Reflect on what you learned about your own leadership style. Do you consider yourself to be a task-oriented leader, or a relational-oriented leader? Do you do both well? What are the benefits of each style? One of the challenges leaders face when leading is knowing when to integrate in their task and relationship behaviors. Do you consider this a challenge for you in your leadership style?
In your initial discussion forum post,
- Share your task and relationship scores from the interactive.
- Identify which leadership style is more dominant for you: task or relationship.
- Discuss what you learned about your own leadership style. In doing so, consider these questions:
- Do you feel your scores from the interactive are accurate?
- Is one style better than the other?
- What are the benefits of each style?
Your initial post should be a minimum of 250
Introduction Most people would agree that good doctors are experts at treating disease and, at the same time, care about their patients. Similarly, good teachers are informed about the subject matter and, at the same time, are sensitive to the personal lives of their students. In leadership, the same is true. Good leaders understand the work that needs to be done and, at the same time, can relate to the people who help them do the job.
When we look at what leaders do—that is, at their behaviors—we see that they do two major things: (1) They attend to tasks, and (2) they attend to their relationships with people. The degree to which leaders are successful is determined by how these two behaviors are exhibited. Situations may differ, but every leadership situation needs a degree of both task and relationship behaviors.
Through the years, many articles and books have been written on how leaders behave (Blake & McCanse, 1991; Kahn, 1956; Misumi, 1985; Stogdill, 1974). A review of these writings underscores the topic of this chapter: The essence of leadership behavior has two dimensions—task behaviors and relationship behaviors. Certain circumstances may call for strong task behavior, and other situations may demand strong relationship behavior, but some degree of each is required in every situation. Because these dimensions are inextricably tied together, it is the leader’s challenge to integrate and optimize the task and relationship dimensions in his or her leadership role.
One way to explore our own task and relationship perspectives on leadership is to explore our personal styles (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5227) in these two areas. All of us have developed unique habits regarding work and play that have been ingrained over many years, probably beginning as far back as elementary school. Rooted in the past, these habits regarding work and play form a very real part of who we are as people and of how we function. Many of these early habits stay with us over the years and influence our current styles.
In considering your personal style, it is helpful to describe in more detail your task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors. What is your inclination toward tasks and relationships? Are you more work oriented or people oriented in your personal life? Do you find more rewards in the process of “getting things done” or in the process of relating to people? We all have personal styles that incorporate some combination of work and play. Completing the Task and Relationship Questionnaire on pages 94–96 can help you identify your personal style. Although these descriptions imply that individuals have either one style or the other, it is important to remember that each of us exhibits both behaviors to some degree.
Chapter Four Attending to Tasks and Relationshipshttps://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5227
4.1 Task and Relationship Styles Explained
Task-oriented people are goal oriented. They want to achieve. Their work is meaningful, and they like things such as to-do lists, calendars, and daily planners. Accomplishing things and doing things is the raison d’être for this type of person. That is, these people’s reason for being comes from doing. Their in-box is never empty. On vacations, they try to see and do as much as they possibly can. In all avenues of their lives, they find meaning in doing.
In his book titled Work and Love: The Crucial Balance (1980), psychiatrist Jay Rohrlich showed how work can help people organize, routinize, and structure their lives. Doing tasks gives people a sense of control and self-mastery. Achievement sharpens our self-image and helps us define ourselves. Reaching a goal, like running a race or completing a project, makes people feel good because it is a positive expression of who they are.
Some clear examples of task-oriented people include those who use color codes in their daily planners, who have sticky notes in every room of their house, or who, by 10:00 on Saturday morning, have washed the car, done the laundry, and cleaned the apartment. Task-oriented people also are likely to make a list for everything, from grocery shopping to the series of repetitions in their weight-lifting workouts. Common to all of these people is their interest in achieving the goal and accomplishing the work.
Relationship-oriented people differ from task-oriented people because they are not as goal directed. The relationship- oriented person finds meaning in being rather than in doing. Instead of seeking out tasks, relationship-oriented people want to connect with others. They like to celebrate relationships and the pleasures relationships bring.
Furthermore, relationship-oriented people often have a strong orientation in the present. They find meaning in the moment rather than in some future objective to be accomplished. In a group situation, sensing and feeling the company of others is appealing to these people. They have been described by some as “relationship junkies.” They are the people who are the last to turn off their cell phones as the airplane takes off and the first to turn the phones back on when the airplane lands. Basically, they are into connectedness.
In a work setting, the relationship-oriented person wants to connect or attach with others. For example, the relationship- oriented person would not be afraid to interrupt someone who was working hard on a task to talk about the weather, sports, or just about anything. When working out a problem, relationship-oriented people like to talk to and be associated with others in addressing the problem. They receive satisfaction from being connected to other people. They value the trust that develops in a group when relationships are strong.
A task-oriented friend described a relationship-oriented person perfectly when he said, “He is the kind of person who stands and talks to you, coffee mug in hand, when you’re supposed to be doing something like mowing the lawn or covering the boat.” A relationship-oriented person doesn’t find meaning in “doing,” but instead derives meaning from “relating” or “being.”
Everett Collection Inc/Alamy Stock Photo
4.2 Leadership Snapshot: Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance Ai-jen Poo is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and codirector of Caring Across Generations. She came to this work after observing the challenges of caregiving for her grandfather, who had suffered a stroke and was placed in a nursing home, sharing a room with six ailing, elderly people. “The place smelled like mold and death,” she wrote in her book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America (Poo, 2015, p. 2). Her grandfather died three months later. After graduating from Columbia University in 1996, Poo began organizing domestic workers.
As a thought leader and social innovator, Poo sees the future effects of demographic trends such as a burgeoning elder population that will need care in the future. With the population of U.S. residents over the age of 85 expected to double in the next 20 years, more caregiving will be required. Poo sees how interconnected innovative family care solutions are with how we structure our future workplaces, and how the government will resource and regulate elder care.
“Over and over again, at key turning points, we have invested in the infrastructure needed to thrive as a nation and to lead the safe, productive, and fulfilling lives that as individual Americans we expect to live,” Poo wrote. “And over and over again, these big ideas, and the momentum behind them, not only transformed our lives but also transformed our economy. In fact, in many cases, these investments were our economy, and most certainly saved our economy. An infrastructure for care may seem different from an infrastructure for railroads, highways, electricity, or the Internet. There are no trees to clear or wires to lay. Yet care is among the fundamental building blocks of society. For any of us, thinking about our most basic needs, care always comes first. There’s no need for the Internet, or even electricity, if there’s no way to feed, bathe, or clothe yourself” (Poo, 2015, p. 143).
In her career, Poo demonstrates both relationship leadership and task leadership. To learn more about the needs of domestic workers, “she spent countless hours in parks, buses, and other gathering places for domestic workers, creating opportunities for these largely isolated women to share their experiences, guiding mistreated workers to appropriate legal channels, articulating the vital economic role of domestic workers, and developing with workers a framework of legal standards for the industry” (MacArthur Foundation, 2019). By listening to and caring about their experiences, Poo shows respect for domestic workers and acknowledges that their work has inherent dignity.
“There are more than 2.5 million women in the United States who make it possible for us to do what we do every day, knowing that our loved ones and homes are in good hands. They are the nannies that take care of our children, the housekeepers that bring sanity and order to our homes, and the home-care workers that care for our parents and support the independence of our disabled family members,” said Poo (Fessler, 2018).
Poo also builds relationships with the domestic workers, learning from them what their needs actually are, and connecting them with others in similar situations, to form a larger sense of identity and community. As the director of the NDWA, Poo has built a culture of trust and empowerment for women. Many of the organization’s staff work remotely, so twice per year they hold a retreat for all employees where they plan together, laugh together, and share stories. “An important part of the time together is connecting on a personal level, not because we need everyone to be friends, but to know one another’s context: Why are you here? What’s your story? Our personal journeys are an endless well of inspiration and resilience,” Poo explains (Fessler, 2018).
Poo has built her activist work on this foundation of caring for others. Her task leadership is expressed in several ways. First, she has envisioned ways to organize domestic workers into an effective and unified voice for change. As the director of the NDWA, her core responsibility is to help the organization to reach its goals of educating the public about how domestic labor should be viewed and valued, raising the labor standards for all domestic workers, and training new leaders for the labor movement. Poo does this by staying focused on the mission of the organization, developing programs that support that mission, and hiring and equipping employees to assist in this work: “NDWA centers the voice and leadership of women of color in everything we do” (National Domestic Workers Alliance, 2016).
Second, Poo has organized workers to advocate for legislation that acknowledges and protects domestic workers’ rights. In 2010, New York enacted the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which entitles workers to overtime pay, one day of rest per week, protection from discrimination, and three days of paid leave per year—after a hard-fought seven-year legislative campaign led by Poo and a dedicated group of workers and advocates. The bill also drew support from an unlikely coalition of domestic workers, their employers, and other unions forged by Poo’s ability to leverage common interests across diverse groups (MacArthur Foundation, 2019).
Poo received a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation in 2014, and she was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012 and one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders in 2015. While her task leadership has received the most recognition, the behavior Poo most attributes to her success is listening. “The best ideas from our organization have come from listening to our members,” she said. “And believe me—when you listen to women, especially to those who have been the least visible in society, you will hear some of the most extraordinary stories that represent the best of who we are as a nation. Listening is a practice; you don’t have to be a natural listener to be a good listener, and it’s something we can, and should, all learn to do” (Fessler, 2018).
4.3 Task and Relationship Styles in Practice In the previous section, you were asked to consider your personal style regarding tasks and relationships. In this section, we are going to consider the task and relationship dimensions of your leadership style.
Figure 4.1 (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-43#s9781544351636.i1361) illustrates dimensions of leadership along a task–relationship continuum. Task-oriented leadership (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5263) , which appears on the left end of the continuum, represents leadership that is focused predominantly on procedures, activities, and goal accomplishments. Relationship-oriented leadership (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5243) , which appears on the right end of the continuum, represents leadership that is focused primarily on the well-being of followers, how they relate to each other, and the atmosphere in which they work. Most leadership falls midway between the two extremes of task- and relationship-oriented leadership. This style of leadership is represented by the midrange area, a blend of the two types of leadership.
Men and women use both styles of leadership. However, they are not perceived the same way by observers when they use these styles. Though the U.S. workplace has become more egalitarian in recent years, social expectations still linger for women leaders to be more relational or communal than task oriented (Eagly & Karau, 2002). In order to be seen as effective leaders, women need to be especially conscious of how they balance the two styles. Zheng, Surgevil, and Kark (2018) found that women leaders balance these styles through seemingly contradictory pairs of traits that are directly linked to relationship- and task-oriented behaviors: demanding (task) and caring (relational); authoritative (task) and participative (relational); and distant (task) and approachable (relational). Women leaders will often switch between the behaviors depending on the situation, including first using the relationship style to build trust and then using authoritativeness to accomplish goals. In addition, women leaders seek to reframe a relational orientation not as weakness but as a reflection of their confidence. By bringing relationship and task behaviors into coexistence, women are able to advance their performance, rally others toward common goals, align people’s interests, and build leader–follower relationships.
As discussed at the beginning of this chapter, good leaders understand the work that needs to be done, as well as the need to understand the people who will do it. The process of “doing” leadership requires that leaders attend to both tasks and relationships. The specific challenge for the leader is to decide how much task orientation and how much relationship orientation is required in a given context or situation.
Description (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-47#s9781544351636-fig-4-1-longdesc) Figure 4.1 Task–Relationship Leadership Continuum
Task leadership behaviors facilitate goal accomplishment—they are behaviors that help group members to achieve their objectives. Researchers have found that task leadership includes many behaviors. These behaviors are frequently labeled in different ways, but are always about task accomplishment. For example, some have labeled task leadership as initiating structure (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5204) , which means the leader organizes work, defines role responsibilities, and schedules work activities (Stogdill, 1974). Others have labeled task leadership as production orientation (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5237) , which means the leader stresses the production and technical aspects of the job (Bowers &https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-43#s9781544351636.i1361https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5263https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5243https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-47#s9781544351636-fig-4-1-longdeschttps://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5204https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5237
Seashore, 1966). From this perspective, the leader pays attention to new product development, workload matters, and sales volume, to name a few aspects. A third label for task leadership is concern for production (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5168) (Blake & Mouton, 1964). It includes policy decisions, new product development, workload, sales volume, or whatever the organization is seeking to accomplish.
In short, task leadership occurs anytime the leader is doing something that assists the group in reaching its goals. This can be something as simple as handing out an agenda for an upcoming meeting or as complex as describing the multiple quality control standards of a product development process. Task leadership includes many behaviors: Common to each is influencing people toward goal achievement.
As you would expect, people vary in their ability to show task-oriented leadership. There are those who are very task oriented and those who are less task oriented. This is where a person’s personal style comes into play. Those who are task oriented in their personal lives are naturally more task oriented in their leadership. Conversely, those who are seldom task oriented in their personal lives will find it difficult to be task oriented as a leader.
Whether a person is very task oriented or less task oriented, the important point to remember is that, as a leader, he or she will always be required to exhibit some degree of task behavior. For certain individuals this will be easy and for others it will present a challenge, but some task-oriented behavior is essential to each person’s effective leadership performance.
Relationship leadership behaviors help followers feel comfortable with themselves, with each other, and with the situation in which they find themselves. For example, in the classroom, when a teacher requires each student to know every other student’s name, the teacher is demonstrating relationship leadership. The teacher is helping the students to feel comfortable with themselves, with other students, and with their environment.
Researchers have described relationship leadership in several ways that help to clarify its meaning. It has been labeled by some researchers as consideration behavior (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5175) (Stogdill, 1974), which includes building camaraderie, respect, trust, and regard between leaders and followers. Other researchers describe relationship leadership as having an employee orientation (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5188) (Bowers & Seashore, 1966), which involves taking an interest in workers as human beings, valuing their uniqueness, and giving special attention to their personal needs. Another line of research has simply defined relationship leadership as concern for people (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5167) (Blake & Mouton, 1964). Within an organization, concern for people includes building trust, providing good working conditions, maintaining a fair salary structure, and promoting good social relations.
Essentially, relationship leadership behavior is about three things: (1) treating followers with dignity and respect, (2) building relationships and helping people get along, and (3) making the work setting a pleasant place to be. Relationship leadership behavior is an integral part of effective leadership performance.
In our fast-paced and very diverse society, the challenge for a leader is finding the time and energy to listen to all followers and do what is required to build effective relationships with each of them. For those who are highly relationship oriented in their personal lives, being relationship oriented in leadership will come easily; for those who are highly task oriented, being relationship oriented in leadership will present a greater challenge. Regardless of your personal style, every leadership situation demands a degree of relationship leadership behavior.
As discussed earlier in this chapter, task and relationship leadership behaviors are inextricably tied together, and a leader’s challenge is to integrate the two in an optimal way while effectively adapting to followers’ needs. The U.S. Army has a saying: “Mission first, people always.” That means that the leader must nurture interpersonal and team relationships at all times in order to ensure that followers will be motivated to achieve their assigned goals or projects. Task leadership is also critically important in a company or an organization with a large number of newly hired employees or at a charter school with a cadre of new faculty members. It is also called for in an adult fitness class when the instructor is introducing a newhttps://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5168https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5175https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5188https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5167
exercise. Or, consider the family members of a patient going home after a major heart surgery who have to learn how to change dressings and give medications; they want the health professionals to tell them exactly what to do and how to do it. In situations like these, the followers feel uncertain about their roles and responsibilities, and they want a leader who clarifies their tasks and tells them what is expected of them. In fact, in nearly every group or situation, there are some individuals who want and need task direction from their leader, and in these circumstances, it is paramount that the leader exhibit strong task-oriented leadership.
On the other hand, it is also true that many groups or situations will have individuals who want to be affiliated with or connected to others more than they want direction. For example, in a factory, in a classroom, or even at a workplace like a fast-food restaurant, there are individuals who want the leader to befriend them and relate to them on a personal level. The followers are willing to work, but they are primarily interested in being recognized and feeling related to others. An example would be individuals who attend a cancer support group. They like to receive information from the leader, but even more importantly, they want the leader to relate to them. It is similar with individuals who attend a community- sponsored reading club. They want to talk about the book, but they also want the leader to relate to them in a more familiar way. Clearly, in these situations, the leader needs to connect with these followers by utilizing relationship-oriented behaviors.
In addition to task and relationship behaviors, Yukl, Gordon, and Taber (2002) identified a third category of leader behaviors relevant to effective leadership, which they labeled change behaviors. Based on an analysis of a large number of earlier leadership measures, the researchers found that change behaviors included visioning, intellectual stimulation, risk- taking, and external monitoring. This category of behaviors has been less prominent in the leadership literature but still is a valuable way to characterize what leaders do. Change behaviors are closely related to leadership skills and creating a vision, which we discuss in Chapter 5, “Developing Leadership Skills,” and Chapter 7, “Creating a Vision,” of this book.
Box 4.1 Student Perspectives on Task and Relationship Styles
The following examples are personal observations written by college students. These papers illuminate the distinct differences task and relationship orientations can have in real-life experiences.
Taken to Task I am definitely a task-oriented person. My mother has given me her love of lists, and my father has instilled in me the value of finishing things once you start them. As a result, I am highly organized in all aspects of my life. I have a color-coded planner with all of the activities I need to do, and I enjoy crossing things off my lists. Some of my friends call me a workaholic, but I don’t think that is accurate. There are just a lot of things I have to do.
My roommate Steph, however, is completely different from me. She will make verbal lists for her day, but usually will not accomplish any of them [the items listed]. This drives me crazy when it involves my life. For example, there were boxes all over the place until about a month after we moved into our house. Steph would say every day that she was going to focus and get her room organized that day, but she’d fail miserably most of the time. She is easily distracted and would pass up the opportunity to get unpacked to go out with friends, get on Facebook, or look at YouTube videos.
No matter how much Steph’s life stresses me out, I have learned from it. I’m all about having a good time in the right setting, but I am coming to realize that I don’t need to be so planned and scheduled. No matter how carefully you do plan, something will always go awry. I don’t know that Steph is the one who has taught me that or if I’m just getting older, but I’m glad I’m learning that regardless.
Being Rather Than Doing
I am an extremely relationship-oriented person. While I know that accomplishing tasks is important, I believe the quality of work people produce is directly related to how they feel about themselves and their leader.
I had the privilege of working with fifth graders in an after-school program last year. There was a range of issues we dealt with including academic, behavioral, and emotional problems, as well as kids who did not have safe homes (i.e., no running water or electricity, physical and emotional abuse, and drug addictions within the home). The “goal” of our program was to help these kids become “proficient” students in the classroom.
The task-oriented leaders in administration emphasized improving students’ grades through repetition of school work, flash cards, and quizzes. It was important for our students to improve their grades because it was the only way statistically to gauge if our program was successful. Given some of the personal trials these young people were dealing with, the last thing in my “relationship-oriented” mind was working on their academics. These young people had so much potential and wisdom that was stifled when they were asked to blindly follow academic assignments. In addition, they did not know how to self-motivate, self-encourage, or get the work done with so many of life’s obstacles in their way.
Instead of doing school work, which the majority of my students struggled with and hated, I focused on building relationships with and between the students. We used discussion, role play, dance parties, and leadership projects to build their self-confidence and emotional intelligence. The students put together service projects to improve their school and community including initiating a trash pickup and recycling initiative at the school and making cards for a nearby nursing home. By the end of the year almost every one of my students had improved his or her grades significantly. More important, at our daily “cheer-for-each-other” meetings, the students would beam with pride for their own and others’ successes.
I guess my point in telling this story is that relationship-oriented leadership is more important to me than task. I much prefer “being” than “doing.” I am not an organized, goal-oriented person. I rarely make it out of my house without going back two or three times to grab something I forgot, and my attention span is shorter than that of a fruit fly. However, I feel that my passion for relationships and human connection is what motivates me.
A Blend of Both The Style Approach categorizes leaders as being either task oriented or relationship oriented. While I agree that there are these styles of leadership, I disagree that everyone can be placed concretely into one or the other. The Ohio State study says it well by stating that there are “two different continua.” When it comes to determining where I stand on each continuum, I’d have to say I’m about even. Not surprisingly, my results of the Task and Relationship Questionnaire reflect these thoughts: I scored a solid 41 in both task- and relationship-oriented styles; I’m equally task and relationship oriented, with each of these styles becoming more prevalent in certain situations.
While I truly enjoy being around other people, making sure everyone is happy and that we all enjoy our time, I’m very focused and goal oriented. If I’m at the movies with my friends, I’m not worrying about a to-do list; alternatively, if I’m working on a group project for school, I’m not as concerned about making friends with the group members.
Completing tasks is very important to me. I have an agenda that I keep with me at all times, partly because without it I would never remember anything, and partly because it provides satisfaction and peace of mind. I make to-do lists for myself: groceries, household chores, homework, and goals. I thrive when I’m busy, but not if I’m disorganized. For example, this semester I’m taking 20 credits, applying to graduate schools, taking the GRE, and working at the bookstore. For me it is comforting to have so many responsibilities. If I have downtime, I usually waste it, and I hate that feeling.
I also feel, however, that I’m very relationship oriented. My task-oriented nature doesn’t really affect how I interact with people. I like to make sure people are comfortable and confident in all situations. While I pressure myself to get things done and adhere to a schedule, I’d never think of pushing those pressures onto someone else. If I were
the leader of a group that wasn’t getting things done, I’d set an example, rather than tell someone what he or she should be doing.
For me, the idea of “two continua” really makes sense. Whether I am task or relationship focused depends on the situation. While I certainly want to have fun with people, I’m a proponent of the “time and place” attitude, in which people remember when it is appropriate to socialize and when it is appropriate to get a job done.
In society, the most effective leaders recognize and adapt to followers’ needs. Whether they are team leaders, teachers, or managers, they appropriately demonstrate the right degrees of task and relationship leadership. This is no small challenge because different followers and situations demand different amounts of task and relationship leadership. When followers are unclear, confused, or lost, the leader needs to show direction and exhibit task-oriented leadership. At the same time, a leader needs to be able to see the need for affiliation and attachment in followers and be able to meet those needs, without sacrificing task accomplishment.
In the end, the best leader is the leader who helps followers achieve the goal by attending to the task and by attending to each follower as a person. We all know leaders who do this: They are the coaches who force us to do drills until we are blue in the face to improve our physical performance, but who then caringly listen to our personal problems. They are the managers who never let us slack off for even a second, but who make work a fun place to be. The list goes on, but the bottom line is that the best leaders get the job done and care about others in the process.
Summary Good leaders are both task oriented and relationship oriented. Understanding your personal styles of work and play can provide a better recognition of your leadership. Task-oriented people find meaning in doing, while relationship-oriented people find meaning in being connected to others. Effective leadership requires that leaders be both task oriented and relationship oriented.
concern for people (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5167) 85
concern for production (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5168) 84
consideration behavior (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5175) 84
employee orientation (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5188) 84
initiating structure (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5204) 84
personal styles (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5227) 79
production orientation (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5237) 84
relationship-oriented leadership (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5243) 83
task-oriented leadership (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint- 78#s9781544351636.i5263) 83https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5167https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5168https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5175https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5188https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5204https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5227https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5237https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5243https://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-78#s9781544351636.i5263
4.1 Case Study—From Two to One
Mark Schmidt runs Co-Ed Cleaners, a business that employs college students to clean offices and schools during the night hours. Due to an economic downturn, Co-Ed Cleaners has lost customers, and although Mark has trimmed everywhere he can think of, he has come to the conclusion that he has to cut back further. This will require letting one of his two managers go and consolidating responsibilities under the other manager’s leadership.
Dan Cali manages groups of students who clean school buildings. Dan is always on the go, visiting cleaning teams at each school while they are working. His employees describe him as an efficient taskmaster with checklists they are all required to follow and sign off on as they complete each job. Dan initiates most ideas for changing processes based on efficiency. When something goes wrong on a job, Dan insists he be alerted and brought in to solve it. “Dan is a very task-oriented guy,” says one of his team members. “There is no one who works harder than he does or knows more about our jobs. This guy gets more done in an hour than most guys do in a day. In the two years I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him stop and take a break or even have a cup of coffee.” Dan’s efforts have helped Co-Ed Cleaners be recognized as “The Best Professional Cleaning Service” for three years running.
Asher Roland is the manager of groups of students who clean small offices and businesses. Asher has up to 10 teams working a night and relies on his employees to do their jobs and keep him apprised of problems. He takes turns working alongside his teams to understand the challenges they may face, getting to know each of his employees in the process. Once a month, he takes the teams to a restaurant for a “Great Job Breakfast” where they talk about sports, the weather, politics, their relationships and families, and, when they have time, work issues. One of his employees describes him this way: “Asher is a really good guy. Never had a better boss. If I am having problems, I would go to Asher first. He always advocates for us and listens when we have ideas or problems, but allows us to manage our own jobs the way we think best. He trusts us to do the right things, and we trust him to be fair and honest with us.”
Mark likes both Dan and Asher, and in their own way they are both good managers. Mark worries, however, about how each manager’s individual style will affect his ability to take on the responsibilities of the manager he replaces. He must let one go, but he doesn’t know which one.
1. Using ideas from the chapter, describe Dan’s and Asher’s styles of leadership.
2. How will Asher’s employees, who are used to being able to manage themselves in their own way, respond to Dan’s task-oriented style?
3. How will Dan’s employees, who are used to being given clear direction and procedures, respond to Asher’s more relationship-oriented style?
4. If you were an employee at Co-Ed Cleaners, would you want Mark to let Dan or Asher go? Explain your choice.
4.2 Case Study—Day and Night
By day, Alice and Heather are the director and assistant director (respectfully) of a human resources (HR) department for a large community college that has 30,000 students at multiple campuses and educational centers. On nights and weekends, their business suits come off, and together Alice and Heather run a local nonprofit organization called Operation D.O.G. (ODOG).
As a member of the executive team for the college, Alice has a leadership role that extends not just to those who report directly to her but to the college overall. Constantly busy with different projects both at work and at home (she owns a
small acreage on the outskirts of town where she raises vegetables and cares for geriatric horses), her days are filled with to-do lists. On the rare “girls’ weekend away,” she is the one who makes up the itinerary, makes the hotel and restaurant reservations, and sees to it that everyone is where she is supposed to be at the designated time. At the college, Alice is responsible for the overall management and day-to-day operations of the HR team, ensuring deadlines are met, projects are completed, and the team meets the needs of its diverse customer base. On an average day, Alice and her team may perform a complex set of tasks, including negotiations, recruiting, regulatory interpretations, compliance and reporting, salary and benefit plan administration, and counseling and advising, as well as navigating personnel issues across the campuses. As a member of the institution’s executive team, Alice also participates in strategic planning for the college and is heavily involved with the Board of Education that governs the college. Acutely aware that the development of her team is key to its success, Alice takes a personal interest in each employee, purposefully leading her team members through coaching, empowerment, and trust building.
Heather, who in her 20s survived an aggressive form of cancer, has a strong proclivity for fostering relationships. Her battle with cancer at such a young age heightened her sense of compassion and helped shape her perspective on the importance of connection. While she has many task responsibilities in her role as the assistant director, she, not surprisingly, describes her primary focus as “maintaining the culture” for the team and the college as a whole. This involves developing connections and having ongoing communication with internal and external customers. Heather also guides managers across the college in developing their leadership, conflict resolution, and effective communication skills. She does this through training and in one-on-one consultations with people and modeling the leadership behavior she wants to instill in others.
Alice finds her position to require that she be much more authoritative and task oriented in order to keep on top of all the responsibilities she has and people she must work with. Heather, on the other hand, is the softer side of HR, finding that her relational skills and compassion come into play in most of her daily interactions with other staff and the college community.
Alice and Heather also work closely together outside of the college on another enterprise: a fledgling nonprofit called Operation D.O.G. ODOG works with dog owners and rescue organizations to provide financial assistance and case management for dogs suffering from treatable medical conditions in order to either keep them in or find them loving homes.
Alice and Heather share a deeply held belief that every dog deserves a chance at a healthy and happy life. Traditionally, dogs with medical issues are less likely to be adopted from shelters. Often, low-income individuals and families may be forced to euthanize or surrender their pets to a shelter when a pet has a medical issue they cannot afford to treat. Dog rescue organizations take some of these animals, but without outside financial support, they may be reluctant or unable to take on the financial burden.
Each case is considered on an individual basis, requiring that Heather and Alice, currently the only staff of the organization, work directly with owners and their animals. Because they often learn intimate details about people’s lives and financial states, both Heather and Alice have to develop relationships of trust with the owners and their pets. At the same time, the pair meets with animal rescues and shelters, veterinarians, and community members to build partnerships and secure treatment. Either Heather or Alice will follow each dog through its medical treatment from beginning to end, assisting with the coordination of care and financial arrangements.
Heather and Alice also oversee the business management functions of the nonprofit including fund-raising, raising awareness through advertising and promotions, accounting and reporting, regulatory compliance, negotiating, public speaking, and presenting. Currently, neither Alice nor Heather is paid for her ODOG role; all funds raised go directly to the clients. Both women endeavor to grow the organization and its sphere of influence. They envision serving additional counties and eventually opening a shelter with a dedicated veterinarian clinic that would provide discounted services to low-income individuals and families.
1. In their roles for the college, how would you categorize Alice’s and Heather’s task and relational leadership behaviors? Using the format in the following grid, rate each woman’s predisposition toward each behavior type
(on a scale of 1–10, with 10 being high). In the explanation column, support your rating with examples.
2. Looking at your rankings in question 1, do you feel the two women’s leadership styles complement each other? Why or why not?
3. How would you rate the importance of task behaviors vs. relationship behaviors in their leadership of Operation D.O.G.? Is one behavior more important in these roles than the other? Will Alice and Heather be equally as effective in running the nonprofit as they appear to be at the college? Explain your answer.
4.3 Task and Relationship Questionnaire
1. To identify how much you emphasize task and relationship behaviors in your life
2. To explore how your task behavior is related to your relationship behavior
Directions For each of the following items, indicate on the scale the extent to which you engage in the described behavior. Move through the items quickly. Do not try to categorize yourself in one area or another.
1. Sum scores for the odd-numbered statements (task score).
2. Sum scores for the even-numbered statements (relationship score).
Task score: __________________________
Relationship score: __________________
Scoring Interpretation This questionnaire is designed to measure your task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership behavior. By comparing your scores, you can determine which style is more dominant in your own style of leadership. If your task score is higher than your relationship score, you tend to give more attention to goal accomplishment and somewhat less attention to people-related matters. If your relationship score is higher than your task score, your primary concern tends to be dealing with people, and your secondary concern is directed more toward tasks. If your scores are very similar to each other, it suggests that your leadership is balanced and includes an equal amount of both behaviors.
If your score is 40–50, you are in the high range.
If your score is 31–39, you are in the moderately high range.
If your score is 21–30, you are in the low range.
If your score is 10–20, you are in the very low range.
4.4 Observational Exercise
Task and Relationship
1. To understand how leadership includes both task and relationship behaviors
2. To contrast different leaders’ task and relationship behaviors
1. Over the next couple of days, observe the leadership styles of two different leaders (e.g., teacher, athletic coach, choir director, restaurant manager, work supervisor).
2. Record your observations of the styles of each person.
Leader 1 (name) _________________________________________________________________________________
Leader 2 (name) ________________________________________________________________________________
1. What differences did you observe between the two leaders?
2. What did you observe about the leader who was most task oriented?
3. What did you observe about the leader who was most relationship oriented?
4. How effective do you think you would be in each of these leadership positions?
4.5 Reflection and Action Worksheet
Task and Relationship
1. As you reflect on what has been discussed in this chapter and on your own leadership style, how would you describe your own style in relation to task and relationship orientations? What are your strengths and weaknesses?
2. What biases do you maintain regarding task style and relationship style? How do your biases affect your leadership?
3. One of the most difficult challenges leaders face is to integrate their task and relationship behaviors. Do you see this as a challenge in your own leadership? How do you integrate task and relationship behaviors?
1. If you were to change in an effort to improve your leadership, what aspect of your style would you change? Would you try to be more task oriented or more relationship oriented?
2. Identify three specific task or relationship changes you could carry out.
3. What barriers will you face as you try to make these changes?
4. Given that you believe this change will improve your overall leadership, what can you do (i.e., what strategies can you use) to overcome the barriers you cited in Action Item 3?
Marillyn Hewson, the first female CEO of Lockheed Martin, prefers to be seen as a leader first rather than be categorized by gender, and she emphasizes the importance of building relationships on the job.
Padmasree Warrior, CTO at Cisco Systems, spends much of her time talking with customers and experts about the future. She discusses the need to continually listen and learn—never assume you know everything.
Media and Resources
Continue to Listen and Learn
Succeeding as a Female CEO From Title:
Marillyn Hewson (https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=187294)
© Infobase. All Rights Reserved. Length: 03:15
0:000:00 / 3:15 / 3:15 1x1xhttps://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=187294
Use this interactive version of the Task and Relationship Questionnaire to identify how much you emphasize task and relationship behaviors in your life and how they are related.
Succeeding as a Female CTO From Title:
Mariah Carey/Padmasree Warrior (https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx? wID=100753&xtid=187279)
© I f b All Ri ht R d L th 02 37
0:000:00 / 2:37 / 2:37 1x1xhttps://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?wID=100753&xtid=187279
References Blake, R. R., & McCanse, A. A. (1991). Leadership dilemmas: Grid solutions. Houston, TX: Gulf.
Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1964). The managerial grid. Houston, TX: Gulf.
Bowers, D. G., & Seashore, S. E. (1966). Predicting organizational effectiveness with a four-factor theory of leadership. Administrative Science Quarterly, 11(2), 238–263.
Eagly, A., & Karau, S. J. (2002). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Fessler, L. (2018, February 6). MacArthur genius Ai-jen Poo makes the economic case for listening. Quartz at Work. Retrieved from https://qz.com/work/ (https://qz.com/work/)
Kahn, R. L. (1956). The prediction of productivity. Journal of Social Issues, 12(2), 41–49.
MacArthur Foundation. (2019). Ai-jen Poo. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/fellows/924/ (https://www.macfound.org/fellows/924/)
Misumi, J. (1985). The behavioral science of leadership: An interdisciplinary Japanese research program. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
National Domestic Workers Alliance. (2016). What we do. Retrieved from https://www.domesticworkers.org/worker- organizing-leadership (https://www.domesticworkers.org/worker-organizing-leadership)
Poo, A. (with Conrad, A.). (2015). The age of dignity: Preparing for the elder boom in a changing America. New York, NY: New Press.
Rohrlich, J. B. (1980). Work and love: The crucial balance. New York, NY: Summit Books.
Stogdill, R. M. (1974). Handbook of leadership: A survey of theory and research. New York, NY: Free Press.
Yukl, G., Gordon, A., & Taber, T. (2002). A hierarchical taxonomy of leadership behavior: Integrating a half century of behavior research. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 9(1), 15–32.
Zheng, W., Surgevil, O., & Kark, R. (2018). Dancing on the razor’s edge: How top-level women leaders manage the paradoxical tensions between agency and communion. Sex Roles, 79(11–12), 633–650.
Descriptions of Images and Figures
Back to Figure (http://content.thuzelearning.com/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-43#s9781544351636.i1361) A horizontal bar labeled Emphasis with 2 arrows at each end.
The left of the timeline above the left arrow is labeled Task-oriented leadership. The center of the timeline is labeled Midrange. The right of the timeline above the right arrow is labeled Relationship-oriented leadership.https://qz.com/work/https://www.macfound.org/fellows/924/https://www.domesticworkers.org/worker-organizing-leadershiphttps://content.ashford.edu/books/Northouse.6443.20.1/sections/navpoint-43#s9781544351636.i1361