After successfully completing your goals, the organization promotes you to lead a larger team with members of different backgrounds and ability. Recognizing that this is your first experience with such a team, the organization assigns a veteran as your coach. At your first meeting with the coach, he suggests you learn all about the Path-Goal Leadership Model. Explain this model and how it is relevant to managing a diverse team.
Ans: The path-goal leadership model is used to select the leadership style such as directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented appropriate to the situation i.e. subordinate and environment to maximize both performance and job satisfaction. The leader is responsible for increasing followers’ motivation to attain personal and organizational goals. Motivation is increased by clarifying the follower’s path to the rewards that are available, or increasing the rewards that the follower values and desires. Path clarification means that the leader works with followers to help them identify and learn the behaviors that will lead to successful task accomplishment and organizational rewards. The path-goal model is used to determine employee objectives and to clarify how to achieve them using one of four leadership styles. It focuses on how leaders influence employees’ perceptions of their goals and the paths they follow toward goal attainment. The situational factors are used to determine the leadership style that affects goal achievement through performance and satisfaction.
Situational Factors – Subordinate
Subordinate situational characteristics follow:
- Authoritarianism is the degree to which employees defer to others, and want to be told what to do and how to do the job.
- Locus of control is the extent to which employees believe they control goal achievement or if goal achievement is controlled by others.
- Ability is the extent of the employees’ ability to perform tasks to achieve goals.
Environment situational factors follow:
- Task structure is the extent of repetitiveness of the job.
- Formal authority is the extent of the leader’s position power.
- Work group is the extent to which coworkers contribute to job satisfaction or the relationship between followers.
Based on the situational factors in the path-goal model, the leader can select the most appropriate leadership style such as directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented.
Directive – the leader provides high structure. Directive leadership is appropriate when the followers want authority leadership, have external locus of control, and the follower ability is low.
Supportive – The leader provides high consideration. Supportive leadership is appropriate when the followers do not want autocratic leadership, have internal locus of control, and follower ability is high.
Participative – The leader includes employee input into decision making. Participative leadership is appropriate when followers want to be involved, have internal locus of control, and follower ability is high; when the environmental task is complex, authority is either strong or weak, and job satisfaction from coworkers is either high or low.
Achievement-Oriented – Achievement-oriented leadership is appropriate when followers are open to autocratic leadership, have external locus of control, and follower ability is high; when the environmental task is simple, authority is strong, and job satisfaction from coworkers is either high or low.
In this case, I am supposed to lead a larger team with members of different backgrounds and ability. So, this is quite a diverse team wherein I would have team members can have different degrees of need for Authoritarianism, Locus of control and may have different abilities or expertise. Some of them may want to be told what to do on the job whereas some of the employees may take the complete ownership of the task or job. Similarly, some may be experienced whereas others may be just out of college and freshers. Similarly, on the Environmental factors side, the task structure may be repetitive or non-repetitive. Also, the team dynamics may require some position or the personal power to be exercised. So, depending upon each of these cases, leader or manager may have to exercise any of the leadership style such as directive, supportive, participative, or achievement-oriented as explained above. Three Subordinate situational characteristics, three Environment situational factors and four leadership styles actually make multiple combinations and leadership style would be unique for each of the followers in this diverse team. So, it makes a lot of sense to learn all about the Path-Goal Leadership Model especially for a large and diverse team.
References: Lussier, R.N., Achua. C.F. (2010). Leadership, Theory, Application, Skill Development. 4th Edition. Cengage Learning. pp 162-164