What Is Task-Oriented Leadership?
What Is Task-Oriented Leadership?

What Is Task-Oriented Leadership?

Definition of Task-Oriented Leadership

Task-oriented leadership describes an approach to work that involves doing whatever it takes to accomplish a task. This type of leader expects their employees to do whatever necessary to meet targets and achieve goals.

Rather than focusing on the employees, clients or other areas of a business, someone with a task-oriented outlook focuses entirely on the goals and what needs to be done to achieve them.

What Are the Characteristics of Task-Oriented Leadership?

No two people are alike, so no two task-oriented people are completely the same.

There are, however, some characteristics that are shared by many of these individuals.

Organization

Being task-oriented means that organizational skills are essential. Different types of tasks are handled by different people, so it is important to keep track of who is doing which task and when.

It is also important to be able to keep up with data that shows how well a project is progressing and how each area of the project works together.

Communication

If you are delegating tasks to other staff members and relying on them to work together and complete a task, it is important to have good, clear communication skills.

Without the ability to communicate properly, errors are more likely as people may not fully understand what they need to do. It can also make it more difficult to fix problems that may occur.

Accountability

Individuals who are task-oriented often have a strong sense of accountability. They want to know who is responsible for each area of a task to maintain accountability in any given situation.

When good things happen, having an accountable individual means that the responsible person can be easily identified and rewarded.

Alternatively, if something goes wrong, a task-oriented leader will expect the person involved to remain accountable for what has happened and find out how to resolve it.

Performance Measurement

By focusing on the goals, it makes it easy for managers to identify how well their staff members are performing. Good performance will mean that targets are met and goals are achieved.

This can mean that rewards, bonuses and positive reinforcements can be based on how well goals are met.

Delegation

Individuals who implement task-oriented leadership styles are often excellent delegators. They are able to identify the skills and talents of people within their team to make sure that tasks are given to those who are best for the job.

Being able to effectively delegate can mean that it takes less time than expected to complete tasks, because each area is handled by people with specific skills.

What Is Task-Oriented Leadership? Definition and Characteristics
What Is Task-Oriented Leadership? Definition and Characteristics

Advantages of Task-Oriented Leadership

Innovative

People who are task-oriented will work to complete tasks no matter what setbacks they might have.

When an unexpected delay or issue occurs, a solution needs to be found. This means that they are often innovative in their approach to tasks.

Deadlines Met

In a business where deadlines are important, it can be useful to have task-oriented leaders in managerial roles.

They will focus on each task in a way that breaks it down and makes it more likely that solutions will be found.

Clear Reward System

People work better when they know what is expected of them and what the possible rewards are.

In a task-oriented leadership situation, everyone knows that the focus is on completing tasks and reaching goals.

This makes forming a reward system easy, as everyone knows that rewards are based on the successful completion of projects and goals.

Disadvantages of Task-Oriented Leadership

Lower Employee Morale

When a manager or employer focuses on tasks, deadlines and goals rather than staff, it can lead to reduced employee morale.

Employees need to feel valued for more than just the goals they reach. Otherwise, if a team is unable to reach a target, it can leave them feeling demoralized and less valued.

Risk of Burnout

When there is a constant focus on completing tasks, it can lead to the risk of feeling overwhelmed and burning out.

This is because, rather than taking time in between tasks to evaluate and recharge, individuals tend to move straight from one project to the next.

Task-oriented leaders are often single-minded in their focus towards completing projects, so teams are expected to maintain a high level of productivity at all times.

Although high productivity is good for achieving tasks, it isn’t always the best thing for employees’ mental and physical health. Employees need balance to be able to perform at their best for the long term.

Inability to See the Bigger Picture

Because individuals who use a task-oriented leadership style focus on achieving tasks, they tend to be rather narrow in their view of projects as a whole.

They tend to look at one task at a time, rather than considering how actions in one task could potentially impact future projects.

Task-oriented leadership can be used in a wide variety of business situations, but it is especially useful in companies that deal with large numbers of deadlines and goals.

For example, people who work in media are often task-oriented in their approach due to the need to work to very tight deadlines.

The focus of task-oriented leadership is the completion of tasks. These can be small targets, large goals or important deadlines.

A task-oriented leader focuses on each individual task and is able to deduce what needs to be done to achieve them.

Task-oriented and person-oriented leadership styles are effectively opposites.

While task-oriented leadership focuses on completing projects, person-oriented leadership puts the focus on the needs of employees and team members. This can mean that individuals working in a person-oriented environment are encouraged to be more creative in their approach to work.

It is impossible to say whether one form of leadership is better than another. The leadership that a business requires will largely depend on the type of work involved and the needs of the company as a whole.

There are some situations where task-oriented leadership is particularly useful, such as in construction, where each section of a project needs to be completed to a tight deadline for the build to stay on schedule.

Other times, a team will respond better to a people-oriented approach, such as when a company allows for flexible working patterns to accommodate the needs of staff members.

Task-oriented leaders are found in all areas of business.

Some well-known examples include:

  • Bill Gates – Founder of Microsoft
  • Sheryl Sandberg – Former CEO of Facebook
  • Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon. He is also known to use transformational leadership

Final Thoughts

It has been proven that a task-oriented leadership style can provide positive results within business when implemented properly, but it isn't without risks or possible negative impacts.

As with any leadership style, it is important to make sure that you fully understand the strategies involved and potential risks.

Being aware of the risks involved and how to deal with them can help you to be more successful in the way that your team reacts to a task-oriented approach.


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