Blog Post 4, September 24th 2015

Part 1: Examples of the Two Primary Kinds of Leader Behaviors

Task-Oriented Leadership: TIM COOK

Tim Cook took on the enormous task of filling Steve Jobs’ shoes — and has done it with much success. He has continued to release innovative products and stay at the forefront of cutting edge technology. And while Cook has definitely taken a different approach to leadership than his predecessor Jobs, he still keeps his eyes focused on the goal: refining Apple to his own vision and keeping it at the top of its game (Lashinsky 2015). Lashinksy also mentioned that Cook doesn’t micromanage, but he still gets involved as needed to keep his teams working toward the lofty goal of remaining at the top of the tech industry. This focus on outcomes and milestones is a clear example of Cook’s task-oriented leadership style.

Relationship-ORIENTED LEADERSHIP: POPE FRANCIS

Pope Francis may be the most progressive Pope in the history of the Catholic church, and that is because he focuses on the needs and lives of the people he interacts with. People-oriented leaders are empathetic and genuinely interested in the well-being of their followers (Gill 2014). One only has to take a quick glance at the Pope’s Twitter account to see glimpses of these qualities:

Now of course social media is not a reliable representation of anyone’s actual personality, but all media reports of Pope Francis speak positively of his demeanor. As one of the most influential people in the world, Francis is also one of the best examples of relationship-oriented leadership.

PART 2: Results of Leadership Behavior Questionnaire

Task: 37

Relationship: 36

PART 3: Leadership Behavior Questionnaire Questions

A. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?

I almost entirely agree with this one. I think good leadership requires balancing the tasks and goals and the people involved; making sure that everyone is on the same page ultimately serves the purpose of the team. In support of this, studies have shown that “leaders who practiced elements of both theories were most effective” (Morley 2015). Each behavior is integral to the other, and not being able to exercise both would be a detriment to any leadership style. People are not cogs in a machine, but they do sometimes need to be given a schedule and to-do list to stay on track.

I believe that I’m fairly good at keeping this in mind when I’m in charge. When someone doesn’t live up to expectations, I try to take into account that there are other factors and to develop a rhetoric with them so that they don’t overly stress about not completing objectives, but I also try and make sure they know they need to be able to pull their weight on the team and get their part of the project done.

B. How does the knowledge of behaviors affect your definition of leadership, if at all?

My definition-in-progress of leadership is:

Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge and skills to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire followers to work together to achieve a common goal.

I think that my definition already takes into account my thoughts on the behavioral approach to leadership, even though when I wrote it I was not explicitly aware of that approach. Task-orientation leaders are focused on methods and outcomes and relationship-oriented leaders are more concerned with the relationships between themselves and their employees and among their employees (James 2009). The last part of my definition, “inspire followers to work together to achieve a common goal,” covers both of these areas. Therefore, I don’t think my definition of leadership requires any changes this week.

C. How does the knowledge of behaviors affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?

Knowing that a balanced approach to task and relationship leadership styles makes for a good leader gives confidence to my view of myself as a leader. I have great planning and time management skills that are necessary for task-oriented leadership, and I understand the importance of relationship-oriented leadership techniques and do my best to apply them when necessary, even if I’m not quite as good at that part yet.

D. What behaviors, if any, do you need to practice to be a better leader?

In order to become a better leader, I need to work more on my understanding of emotional arguments. As an INTJ (sorry, I’m a little bit of a Myers-Briggs nerd) I have a tendency to undervalue emotions in favor of logic. Since that isn’t the way a lot of people think, in order to be a good leader I have to understand ways of thinking that aren’t my own and to realize that they are just as valid as hard logic.

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Blog Post 4, September 24th 2015

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