Leadership by definition is when a person takes a role or responsibility with or without consultation or discussion. There are two types of leaderships: task oriented leadership and/or socio-emotional leadership. Each of these leadership styles has distinct characteristics. According to (Harrisson 2002) task oriented leadership prioritize on the mission to be attained, emphasize on the accomplishment of the job and management of the organization (23). On the other hand socio-emotional leadership focuses more on the group dynamics; it ensures that all the members are in harmony and good relationship with each other.
There are many differences between these two styles of leaderships. One of the notable differences is that, whereas task-oriented leadership is concerned with the output of the organization, the socio-emotional leadership emphasize on the relationship between groups. In the same line of thought, socio-emotional leader is believed to interact more with socio-emotional groups and gain a lot of support. On the other hand, the task oriented leader has less interaction with groups and is fond of making opinions and suggestions and as a result the leadership gets agreements, disagreements and questions.
Interesting also to note is that, task oriented leadership is aligned more to ‘traditional management by objective and the reward system’ while the socio-emotional leadership embraces ‘motivation, inspiration, and intellectual stimulation’ (Goethals and Sorenson 1470). Furthermore, task oriented leadership is always on the forefront of his organization in proposing solutions to the challenges encountered and developing new ideas that can move the organization into the future. As well, socio-emotional leadership on the other hand embraces contribution by others.
More to this point, task oriented leaders are always in quest to finding information to spell out responsibilities, duties, and suggestions to its members while socio-emotional leadership show wiliness to support other people endeavors; besides, it strives to be friendly to its members and show commitment to their desires and feelings (Daft 306). Moreover, task oriented leadership rejuvenate others into taking bold steps and action while the socio-emotional leadership look out to note any problem with the group members or even unacceptable member behavior and then inquire for the members’ opinion.
Yammarino and Dansereau (2009) suggested a concise and brief method of identifying task oriented and socio-emotional leadership; they said that task-oriented leadership can be identified if a person is a leader, attentive to other people and contributes immensely to the development of the organization. Likewise, socio-emotional leadership can be identified if a person has interest and show concern over other peoples’ needs, and also has the heart of encouraging others (166). Task-oriented leadership emphasize on gathering true and factual information about a problem that is facing the members while socio-emotional leadership insist on maintaining the acceptable behavior and adhering to the agreed rules of interactions by its members.
My previous boss exhibited task-oriented leadership; he never cared much on my feelings and needs over the period I was working with him. Most of the time he would assign me a task to do and then, he would stay for 2-3weeks without conducting me or asking if am lacking anything. Occasionally, he would delay with my salary and whenever he sends it, he would not apologize for the inconvenience. In addition, he always issued instructions on the procedures of doing a task and insisted on adhering to the procedures; he never gave me an opportunity to give my own opinion or feeling or even suggest a better way of carrying out the task.
In conclusion, both styles of leadership are very important for a successful leader. Many studies have revealed that high performing leaders have both of these leadership styles integrated together. Pennington (2002) asserts that effective leaders exhibit both high task-oriented and socio-emotional traits of leadership (152).
Daft Richard. The leadership experience. 4th eds. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2007.
Goethals George and Sorenson Georgia. Encyclopedia of leadership. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE, 2004.
Harrison Jenny. Excel senior high school: community and family studies. Sydney, Australia: Pascal Press, 2002.
Pennington Donald. The social psychology of behaviour in small groups. East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press, 2002.
Yammarino Francis and Dansereau Fred. Multi-Level Issues in Organizational Behavior and Leadership. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing, 2009.
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