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A leader is a person who controls a group, department, or organization. Successful leaders need to be able to identify and understand the issues and challenges their group faces in order to make good decisions for it. A leader should also communicate well with followers and other groups, adapt well to change, and should be able to resolve conflicts within the group. Having good leadership skills can account for up to 20% of company success.
Leaders have different ways of leading and being led, which is why a leader can be considered to have multiple leadership styles. Each style will have a different effect on followers, depending on the context.
Leaders who are chosen based on the qualities listed below may have an advantage in the workplace. However, the success of such leaders depends to a large extent on their followers' expectations.
There are four fundamental types of leadership styles: task-oriented (also known as directive or "command and control"); relationship-oriented (also known as participative or "cooperative"); influencing; and result-oriented (also known as consultative or "soliciting").
The exact style adopted by a particular manager depends on his or her own beliefs, the situation, and the followers' preferences.
A task-oriented leader will be most successful when the task requires efficiency and discipline. The individual often has a very dominant role in advising or instructing others about how to perform activities, and delegates responsibilities to others. The entity receiving direction tends to be treated as an instrument of carrying out the leader's will.
Task-oriented leaders are seen as being strong, rational, independent, having good self-confidence, and being moral. However they also tend to be less concerned with people's feelings or with building harmonious relationships than they are with achieving goals.
Task-oriented leaders stress the importance of following "the plan" and being very clear about one's objectives. They can be rigid and inflexible, as well as demanding and domineering, since they often have a prominent role in leading the organization.
Task-oriented leaders will dominate employees who allow their feelings to get in the way of their work. They are likely to be impatient with employees who do not get things done quickly enough, who are always late with work, or who ask questions or make objections (such as voicing concerns or refusing directions). This style of leadership allows no room for error, but has a tendency toward overwork so that focus and attention can be maintained firmly on the task at hand.
Task-oriented leaders tend to be effective in the following situations:
A relationship-oriented leader will be most successful when the task requires cooperation and harmony among group members. Like the task-oriented leaders, they often have a dominant role in advising or instructing others about how to perform activities. But instead of giving direct commands or instructions like the task-oriented leaders do, relationship-oriented leaders try to cooperate with employees as peers and encourage them to work together for mutual benefit. By adopting this style of leadership, managers are seen as being considerate, impartial, and open to other people's ideas. Relationship-oriented leaders stress the importance of gaining consensus from employees so that everyone feels in charge of his or her own responsibilities.