What Is Task Oriented Leadership Style? Definition, Example Pros And, Cons

Mashum Mollah 25 November, 2022
task oriented leadership style

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult.”

Warren Bennis 

The task-oriented leadership style is not hard to understand. There is a leader, a team, a goal-oriented task assigned to the team, and a deadline. That’s it. 

You will have to take on more responsibilities when you move forward in your career. Handing these responsibilities will require a leader from you; that is when you have to choose a leadership style. You can choose a task-oriented leadership style. However, you should know if this leadership style is good for your work environment and inherent qualities. 

This article will help you understand this specific leadership style and how it can help you handle your leadership responsibilities.


What Is The Task-Oriented Leadership Style?

What Is The Task-Oriented Leadership Style?

Task-oriented leadership is a leadership style focused on completing goals. Leaders following this leadership style delegate different tasks to their employees, set clear methods for completing those tasks, and issue them with a deadline. Members have to deliver their tasks before the deadline. 

While other leadership styles focus on building and nurturing relationships, this style is based on goals. This leadership style can be effective if applied among a capable group of employees. However, leaders can deviate from perceiving the well-being of the members of their teams. 

The task-oriented leadership style is almost similar to the visionary leadership style. But the method is much more mechanical, and the leader may be prone to the qualities of the autocratic leadership style. This is usually caused by their focus on the goal and less concern about the well-being of the employees. 

Background/History Of Task-Oriented Leadership Style


There needs to be a specific mention of who created this leadership framework. However, Shakespeare is often credited with having inspired this organizational framework’s origin. His saying, “Better three hours too soon than one minute too late,” might have sparked the creation of this leadership style. 

This managerial style follows a leader who brainstorms ideas and delegates tasks to their teams. These leaders can push their members in the right direction and hand them the right ideas to follow. However, a lack of managing the relational aspect of leadership might hold them back. 

Characteristics Of Task-Oriented Leadership Style 

The task-oriented leadership style has few texts or theorems to detail its facets. However, here are some general characteristics that require a would-be leader’s attention –

1. Planning Reward & Punishment

John Locke

Task-oriented leadership follows a step-by-step process of planning, rewards, and punishment system. The leaders plan a goal, and they create a process that the members have to follow. The followers are rewarded upon completing their tasks. They also get punished when failed. 

2. Goals & Structures

Bill Copeland

This leadership style follows a goal, and the leaders create and maintain a structure to achieve it. The goals and the roles are rigidly defined.

3. Achievements & Outcomes Are Prioritized

Robert F. Kennedy

Irrespective of the members’ opinions or conditions, this leadership style waits upon the achievement. They prioritize the outcome of the effort the members put in.

4. Rigid Schedule 

Stephen Covey

Employees under a task-oriented leadership style are always working hard to meet the deadline. They follow the process mentioned by the leaders and work during their scheduled time to attain the goal in time.

Know More About What Is Transactional Leadership Style?

Task-Oriented Leadership Style: What’s Good…And What’s Not So Good?

This leadership style can be helpful under certain circumstances. For example, it may help boost the productivity of the employees in the short term. However, several of its drawbacks can also cause different shortcomings. Here are some benefits and drawbacks of utilizing a task-oriented leadership style in an organization.

The Benefits Of Task-Oriented Leadership Style: Pros

Rita Mae Brown
  • The tasks and the objectives are well-defined. So employees can spend their time on things other than what to do.
  • Leaders create a framework with detailed planning, thoughts, and data, helping streamline the effort of the employees.
  • Employees are issued with a deadline, so they know the effort they must put in to get the work done.
  • The application of the reward system makes the employees work towards the goal and partially motivates them.

The Disadvantages Of Task-Oriented Leadership Style: Cons

Julieanne O'Connor
  • Employees working under a task-oriented leader may have to suffer from work burnout. It is one of the major drawbacks of this leadership style.
  • Members following rigid tasks sometimes lack creative and strategic thinking. That is why this leadership style is great for them.
  • Organizations following this leadership style have a lower rate of employee retention.
  • Employees may lack motivation at some point in their careers.
  • When focused on a task, leaders often deviate from a vision. In fact, there might not be a vision causing a lack of progress both for employees and the company.

Task-Oriented Leadership Style: Case Studies (Examples)

A task-oriented leadership style has been visible throughout the ages in many organizations. Here are two famous task-oriented leaders and their achievements in the business industry –

Tim Cook

Tim Cook

Cook, the CEO of Apple, one of the world’s largest tech companies, is an example of task-oriented leadership. He worked at Apple after the death of Jobs and has helped the company grow using a task-oriented leadership style.

“It’s about finding your values and committing to them. It is about finding your North Star. It’s about making choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything.”

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

Another good example of task-oriented leadership is Sheryl Sandberg. She has been the CEO of the pioneering social media platform Facebook. She handled the platform toward growth while also advocating for women in the business world. 

Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.

How To Become A Task-Oriented Leader?

The modern world workplaces may not be able to completely adopt the task-oriented leadership style. Its tendency to often lean towards an autocratic leadership style adds to its negative sides. However, it can also be beneficial under certain circumstances and under certain leaders. Here are some ways to adopt the best of a task-oriented leadership style –

1. Focus On Vision

Focus On Vision

Instead of making the whole process about following a goal, a leader can share their vision and inspire the members to help them pursue it. 

2. Task Need To Be Driven By Passion

Task Need To Be Driven By Passion

What are the employees most passionate about? What success do they want to achieve? Can you align the goal with their objectives? If so, how do you delegate tasks that add both to the employee and the organization? 

3. Organized Workforce

Organized WorkforceOrganized Workforce

The workforce needs to be much more organized and well-maintained. However, it should not always come from tasks forced upon the employees. Their passion for success should organize them and help the organization. 

4. Deadlines Are Important

Deadlines Are Important

This part should concern the employees more than the leaders. They should be able to meet the deadline. However, leaders should also be mindful and calculative not to set unrealistic goals against outstanding deadlines.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Here are some popular questions and answers related to task-oriented leadership. These should help you with more valuable info.

Q1. What Are The Advantages Of Task-Oriented Leadership?

This leadership style follows a goal where the employees follow a structure and deliver results against the clock. Leaders and organizations are able to achieve more in a short time following this leadership style.

Q2. What Are Task-Oriented Behaviors?

Leaders following a task-oriented leadership style show the following behaviors –
1. Directions were given to the employees.
2. To ensure that the goals of the organization are met. 
3. Showing concern for the employees.
4. Creating plans and structure to achieve a goal. 

Q3. What Is The Aim Of Task-Oriented Leadership?

The task-oriented leadership aims to fulfill the organizational goals within time. This leadership style requires the employees to follow the goal and meet the deadline for efficient results.

Is Task-Oriented Leadership Style Effective? 

Task-oriented leadership styles can be effective under specific circumstances. But a constant implementation of this leadership style can make the employees feel exhausted. However, if well balanced with a relationship-based approach, this leadership style can help the employees achieve wonders. 

So, that was all the information related to task-oriented leadership. However, if you have any further queries, you can ask questions in the comment.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is a tech entrepreneur by profession and passionate blogger by heart. He is on a mission to help small businesses grow online. He shares his journey, insights, and experiences in this blog. If you are an entrepreneur, digital marketing professional, or simply an info-holic, then this blog is for you.

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