Task-Oriented vs. People-Oriented Management Styles: Which is Better?
Posted by Eric Friedman
Leadership styles vary from person to person depending on how they provide direction, implement plans, and motivate people. In every facet of business, from international banking to your local corner store, leadership styles affect the mood and workflow. Two of the most common leadership styles are task-oriented and people-oriented (also known as relationship-oriented). Each of these styles has their pros and cons, and either one can be perfect for any given situation. We’ll let you decide which is better for your organization.
Task-Oriented Management Style
Task-oriented leaders have several characteristics that help make sure that things get done in a manner that is both proficient and on time every time. These managers usually create clear, easy-to-follow work schedules with specific requirements and deadlines. The pros of this leadership style are that it maintains high standards with optimal efficiency. Employees who need structure and who struggle with managing their time work best under this kind of task-oriented leadership, because it’s more organized and is deadline driven.
The negatives of task-oriented leadership are that it can lead to a lack of employee autonomy and creativity, which can result in low morale in the office. When an employee has to work under very strict deadlines and excessive task orientation, it can bring the company culture down. Employees who are self-motivated tend to rebel in this type of environment.
The lack of creativity under excessively task-oriented management can have a negative effect on a company’s products as well, since it tends to deaden innovation. When a manager is too task-oriented, the cons can sometimes outweigh the positives.
People-Oriented Management Style
A people-oriented management style tends to energize employees because it makes them feel appreciated for the work they do. One of the biggest benefits of people-oriented management is that the focus on employee relationships makes employees feel that they make a difference in the company. And better, more effective efforts come from people who feel that they’re a part of a company’s success.
People-oriented leadership comes with a number of challenges. Sometimes employees may feel that the responsibilities they’ve been given are overwhelming, and they may need more direction. Ineffective decisions may result if the focus is consistently put on the manager and employee relationships, rather than the important business decisions that need to be made.
Make It Your Own
The key is to take the best parts of each management style, and combine them to create your own approach, one that gets the tasks done while also cultivating positive working relationships. Different approaches work better in specific situations, but if you can keep our pros and cons in mind, you’ll be well on your way to developing a leadership style uniquely your own.
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Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.
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