Style Approach to Leadership

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In the investigation of the various characteristics and styles of leadership the emphasis of the style approach is the focus on the actions and behavioral characteristics of the leader. There are two behaviors of the style approach that researchers have observed: task behaviors and relationship behaviors (Northouse, 2007). People who are in roles of leadership should possess both behaviors to be successful in their position and maintain motivation and the quest for achievement in their subordinates. Task behaviors are those traits that keep others motivated to work to complete objectives. Relationship behaviors are characteristics and actions that leaders possess that make others feel respected and want to work towards goals. Unlike other approaches to leadership, such as the trait approach, the style approach looks at a leader’s behaviors and actions. Balancing these two behaviors is the key to being an effective leader (Northouse, 2007). On page 86 of Northouse’s text, “Leadership: Theory and Practice”, I completed the style questionnaire and this report will detail the results of my questionnaire and how I will utilize this information when assuming a leadership position. Task behaviors

In my current position as an Instructional Designer, I create computer-based training (CBT) and instructor-led training for the U.S. Military and various international military groups, such as the Iraqi Navy. My position allows me to either work in a group with myself and other instructional designers, or as a lead in creating a training course with a group of multimedia designers. I have been in this position for almost 5 years now and have completed over seven CBTs and one instructor led course. My courses are typically of subject matter I do not have experience with, such as engineering or biological detection. When it came to my score in the task behaviors of the style questionnaire, I scored in the moderately low range. I did expect this, as I do not have much experience in leading others to complete a task. With my media developers, I tend to let them know what I want and allow them to use their creative abilities to take control of the media they develop. I trust that they, unlike me, have the knowledge to design creative and effective media to enhance the course instruction. However, I do ensure that I lead them to focus on creating media that clarifies the objectives I need to complete for the course. I do not have experience in being a leader in a situation where I am with a group of peers; therefore I knew my task behavior score would be below average. In one particular course, I tried to take a creative lead and purposely directed my media developers to develop media that I thought was correct, however, during the process of the course I quickly learned that I should have held a more passive role in the leadership process of the media content. Since the completion of that course, I have learned that sometimes to be a leader you must fail in order to learn what you should have done differently. In this instance, I learned that in order to be a good leader to my media team, I need to communicate to them what I want and then allow them to take a creative lead to create meaningful media for the instruction. Monty Python, a writer and producer in the movie industry is quoted as saying, “It’s self-evident that if we can’t take the risk of saying or doing something wrong, our creativity goes right out the window…. The essence of creativity is not the possession of some special talent; it is much more the ability to play” (Bennis, 2003, p. 87). I understand now that I do not possess some of the talents that others do and that to be a leader you may have to step aside and allow others to lead, because they do, in fact, possess the needed abilities. What I can take from my task behavior score

In future leadership positions, I understand now that being the leader does not mean always being the one in charge. However, I can be a...
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