Task Oriented Leadership

By Sean Stevenson – Latest Revision April 10th, 2021

Understanding Task-Oriented Leadership

By design, task-oriented leadership is a focused nuance.  As its name implies, it tends to deal with getting tasks done as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Due to this and other factors, task-oriented leadership is often considered a “blunt instrument” or exercise in getting teams to function well.  Meeting project deadlines, creating new business strategies, or developing bold new innovations, can all greatly benefit from a task-oriented leadership style. 

Managers or even CEO’s, are a prime example of business personnel who can make excellent use of this.  It just takes meticulous implementation to execute effectively.

Getting the most out of your team always involves careful reflection and considerations based on their performance capabilities.  Moreover, by influencing things positively and productively, you can set a powerful tone that keeps everyone pulling in the same direction.

Accurately Defining Task-Oriented Leadership

Task-oriented leadership plans, specifies, and prioritizes, strategic business goals for subordinates.  It is most efficiently used to break down various “tasks” into smaller segments, which are then ordered chronologically by date.

For an employee therefore, following this segmented list of tasks then becomes a simple matter.  The logical outlook and step-by-step profile will help to keep team members at their most productive.  It also prevents potential confusion, as everything is now laid out in a simple and intuitive format that is easy to follow and understand.

The use of this simplified planning allows a task-oriented leader to set the tone of performance and direction that an organization needs to thrive.  You can easily choose to incorporate task-oriented leadership to help you better manage ongoing affairs.

A key advantage of task-oriented leadership is its inherent attentiveness to detail.  Essentially, it allows you to focus on what matters most in order to meet important deadlines.  You can also readily define different roles for individuals or entire teams using a simplified structure.

However, an effective task-oriented leader will not only define roles and tasks.  They will also provide the resources, tools, and material guidance, that will help their people achieve miraculous results.

Achieving these miraculous results is always a product of feedback.  Working closely with your teams to ensure that they have everything they need to move forward is essential.

Overall, task-oriented leadership is focused on driving results. 

By ensuring that smaller tasks are completed efficiently and effectively, you are helping to create the steppingstones that inevitably lead to sustained success over time. 

The Powerful Strengths of Task-Oriented Leadership

The direct nature of task-oriented leadership is a driving force toward achieving business objective within a certain timeframe.  When compared to others forms of leadership, this variant is a much more pragmatic and results-driven format.  In short, task-oriented leadership takes a more materialistic view of the organization.

The powerful strengths of this leadership format include:

  • Being direct by laying out priorities, solutions, and step-by-step plans in a chronological order.
  • Giving specific counsel to employees who often seek direction and guidance.
  • A capability to drive and influence the direction of a whole company towards a more favourable outcome.
  • An intuitive format for getting things done within short-term or long-term timeframes.
  • This method is incredibly useful for industries that require the fulfillment of strict deadlines.

Making the Best Use of Your Teams

A skilled task-oriented leader understands the limitations and strengths of their teams.

Employee requirements are more far-ranging today than they have ever been historically.  Understanding the needs and uses of these requirements is the key ingredient to unlocking your employee’s full potential.

When executing task assignments and fulfillments, always be meticulous in dividing the required work based on core competencies, roles, and dependability.  Ensure that enough time has been given to complete the given tasks by discussing it openly with team members.

Should the time allocation be limited, assign more competent stakeholders towards smaller “chunks” of the project at hand.  Moreover, if one portion is completed early, have those individuals assist with the remaining portions.

By managing the many as if you were managing but a few, you can create a much larger system of task-oriented fulfillment and leadership. 

In fact, the permutations that are possible using this model are nigh infinite.  If you are a naturally creative or strategic thinker, chances are you can easily excel simply by learning the intricacies involved with task-oriented leadership.

In general, a task-oriented leader can complete objectives far more completely, readily, and successfully than many other types of leadership.  The caveat is that you must be willing to be absolutely dedicated to your pursuit of success.  This can involve long hours and many challenges.  However, the resultant advancement of your organization’s goals is absolutely worth the effort.

Key Areas to Focus on When Using Task-Oriented Leadership

The following list can help you define and execute your own task-oriented leadership method:

  1. Make concepts clear and easy-to-understand – Every effective task-oriented leader takes the time to ensure their team understands the instructions they have been given. In fact, they often encourage extensive question periods during meetings.  This has the effect of creating a sense of confidence among team members, who are now comfortable ensuring that there are no anomalies or loose ends that go unattended.  When everyone is on the same page, breakthrough results can be actively created.
  2. Create a chronological step-by-step- plan – Whenever a project must be completed, or a deadline met, ensure that you have laid out your plan adequately. This should take the form of a simplified and chronological programme that is given to your team(s).  The programme should outline exactly what must be done by each person, along with the steps and deadlines that must be fulfilled.  By taking the time to explain the process involved in this way, your people will have a reference that they may use at any time.  Moreover, this tends to promote brainstorming and further cooperation so that desirable results can be achieved quickly.
  3. Set precise deadlines – The setting of exact deadlines is essential to avoid any confusion. Never alter or “play with” deadlines whatsoever.  Be forthright in your demands for when things should be completed.  Stress the importance that these items are completed in due course.  Remember that you are serving your organization, and that strict adherence to the requirements of the day are what ensure success.  Finally, be certain to make use of a steady stream of reminders for your team(s).  You want to ensure things are on-track to being completed on time!
  4. “Promote” representatives from each team or project – Make use of those workers who excel in their tasks. Offer them incentives if possible, to continue their high performance.  If incentives are out of the question, then make them the unofficial “leader” of their team so that they can gain a sense of accomplishment.  Have this leader represent the team and keep you informed on their progress.  If there are consistent issues with one project or team, you want to address it immediately.  Moreover, remember that your teams and your people are your greatest resources.  Whenever there are issues that arise, those on the frontline will be the first to know of them, and the first to realize how best to deal with the emergent problems.  Drive productivity by resolving worrying trends and promoting powerful structures of productivity.
  5. Be a mentor – Never shy away from offering positive guidance and direction. This can help you prevent impediments to the development of both you and your team.  It will also serve to keep your productivity levels high.  Ensure that you are available (as often as possible!) to answer questions or to address obstacles.  By making yourself a constant mentor to those around you, there will be more opportunity to identify roadblocks that may be getting in the way of tasks being completed more readily.  Moreover, your own people will respect you highly for taking the time to help them develop their skills (which also serves to benefit you in the long run!).
  6. Reward Excellence – You may recall this having been mentioned in passing. However, it bears mentioning again.  The importance of a reward-system is staggering.  Any business model or manager that implements a clever system of incentivized rewards for those who perform well, stands to make extraordinary gains.  People are naturally driven by the sense of achievement and earning compensation based on their own performance.  To this end, create your own system of rewarding excellence (however you can!).  Even if your resources may be limited in this regard, you can still invent small gestures or methods that will energize your team.  This can drive them toward improving their productivity levels or further developing their existing skills. 
  7. Achieve Optimal Results (!) – The entire purpose of task-oriented leadership is to create dramatic and breakthrough results by delivering accountable business strategies. This sets a powerful tone which can fundamentally alter an entire organization’s trajectory towards a results-oriented culture of precision and advancement.  Direct and influence those subordinates who serve you towards optimal outcomes.  Deliver structure and put powerful tactics in place to help procure the larger goal ahead of time.  Ensure that everyone understands the importance and clarity of their work.  This will ensure that everyone works effectively towards the goals and priorities you have set in stone.

By using these key areas of task-oriented leadership you will have made yourself a powerful force in driving dramatic changes within your organization.  There is however, the trade-off that you must be willing to be pragmatically ruthless in order to ensure efficiency.  This can fly in the face of more emotional leadership styles, which often take into consideration the relationship status of subordinate and manager. 

Potential Weaknesses of Task-Oriented Leadership

A task-oriented leader is often an individual who has little time for social niceties and kindness.  Driving results and growth is inevitably a painful process.  There will be stress, sweat, and difficulty.  These things will impact the well-being of both the individual and the team.

Pushing people to their limits can lead to a toxic workplace environment.  This can cause disruption to productivity and mental well-being.

Task-oriented leaders are often seen as the “corporate” types who only care about achieving results for the business.  They tend to put the creativity and feelings of others on the backburner.  Moreover, they also make stringent demands, and may often appear autocratic.

If a task-oriented leader pushes their team too far, morale can plunge quickly.  This creates a sense of defeatism amongst employees, who now feel as if their work goes unappreciated.  They may lose their interest and enthusiasm to continue.

Lastly, task-oriented leadership often limits employees educationally.  The formality of such an environment can drive workers to avoid potential opportunities.  Their experience becomes one of avoiding their boss as much as possible, for fear of more tasks being added on to their workload.

All of these possible elements can prove harmful to both the employee and the employer.

Just Who Are Task-Oriented Leaders?

Examples of task-oriented leaders range from dictator-like visionaries to driven Startup enthusiasts.

Steve Jobs was often touted as a task-oriented leader.  During his time at Apple, he regularly made incredible demands of his project managers.  He even regularly intervened during design processes of both the mac and early iPhone, even ignoring the wishes of his own engineers who wished to create a more “user friendly” future for electronics.

Many managers today who deal with everyday operations would be another good example of task-oriented leaders.  These variants tend to be highly organized professionals who readily develop and implement projects that increase productivity.

In general, it is the straightforward nature of tasks and deadlines that makes task-oriented leaders desirable.  They can help ensure the desired results are effectively met by a business process, while developing strategies to further improvement and growth.

Conclusion

Task-oriented leadership is essential in our highly competitive and globalized world.  Without a driven focus pushing things in the right direction behind the scenes, nothing would get done. 

Being able to complete tasks efficiently and meet deadlines is the hallmark of any well-managed department.  This helps keep customers engaged and stakeholders happy with their own work.

Task Oriented Leadership

Enjoying the best possible outcomes in business demands a task-oriented focus.  However, consideration must also be given to the human elements involved also.  Building powerful professional relationships with others is a skill that every task-oriented leader must strive to obtain.

While completing tasks is certainly essential, do not forget that stress and well-being also come into play.  Promote a healthy balance of all these elements within your workplace culture for optimal outcomes in the future!

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