described as multidirectional, building trust, nurturing, motivating, and asking for input.

Source: Leadership: Theory and Practice 8th Edition by Peter G. Northouse (ISBN: 9781506362311)

Why do these theories matter? How do you translate these characteristics into practical knowledge?

Being a fully developed leader means being aware of and proficient at both task-oriented and relationship-oriented activities. It’s why being organized will help you strengthen your ability to engage in task-oriented activities and find time in your day that can be used to build and strengthen relationships. You can lead with flexibility without sacrificing collegiality.

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Analyst. Alchemist. Artist. Helping businesses optimize their performance. www.how-optimize.com

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Carrie Collins

Carrie Collins

Analyst. Alchemist. Artist. Helping businesses optimize their performance. www.how-optimize.com

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