Task-Oriented Culture Vs. Social-Oriented Culture
Your small business has its own personality. You encourage attitudes among your employees toward getting work done and achieving goals. While you may desire a single-minded effort to complete tasks, your employees may ask that you acknowledge their needs and desires. You must choose a balance between a task-orientation and a people-orientation to create a culture that helps you run your business successfully.
Once you write down your goals and objectives, you can clearly see what tasks you need your employees to complete. You can easily set aside concerns about employee endurance, attention spans, ability to produce quality work consistently and the need for breaks. This focus on tasks can lead to some overly optimistic projections on your part. For example, if you calculate that your production crew can complete 100 units per hour, you might be tempted to think it could complete 800 units in an eight-hour shift. You would be overlooking the need for lunch time and breaks.
According to Iowa State University's Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, American businesses that have operations in Saudi Arabia and Mexico often find difficulty getting through meeting agendas. Those cultures prefer a lot of socializing time before meetings. A social-oriented culture in your business can mean a lot of non-productive time. You have to pause periodically in your quest for maximum productivity to meet with employees and make sure their needs are being met, that they have high job satisfaction, and that they have ample opportunity to express their concerns and issues. In this type of business culture, productivity concerns come after social and human needs.
Carrie Foster, Director of Development at Fortitude Development Limited, says that effective leaders combine a task orientation with a social orientation. Those with a knack for working toward organizational goals while meeting the needs of people doing the work tend to have fewer conflicts between the employees and the company. In this blended model, the tasks drive the activities of employees, but management demonstrates care and concern for employee needs.
As an entrepreneur, you may be accustomed to setting goals and meeting them no matter what it takes. You do whatever tasks are necessary and have the ability to drive yourself and postpone your needs. As an employer, you have to take care of your employees, or no one will be around to perform the tasks you designate. Evaluate your leadership style to see if you can find room to be both task-oriented and social-oriented without sacrificing the effectiveness of your company. This can create a culture that allows for job satisfaction and high productivity.