Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Path-Goal Theory

We all know there are tons of different theories and ideas floating out there about leadership and decision-making. Some are more touchy-feely, while others rely on more statistical models and numbers. For our reader's sake and my own, I will be highlighting these different theories throughout the next few months.

I read up on the Path-Goal Theory and thought I would share a little bit about it.

Developed by: Robert House

Based on: Expectancy Theory of Motivation and Situational Leadership

Basis: The manager's job is to coach and guide workers so that they choose the best path to help them reach their goal.

Defined by the Path-Goal Theory, leaders are expected to change leadership roles based on the situation. They are to clarify the path for employees so they know which way to achieve their goal best. In addition, the leader is expected to remove obstacles that may get into the subordinates way and also increase the level of rewards along the way as the employee achieves more.

Four Leadership Styles Used in Path-Goal:

  • Supportive Leadership - the guide, coach, cheerleader

  • Directive Leadership - telling what is to be done and at what time

  • Participative Leadership - taking others opinion and using it to help make the decision

  • Achievement-oriented Leadership - setting standards for both work and self improvement

Weaknesses I Found:

  • Assumes leader knows what situation is appropriate for each leadership style

  • Assumes leader can easily adapt and adjust to be a different leadership style

  • Assumes that only a leader can see the correct path to reach the goal and the follower cannot

  • Assumes there is only one correct way to reach a certain goal

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