Path-Goal Theory of Leadership

Path-Goal Theory focuses on motivation of the followers that give the best outcome to the task at hand. This theory focuses on the leader giving motivation to the followers so that the followers feel good and get the job done. This particular theory defines goals, clarifies paths, removes obstacles, and provides support. These four characteristics work together to make the job easier on the followers. It also puts more pressure on the leader because it doesn’t give the leader the opportunity to put more responsibility on the followers. What I got from this theory is that it is supposed to make life easier on the followers, it’s not a very equal relationship between the leader and the followers.

This semester my leadership class was split into groups and each given a different leadership theory to present to the class. My group was given path-goal theory and while prepping, and even presenting the theory I realized that the way I lead is similar to this leadership theory. Path-goal theory has four key leadership behaviors. The first behavior is a directive behavior. This particular behavior is when the leader clarifies the path by giving the followers a clear road to success. The next behavior is supportive which is when the leaders really support their followers, even mentally, and create a very friendly and welcoming environment. The third behavior is participated which is when the leader encourages the followers to participate in the decision making process and also gives the followers increased involvements in the organization. The final behavior is  achievement oriented which is basically just restating that the fact that with this theory the goal is always kept in mind through what ever behaviors are being displayed.

An activity we did to better demonstrate this theory in real life was by playing the game mafia. The main idea of mafia is to figure out who the “mafia” in the group is. The town is made up of police, doctors, and townspeople. The job of the townspeople is to find the mafia before everyone is “killed”. We chose to play this game because it displays the path-goal theory very well. The townspeople, or followers, are needed to step up and participate to find the mafia much like how the followers are encouraged to step up and participate in the organization.

This theory is relatable to most organizations. Leaders generally want to make sure that their followers have what they need to finish the project successfully. Sometimes this theory gives too much responsibility to the leader. This can happen when the leader will just do the task basically without the help of their followers because the followers may not know what they are supposed to do and the leader just wants it done right, or the leader wants to take care of their followers.

After realizing that this theory does relate back to how I personally lead I can now take what I’ve learned and improve how I lead. There can be times where I decided to take on most of the work load but I know that I need to delegate and explain how things are meant to be done now.

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