Path Goal Theory of leadership

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Path Goal Theory of Leadership

Table of Contents




Directive Leadership4

Supportive Leadership5

Participative Leadership5

Achievement-Oriented Leadership6




Path Goal Theory of Leadership


The Path Goal Theory of leadership has come to be recognized world over and is considered beneficial information for leaders and followers alike. In a nutshell, the Path Goal Theory claims that leaders must create motivation among their followers in order to achieve goals, aims and targets (Schaible-Brandon & Muth, 2006). Through creating motivation and inspiring individuals to succeed, leaders effectively increase the likelihood of objective accomplishments. Also, by their specific motivational actions, leaders are effectively increasing the capability of the leaders to outperform their previous levels of accomplishments.

The Path Goal theory, in all its recognition, was originally penned by Robert House and his colleagues in 1970 (Schaible-Brandon & Muth, 2006). The theory was later revised in 1996. The theory primarily focuses on how leaders can motivate their subordinates to perform by providing job satisfaction, creating a sense of determination and persistence in the face of challenges, providing a healthy and providing performance oriented work environments. This paper takes a closer look at the theory and how it is interpreted.


“The Path Goal Theory is an effective tool in creating motivation amongst your workforce.”


The very basic foundation of the Path Goal Theory of Leadership is expectancy. The expectancy theory attempts to explain how individual's process situations with respect to how performance is guaranteed and secured (Schaible-Brandon & Muth, 2006). Here, the purpose of leaders is to clarify paths to be taken that can lead to employee satisfaction, motivation and the achievement of personal goals. This is only possible if the leader himself can identify his strengths and weaknesses. He must be able to enhance several forms of incentives and benefits to his staff and must create a mechanism of coaching, clarifying expectancies and try his level best to make sure that the staff's morale remains high (Haar, 2006). Low morale adversely effects performance and is never desirable in a workplace. Since the theory primarily speaks of how these things can be achieved, the name Path Goal Theory is an adequate fit. The theory goes on to identify four distinct styles of leadership. There as follows.

Directive Leadership

When speaking of directive style of leadership, leaders provide specific guidance to their followers, or employees, and thus the staff is fully aware of what is expected from them. Leaders put a stamp of authority on the task and make sure every instruction is followed to the dot. Standards, regulations and organizational plans are entirely set by the leader for his subordinates to follow. This style of leadership is effective when tasks are exceptionally difficult or when the team is unstructured. Since this an autocratic style, employees are free from guilt regarding decisions on the course of action being taken. If they perform as per expected, they are fully rewarded. Similarly, failure in such a task is a direct reflection of the capabilities of the leader as an inefficient management professional (Williams et al, 2006).

Supportive Leadership

In contrast to directive leadership, supportive leadership styles implore the implementation of an open ...
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