Task-Oriented vs. People-Oriented Leadership Styles

by Shiloh Bell; Updated September 26, 2017
Confident in his team.

Several schools of thought have shaped the modern understanding of leadership. Each leadership style serves an acceptable purpose when applied to the proper situation. Choosing the leadership style that suits the needs of your organization can be a long process. Understanding leadership styles and the impact they have on an organization can help you to become a more effective leader.

Task-Oriented Leadership

Task-Oriented leadership places an emphasis on getting a very specific job done. This system of leadership can be described as autocratic. Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their team. Task driven leadership requires its leader to have a clear definition of productivity and roles required. This form of leadership does not place the well being of staff members as its main priority. Performance goals and deadlines are what motivate task driven leaders to succeed. Since autocratic leaders don't typically consult their team before making a decision, the task-oriented style can be beneficial since it requires clearly defined goals and procedures.

People-Oriented Leadership Approach

The people-oriented approach is the exact opposite of the task-oriented approach. The people oriented approach involves supporting and developing people in their team. This style requires a high level of participation from leadership. People-orientated leaders consider how their decisions will affect others and weights their decisions heavily against any final action. Democratic leadership is characterized by the leader's willingness to allow team members to provide input on decision making. This form of leadership requires a high level of communication with staff members. Democratic leaders would benefit from using a people-oriented leadership style.

Effectiveness of Leadership Styles on Business

It is extremely difficult to access the effectiveness of leadership styles on a company. Some researchers have argued that the influence of leaders on an organization is overrated. Although task- and people- orientated approaches to leadership contrast greatly, the effects of these two styles on a company's performance are basically identical. Generally, organizations will be content as long as team members have some sort of leader to guide them.

Choosing a Leadership Style

Choosing a leadership style is not a simple process. Leaders are expected to guide and motivate team members to perform at an acceptable level. There is no single leadership style that will guarantee the success of your business. Nevertheless, you have to choose a style that allows you to convey direction and maintains your authority.

About the Author

Shiloh Bell has been writing on business related topics since August 2000. He participated in drafting the "Inshoring Research Project for Southern Illinois" in October 2008. His area of expertise lies in business process development. Bell holds a Bachelor of Science in business economics from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

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