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Path-Goal Approach to Leadership

Introduction

Leadership is a prerequisite of success in any given company, regardless of its size, focus, and market position. The course has provided a significant amount of information on various leadership models and styles that can be used in practice to achieve positive results. Nevertheless, leadership also requires continuous self-assessment, reflection, and improvement. The present paper will explore my leadership style and approach with reference to theoretical concepts learned in class. It will provide an assessment of my skills and a plan to improve my leadership capacity in accordance with the transformational leadership theory.

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Leadership Approach

As a follower, I feel most comfortable with leaders whose approach to leadership seeks to balance productivity and individual well-being, as I think that these two factors are equally important to success. The path-goal approach to leadership is focused on the purpose of work, thus allowing to enhance the productivity of the workforce (Dugan, Turman, & Barnes, 2017). However, it also takes into account the individual needs of employees and thus helps to ensure appropriate levels of motivation, morale, and job satisfaction (Dugan et al., 2017). Hence, I believe that this approach is extremely useful in most business settings. It also describes me as a leader, since I aim to ensure that there is an equilibrium between organizational performance and the employees’ needs.

Another factor that can be used to relate my leadership style to the path-goal theory is that I change my leadership behaviors depending on the situation. Path-goal leadership includes a variety of leadership styles, including directive, supportive, achievement-oriented, and participative leadership (Goswami, Li, Beehr, & Goffnet, 2014). Each of these behaviors suits a particular setting and provides different results.

For example, directive leadership is the best approach to use with inexperienced employees, as it involves close supervision, guidelines, and performance monitoring (Hirt, 2016). When I work with employees who are new to the company or have little work experience, I use a directive leadership style to ensure that they gain the necessary knowledge and deliver results fast. The participative leadership style, on the other hand, enables employees to participate in decision-making and contribute ideas, thus improving organizational functioning and promoting innovation (Hirt, 2016). I would choose this leadership style for employees who are more experienced and are committed to the company.

Leadership Traits

In order to be effective in their position, leaders need to possess a number of traits that will help them to solve issues and motivate others. Some of these traits are inherent, but most of them can be developed with the help of different courses and independent learning. Although I have a lot of leadership traits that help me to achieve success in my career, there are some important areas for improvement. Addressing these gaps would assist me in becoming more charismatic and inspiring to my followers.

Since childhood, I strived to have a leadership position in every group that I participated in, from games to work projects. I am generally well-liked by others, which helps me to establish my presence in a group and communicate with people. Therefore, the first leadership trait that I have developed in life is communicativeness. I am friendly and approachable to people, and I have a large number of friends who I support and encourage.

The second important leadership trait that I possess is creativity. I think that creativity is an essential factor in leadership since it enables leaders to look at situations and problems from different angles and find innovative solutions. I apply creativity in my current work by engaging in problem-solving and idea sharing. For example, I communicate new ideas and thoughts to the managers so that they could use them to improve the working environment in the company.

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As an employee, I am also committed and diligent, which are also among the essential qualities of leaders. Leaders who have these traits can set an example to employees and inspire them to be more productive. Lastly, I am confident and emotionally stable, which are critical traits when it comes to working in stressful or complex business environments.

Nevertheless, there are some traits that I would need to develop to be more successful in leadership. First, I often lack flexibility and decisiveness when faced with problems or choices. In the contemporary world, leaders need to be able to make quick decisions and adapt to new circumstances fast. Secondly, in my relationships with others, I need to become more agreeable and willing to compromise to achieve a common goal. As I often have a clear vision of how things should be done, it is at times difficult for me to agree with other people. Accepting input from employees is a prerequisite of successful leadership, as it facilitates innovation and engagement.

Leadership Theory

Leadership theories form the foundation of one’s actions as a leader. By applying leadership theories to practice, a leader can achieve different outcomes based on the organization’s needs and the employees’ capacity. A particular leadership theory that best describes how I aim to influence others is transformational leadership. There are several aspects of this leadership theory that are reflected in my work as a leader.

Firstly, transformational leaders are inspiring in a way that they create a shared vision for the future and encourage all employees to contribute to it (McCleskey, 2014). In my work, I attempt to set clear goals and vision for development since I believe that it makes employees more motivated. For example, when I lead specific projects, I share my vision of what the end product should look like and how it should influence the target customer. I also use milestones in order to monitor the team’s progress, but the final vision is usually my main tool in motivating the team.

Secondly, transformational leadership relies less on monetary rewards than on personal recognition, praise, and empowerment (Breevaart et al., 2014). This is another feature that is evident in my leadership style. I believe that, while monetary rewards can improve motivation and productivity in the short term, they do not contribute to employee engagement and commitment to the organization.

If an employee focuses on financial rewards, they could leave once they find a position with a higher salary or better benefits. Thus, I try to avoid using monetary rewards for performance; for instance, I would celebrate well-performing employees with an “employee of the month” title, and allow this employee to take an extra vacation day or have other non-financial benefits. I also create events and parties for employees to develop a stronger sense of belonging because it would contribute to their commitment and willingness to deliver results.

Lastly, transformational leaders encourage their followers to grow and develop the skills needed for building a successful career (McCleskey, 2014). Supporting young talent is a significant component of transformational leadership, as it is essential for developing a capable and efficient workforce. In my approach to leadership, I pursue a similar goal by assessing employees’ abilities and allowing them to master new skills or improve the ones that require more work.

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For example, one employee struggled with approaching issues from a critical viewpoint, which affected his success at problem-solving. To help this employee develop critical thinking, I talked to him and asked him to solve some of the simpler problems related to his professional area. This helped him to become more confident in his abilities and provided some practice in problem-solving, which contributed to his work outcomes.

Leadership and Motivation Goals

As identified in the assessment, there are some areas of improvement for me with regard to leadership. I also know that I experience motivation setbacks from time to time, and thus it is necessary for me to address this aspect of my work, too. To achieve my goals, it would be useful to use transformational leadership theory, as it helps to set a vision for future development and improve skills in various areas of performance, including leadership (McCleskey, 2014). My vision for the future is to be confident in my experience and knowledge and to apply it in a way that benefits both the company and the workers.

My primary leadership development goal is to become more agreeable and develop the ability to compromise with others for the common good. This is an important goal, as my leadership approach is focused on the people in my organization, and being too strict in decision-making could affect my reputation with employees. My secondary leadership development goal is to be more flexible and confident in my decisions.

While I tend to have a clear vision of success in my head, it is often hard for me to adjust to new or unexpected circumstances. This leads to delays in decision-making, which has a negative influence on my performance and my success as a leader. To summarize, I need to develop more flexibility and accept input from other people, as well as improve my ability to make decisions quickly. Achieving this goal would help me to set an excellent example for others and enhance my relationships with employees.

Concerning motivation, I consider myself to be a highly motivated employee. I take pride in the results of my work, and I always strive to achieve the best outcomes. Nevertheless, there are times when I feel less motivated than normal. This is sometimes related to stress and pressure at work or the lack of work-life balance. Due to the complex nature of my work, I spend a lot of my free time on projects to ensure that they deliver great results.

This affects my workload and can cause a feeling of burnout or tiredness, which diminishes my motivation. To overcome this setback, I need to improve my time-management skills and learn to delegate tasks to other employees. In this way, I will achieve a better work-life balance and reduce work stress, which are the main factors influencing my motivation.

Conclusion: Plan of Action

My four main goals with regards to self-improvement are to become more agreeable with others, to be more flexible and decisive in decision-making, to learn to delegate and prioritize tasks, and to improve time-management skills. Each of these goals requires different actions from me, and it would be useful to create a separate strategy for each one. To develop agreeableness, it is critical for me to allow for more input from employees and to take their suggestions and ideas into account when making decisions. Thus, to reach this goal, I will establish two-way communication between myself and my followers.

I will encourage them to provide feedback on work processes and any ideas for improvement. I will also practice participatory decision-making by inviting relevant employees to join the discussion of issues faced by the company and their potential solutions. Incidentally, these actions will help me to be more flexible in decision-making. However, to achieve the second goal, I will need to analyze each option in detail and set strict deadlines for decisions. This would help me to be more flexible and decisive and make better strategic decisions.

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To enhance my levels of motivation, I will need to delegate and prioritize tasks to reduce my workload. To do that, I will analyze each task in terms of necessity and urgency. Moreover, I will assess the skills and responsibilities of the team and take them into account when making decisions about task delegation. If the task is not urgent or critical for the company, and another employee has the skills and resources to complete it, I will assign them to do the job.

However, tasks that are urgent or require my close attention will be completed by me, which would help to guarantee that task delegation does not impact the outcomes of my work. Finally, to improve my time-management skills, I will read about different time-management methods and choose the ones that can be applied to my personal and professional life. For instance, scheduling could be useful to ensure that I have a good work-life balance and leave enough time for rest during the week. Following this plan will help me to improve my leadership capacity and motivation, which will enhance the results of my work and help me to grow as a leader.

References

Breevaart, K., Bakker, A., Hetland, J., Demerouti, E., Olsen, O. K., & Espevik, R. (2014). Daily transactional and transformational leadership and daily employee engagement. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(1), 138-157.

Dugan, J. P., Turman, N.T., & Barnes, A. C. (2017). Leadership theory: Cultivating critical perspectives. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Goswami, A., Li, M., Beehr, T. A., & Goffnett, S. P. (2014). Path-goal leaders’ behaviors and subordinates’ personalities: Resulting subordinates’ behaviors. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2014(1), 11888-11901.

Hirt, M. J. K. (2016). The path-goal theory of leadership. In A. Farazmand (Ed.), Global encyclopedia of public administration, public policy, and governance (pp. 46-51). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, transformational, and transactional leadership and leadership development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117-130.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 26). Path-Goal Approach to Leadership. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/path-goal-approach-to-leadership/

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