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| Leadership in Public Organizations Essay

Leadership refers to the ability to influence people socially hence controlling their behavior. A leader enjoys respect from his/her subordinates. In most cases; people rely on the leaders’ opinions to make decisions. Regardless of the type of leadership in practice, any successful leader must be clear about the goals and objectives he or she wants to achieve. Basically a leader can be an authoritarian leader, country club leader, impoverished leader or a team leader depending on his or her goals. Leaders can therefore be categorized as task oriented leaders or people oriented leaders. These two categories of leaders differ in terms of relationship with their subjects and their tasks (Robert & Achua, 2008).

Task oriented leadership is more concerned with achievement of goals and objectives than the welfare of the people. This category constitutes leaders whose motive is only to achieve goals and objectives with or without the will of their subordinates. They are less concerned with other issues arising as a result of their leadership as long as their missions are complete. Task oriented leaders normally rely on goal setting and instructions to control the behavior of their subjects. Although there is high rate of grievance under this type of leadership, there are major benefits associated with it which include high performance and high earnings (Montgomery & Suino, 2007). This is because task oriented leaders are goal oriented and they ensure that all the efforts of their subjects are directed towards the achievement of the predetermined goals.

On the other hand, people oriented leadership is more concern with the peoples’ welfare than achievement of goals and objectives. Generally, leaders under this category are warm and supportive to their subordinates. They mostly prioritize the welfare of their subjects at the expense of the set goals and objectives. Leaders under this category have little regard to their tasks. They normally use most of the resources within their reach to please their subordinates instead of using them to achieve the intended goals and objectives. The end result is normally low performance and objectives are hardly achieved. However, this type of leadership is also associated with some benefits that cannot be ignored. Some of the major benefits include low grievance rate and good relationship between leaders and their subordinates. It is therefore very important for an ideal leader to be both task oriented and people oriented.

Abraham Lincoln, former president of USA, is good example of a leader who tried to balance concern for his tasks and for his people. Abraham expressed leadership skills even before he was elected president for United States of America (Guelzo, 2003). Due to his ability to balance his concern for his tasks as a president and his concern for citizens, he was able to end civil war in the USA, stop slavery and prevent the country from splitting into two states. Abraham did not let anyone to come into his way during his time as a president. He tooth and nail fought all his opponents to achieve his goals as a president. On the other hand, Abraham did not forget the welfare of the American citizens. He was able to end slavery and to promote liberty and democracy in America during his presidency. It is clear that Abraham was both a task and people oriented leader. He therefore can be ranked as team leader in the leadership grid since he was highly concerned with both his tasks as a president and the welfare of the people (Guelzo, 2003).

Both categories of leaderships have pros and cons which cannot be neglected. However, they are all applicable in different fields of leadership depending with the responsibilities of the leader. It’s more appropriate when a leader balances his concern for his tasks and that of his subordinates in order to achieve the pre-determined goals and objectives, and at the same time maintain good relationship with his subjects. This is the only way a balanced leadership can be achieved to avoid cases of authoritarian and impoverished leaders.

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