FUNCTIONAL LEADERSHIP THEORY (Hackman & Walton, 1986; McGrath, 1962) is a particularly useful theory for addressing specific leader behaviors expected to contribute to organizational or unit effectiveness. This theory argues that the leader’s main job is to see that whatever is necessary to group needs is taken care of; thus, a leader can be said to have done their job well when they have contributed to group effectiveness and cohesion (Fleishman et al., 1991; Hackman & Wageman, 2005; Hackman & Walton, 1986).
While functional leadership theory has most often been applied to team leadership it has also been effectively applied to broader organizational leadership as well In summarizing literature on functional leadership Hackman and Walton (1986), Hackman & Wageman (2005Knight, and Xiao (2006) observed five broad functions a leader performs when promoting organization’s effectiveness. These functions include: (1) environmental monitoring, (2) organizing subordinate activities, (3) teaching and coaching subordinates, (4) motivating others, and (5) intervening actively in the group’s work.
A variety of leadership behaviors are expected to facilitate these functions. In initial work identifying leader behavior, Fleishman (1953) observed that subordinates perceived their supervisors’ behavior in terms of two broad categories referred to as consideration and initiating structure. Consideration includes behavior involved in fostering effective relationships. Examples of such behavior would include showing concern for a subordinate or acting in a supportive manner towards others.... [continues]
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