Leadership behaviors, attitudes, and styles are important when building relationships with others that promote healthy organizations, families, and communities. Dubrin (2012) defines leadership effectiveness as a process of helping group members reach goals based on (1) objective data such as sales and production and (2) subjective data such as judgments and perceptions by others about the leaders’ effectiveness. Effective leaders must find a way to transform traits and skills into behaviors that promote goal attainment. Because of the need for effective leadership behaviors, much research has been done on how leadership behaviors relate to organizational performance.
Researchers from Ohio State University conducted research on perceptions of leaders in the 1950’s. The researchers found that 85% of the leadership behaviors described focused on Consideration and Initiating Structure. Consideration describes the extent to which the leader creates an environment of emotional support, warmth, friendliness, and trust. Leaders that scored high on consideration, tended to be approachable and focused on the followers. These leaders were connected to the followers in a way that promoted relationships. In addition, these leaders tended to be soft spoken and did not dominate conversations with others.
Initiating Structure describes the extent to which relationships are organized and defined by assigning tasks, specifying procedures to be followed, scheduling work, clarifying expectations, and establishing realistic goals. When evaluating initiating structure, researchers found that leaders who scored high on this dimension tended clearly define personal role as well as those of group members.
Consideration and Initiating Structure are two dimensions that are not mutually exclusive and can be used to understand leadership outcomes. Consideration indicates satisfaction of followers with the leader which can lead to follower effectiveness. Initiating Structure indicates job performance by the group. These two dimensions can also be explained as relationship oriented behaviors and task oriented behaviors.
In order to be a more effective leader, we must pay close attention to both task and relationship behaviors. The following tips can help as we develop leadership behaviors that will translate to organizational effectiveness.
· Be adaptable to different situations
· Provide hands-on guidance and feedback
· Be open to others opinions
· Focus on serving others
Dubrin, Andrew. (2012). Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills, 7th Edition