Identifying your behavioral approach to leadership is the FIRST step, and arguably the most important, toward becoming not only a great leader, but gaining even more success with the people you influence.

How? The more you understand how YOU lead, the easier it becomes to identify and adapt your style to those you lead. Wait, what? Having awareness of your own drives and the drives of others on your team, unlocks your potential and uncovers the potential of each employee.

Think about yourself and your team as you read the characteristics of Task-Oriented Leaders and People-Oriented Leaders. Stick with me, it will all make sense in the end.


  • Focus on job/goal to be accomplished.
  • Less influenced by others’ opinions.
  • More logic-based in their approach to decision making and communicating.
  • Defines success by completing tasks/projects.


  • Focus on people, rather than task at hand.
  • More influenced by other’s opinions.
  • More emotional and sensitive in their approach to decision making and communicating.
  • Defines success by building relationships.

Each style has its pros and cons, or, as I call them, strengths, and blind spots. Let’s take an example: One of your employees is people-oriented and focused on building relationships and driven by a desire to be liked. You, as their task-oriented manager, make decisions independently, and driven by a desire for control. You are turned off by their emotions, find them lacking in focus, and they perceive you as intimidating and unapproachable. Can you picture what happens in this scenario?

In a word, Conflict.

GOOD NEWS! Here are a few strategies you can implement today. You as the task-oriented leader need to realize that your employee may never have the same focus or the goal. Also, instead of always going solo, ask for their input on projects, and lastly, be accepting of their expression of emotions.

Let’s re-cap: Every team is a mix of both task and people-oriented styles. When you understand YOUR leadership style, and those of your team, you can:

  • Successfully adjust your behavior to fit the situation.
  • Get an accurate picture of your strengths and blind spots.
  • Interpret a situation and understand how others might feel and react.
  • Develop ways to encourage your team toward greater productivity & peak performance.
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