Relationships among the leadership behaviors
Firstly, in choosing which of the leadership behaviors to use, two variables influence the choice: the subordinate’s characteristics and the task’s characteristics. The leader behavior is subject to these characteristics, making this a situational leadership theory. No single leadership behavior works for motivating every person and the leader supplies what is missing to motivate the follower. After this initial assessment of the follower and the task, the leader then helps the follower define goals and then reach them in the most efficient way.
Leaders may even adapt their styles with an individual during the completion of a task, if one part of the job needs a different motivation from another. [House, 1971] Secondly, in all the cases, adjusting the leadership style to suit the situation plays to the advantage of both the leader-follower relationship and the business. Employee performance and satisfaction are increased, creating a productive and beneficial working environment. [Peter, 2004] Thirdly, situational factors also determine the effects of leader behavior in all the four leadership styles.
These are the personal characteristics of the workers, and the environmental pressures which the workers must cope with in order to accomplish their goals. Fourthly, all the leadership styles share the similarity in that
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Lastly, research has shown that subordinates work performance and job satisfaction are positively influenced when the leader compensates for the shortcomings in either the subordinate or the work setting [The Basic Idea behind Path-Goal Theory, n. d. ] This applies in all the four leadership styles. Applications of the leadership styles The leadership traits as developed by Robert House can be utilized in various ways. One of them is in the emergency service oversight, which is discussed in detail below.
Emergency services oversights are the public organizations that regulate and monitor emergencies. For example, the Delaware Emergency Services Oversight Council (DEMSOC) is charged with monitoring Delaware Emergency Medical Services system to ensure that all elements of the system are functioning in a coordinated, effective and efficient manner in order to reduce morbidity and mortality rates for customers of Delaware. Using the example of DEMSOC the four leadership characteristics can be applied as follows:
First, for DEMSOC to operate smoothly there is a need for the leaders to show concern for the welfare of the subordinates –paramedics in this case- and provide a pleasant working environment. This will go a long way in boosting their self-esteem and making the job bearable especially that of dealing with traumatized accident victims at a short notice. Such supportive leadership will encourage the followers to trudge on despite the demoralizing odds inundated by strict deadlines and compassionate-demanding duties.
Two, directive leadership would be very effective when the paramedics are relatively inexperienced in their job, for instance if they are fresh from their training. The leader will have to allocate them schedules of the exact work to perform and at the specific time. It would also come out handily when dealing with a rare situation, for example when a new type of injury has to be dealt with and there is no set out procedure to follow. Three, participative leadership would apply best when the work at hand has to be performed by an advanced care paramedic.
Such a person has many years experience in delicate works and can be relied upon to make suggestions. When a rescue operation is extremely delicate necessitating effective coordination, the paramedic’s advice would play a critical role in decision making. Four, since emergency services oversight deal with saving lives or lessening suffering, the best possible standards and goals would be essential. Consequently, the leader has to show faith and confidence in the abilities of the paramedics to succeed. [Peter, 2004] Conclusion
Although the Path –Goal theory is complicated and sometimes confusing, it reminds leaders to persistently think of their core purposes as leaders, that is, to help define goals, clarify paths to get there, remove obstacles that may exist, and provide support and encouragement for achievement of goals. Most of the responsibility is on the leader however, and there is little emphasis identified for the follower. Some argue this kind of leadership may be counterproductive over time, resulting in learned helplessness. [House, 1971]
References: House, R. J. (1971). “A Path-Goal Theory of Leadership Effective”, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. XVI, 321-38 House, R. J. , & Mitchell, T. R. (1974). “Path-Goal Theory of Leadership”. Journal of Contemporary Business. Vol. 3: 81-97. Peter, G. N. (2004). Leadership: Theory and Practice (4th Ed. ). Sage Publishers, CA. “The Basic Idea Behind Path-Goal Theory. ”[n. d. ]. University of Maryland, retrieved from; http://terpconnect. umd. edu/~dbalon/EDCP317/notes/Path-Goal Theory. pdf. Accessed 2009-07-02 Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley