Leaders typically have an orientation toward relationships and tasks. Managers with stronger relational orientations tend to put more emphasis on group harmony or coaching employees. Task-oriented leaders vary from placing slightly more focus on task discipline than group harmony to having extremely task-motivated leadership approaches. Small-business owners need to consider which type of style fits best in the culture they want to develop.


Pacesetting leaders are highly goal oriented and tend to exact pressure on their employees to complete work precisely and on time. While such task discipline and efficiency can certainly contribute to optimized short-term performance, it can also lead to employee burnout. Managers who use this style typically have obsessive or perfectionist personalities. Even when employees achieve strong results with such leaders, they don't get to rest on their laurels, as the bar is constantly raised. Negative morale can develop in an excessively pacesetting culture.


Commanding leadership, also known as transactional leadership, is driven by the simple premise that employees are obligated to follow directions when accepting payment for a job. A leader using this style may often refer to his role as the boss or supervisor to motivate task performance. He may also routinely remind employees of their job responsibilities and task standards. This approach can have efficiency benefits in the short run, but it doesn't do much to convince employees that they are valued.

Autocratic Leadership

Autocratic leadership is generally regarded as the most extreme form of task-motivated leadership. An autocratic manager has no interest in feedback, ideas or concerns from employees. Instead, she believes her role is to make decisions quickly and direct employees about their responsibilities to carry them out. Autocratic managers are quite useful in crunch time when immediate and determined actions are necessary. However, a significant intimacy gap typically exists between leaders and employees, prohibiting optimal coaching and employee development. The business may also miss out on fresh ideas by leaving front line employees out of the decision process.

Bureaucratic Leadership

Bureaucratic leadership is distinct from the other task styles because of heavy emphasis on work processes and systematic work completion. This is common in workplaces where tasks flow uniformly, such as in a manufacturing facility or public office. Bureaucratic leaders often develop within a bureaucratic workplace. This approach limits innovation and creative thinking as well as team development, but it often aids in consistent task results.