A Study of People-Oriented and Task-Oriented Leadership Styles

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 5
Words: 1452
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Master


People will not consider a person as a good leader if he declares himself as a good leader. A leader is declared as a good leader by the followers or the outsiders. People call a leader as a good leader based purely on his leadership qualities and the style of leadership. There are different types of leadership styles like charismatic leadership style, transformational leadership style, task-oriented leadership style, people-oriented leadership style…etc. (Leadership styles 2009).

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Aims of the dissertation

The chief aim of this dissertation is to deeply analyse the two commonly applied leadership styles, namely, people-oriented leadership style and task-oriented leadership style. The project aims at deeply analysing the task oriented leadership style and people oriented leadership style and making a comparative study of these two styles. The advantages and disadvantage both the styles are studied with the help of previous literature available on this topic and also withy the help of data collected through different methods of data collection. To be a successful leader a leader must follow a standard style of leadership. Otherwise the effective implementation of the role of the leader would be a difficult task. The project also aims at to make a conclusion of which style of leadership will be success in the business organisations.

And the paper also aims to make a relevant conclusion as to how leadership style has to be followed.

Literature review

In this dissertation mainly two types of leadership styles, namely, task-oriented leadership style and people-oriented leadership style are analysed and studied with the help of the literature available with regard to these leadership styles. Some leaders would like to adopt task-oriented leadership and some other leaders would like to adopt people-oriented leadership style. The selection of the leadership purely depends on the discretion of the leaders.

Each style has its own advantages and limitations. Task-oriented leadership style is nothing but a leadership style in which the leader performs his role of the leader focusing on the tasks to be performed by his followers. The style of leadership plays a significant role in the effectiveness of the leadership process. “Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people”. (Leadership Styles 2008).

The main focus of a task-oriented leader would be on completing the job perfectly and on time. He will clearly define the roles of each followers and prepare a plan of action to be performed by each followers. He also guides and monitor the followers in completing the task assigned to them. The main advantage of this leadership style is that the works can be completed on time and in a good quality. The main disadvantage of this leadership style is that, the leader will not be giving due consideration for the welfare of the followers. This may result in high labour turnover in the organisation. (View full version 2009).

A people-oriented leadership style is one which gives more importance and due consideration to the people, especially to the followers. Here “the leader provides a more supportive role in providing a positive work environment in which the workers can maximize their productivity” (Leadership Style, n.d.). The main advantage of this leadership style is that the employees will work hard for the achievement of the organisational goal as their welfare is also given due consideration on attaining the organisational goal.

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Another advantage is that this leadership style can ensure a reduced labour turnover. Compared to task-oriented leadership style, the people-oriented leadership style has less limitations. The main limitation is that, as this leadership style gives much consideration for the welfare of the employees or followers, it may affect productivity and quality of the work. The people-oriented leadership style is entirely different from the task-oriented leadership style. In people- oriented leadership style, the leader adopts an approach focused on organising, supporting and developing the individuals in the team of the leader.

The attitude of the leader towards the team members is of a participative style. Thus a good team work and greater collaboration between the team members is aimed to be developed by the leader for the achievement of the group’s goals. Leaders often adopt both task-oriented and people-oriented leadership approaches.

In task oriented leadership, the leader focuses on the job being done well and they seem to be autocratic. The work is well defined and structured and it is assigned to the team members. The well-being of the team members is not considered under this approach. “This approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership, with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff. Task-oriented leaders can benefit from an understanding of the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid, which can help them identify specific areas for development that will help them involve people more.” (Leadership styles 2009). In task-oriented leadership the group goals are achieved through assignment of specific tasks for each of the members in the team. This approach is affected by autocratic issues and the motivation requires greater effort.

The team needs are not considered under this approach. In order to assure the achievement of group goals, close supervision and control is essential. The leadership styles of each of the individuals are different and it has direct influence on the behaviour of followers. Leader’s approach towards followers is differentiated according to the specific nature of the situation. A leadership style adoptable in one situation may not be suited in a different situation.

Thus the effectiveness of leadership style is differentiated with the differences in the situations. “Sometimes groups led by task-oriented leaders outperformed those led by relationship-oriented leaders, but sometimes the opposite was true. The contingency model resolved this conundrum by posting that each type of leader could be effective but in different kinds of situations.” (Goethals & Burns 2004, p. 277).

The cultural dimensions of the situations have direct influence on the effectiveness of leadership styles. According to the changes in the special features of the situation, the leadership style also has to be differentiated. Cultural intelligence is another major factor that influences the effectiveness of different leadership styles. Leaders are required to undertake a culturally intelligent approach for taking the appropriate leadership styles.

Research results on the topic reveals that “relationship oriented tend to have more satisfied subordinates and that this is true across a range of different cultures.” (Thomas & Inkson 2004, p.127).

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Most business organizations focus on the improvement in performance of the individuals and for this their satisfaction is an essential factor. In relationship oriented leadership style, the personal satisfaction is greatly ensured whereas in task-based leadership approach the fulfilment of the task is only oriented. Cultural differences have influence on the effectiveness of leadership. People belonging to different cultures have different attitude towards the leadership styles of the leaders.


Data Gathering or data generation techniques

Primary data for the research are collected from interview with business leaders in different organisational and cultural categories. For this purpose specially prepared questionnaires are prepared (see appendix). Secondary data relating to the subject are collected from various academic journals and books available in the internet. The research reports of various research scholars are also considered for this research.

Trustworthiness of the method

The interview method is an appropriate primary data collection technique. It helps to collect detailed information regarding the topic with adequate accuracy and reliability. This method has certain disadvantages in terms of requirements of scarce resources of cost and time. “There are many advantages of face-to-face interviewing, and it is still considered the most accurate form of gathering data for a survey. However, interviewers must be properly trained so as not to let their personal habits or motives influence the sample respondent.” (Personal interview surveys n.d.).

Data Analysis

The data collected from the interview with different business leaders should be discussed thoroughly in order to find out the consequences of different leadership styles in different business situations

Findings and Analysis

The discussion on the effectiveness of different leadership styles in different business situations should help to arrive at a conclusion as to whether the task- oriented or people-oriented leadership approach is more effective for attaining the organizational objectives. From the analysis of the literature review and the answers to the questionnaire it is clear that both kinds of leadership style, that is, people-oriented leadership style and task-oriented leadership style have their own importance. But both of them have certain limitations too. Therefore, the leaders can choose a style which is a combination of the above said two leadership styles.


From the findings and analysis of the data collected from the interview with business leaders and critical review of the literature, a fine conclusion regarding the research topic can be formulated. It will reflect the results of the research study.


Leadership styles: understanding leadership styles 2009, Mind Tools. Web.

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Leadership styles 2008. Web.

View full version: leadership style: Task-oriented leadership 2009. Web.

Leadership style: initiating structure and consideration: what do we mean by leadership “style”? n.d. Web.

Leadership styles: task-oriented leadership 2009, Mind Tools. Web.

Goethals, G R, & Burns, J M 2004, Encyclopedia of leadership, Sage. Web.

Thomas, D C, & Inkson, K 2004, Cultural intelligence: people skills for global business, Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Web.

Personal interview surveys n.d., Integrated publishing. Web.