What is Task-oriented Leadership?- Definition, Examples

Task-oriented Leadership Definition & Examples

What is Task-oriented Leadership? Task-oriented leadership refers to the leadership that requires the leader to focus more on the work than the employee relationships. The main motto of task-oriented leadership is to achieve the goals that come with a project.

While both task-oriented and relationship-oriented leaderships have their merits and demerits, we will focus on task-oriented leadership. You can understand everything from the definition and features of such leadership to why you should or shouldn’t use such leadership.

What is Task-oriented Leadership?

As the name suggests, task-oriented leadership requires the leader to focus more on their goals and work. While maintaining a positive relationship and work morale of employees is essential, these leaders try to use the more analytical method for goal achievement. Ultimately, the goal of a task-oriented leader is to meet set goals and achieve the best results.

Simply put, it is one of the more organized and goal-based leaderships methods that many leaders abide by. The concept of both these leadership types can be defined as two approaches to a working system. Many researchers used these two types of leadership and made multiple comparisons between the two.

So task-oriented leadership is a lot more analytical and systematic. It helps the leader focus on the work at hand more than the employees. There are many merits and demerits to the models that must be considered before choosing which one you should go for. It is best to choose some aspects of task-oriented leadership rather than the entire method.

Features of Task-oriented Leadership

Task-oriented leaders usually follow some common working styles and features for their goals. To achieve certain work standards and maintain a constant workflow from the employees, the leaders take multiple measures. 

Here are some of the main features you can commonly notice in and task-oriented leadership:

  • Strict Deadlines– Task-oriented leaders value time very much. They understand how necessary time management is to achieve one’s goals. Thus, they create strict deadlines and work schedules for their employees. 

It does not mean that they overwork the employees. It only refers to strict deadlines not to be crossed. It is beneficial because these deadlines can encourage the employees to work faster and better than without them.

  • Organized Schedules for Tasks– Such leaders are usually very organized individuals who like to organize everything they work on. It is why these leaders give focus on organizing schedules for all the tasks. 

If you have a task-oriented leader, you might have schedules of meetings and solitary work followed quite strictly. Such ample control on time encourages employees to be organized and make their efforts count. It is an ideal strategy for any leader.

  • Set Goals and Motives– Task-oriented leaders always make a figure or a certain point they want to reach in a certain period. They set a certain goal for themselves and their teams and discuss it with them. 

Once they have set a goal of sales to reach or other checkpoints, they put in organized efforts to reach the goals in the time they have. Having the goal in front of the workers encourages a faster work pace and helps employees get motivated to work.

What Are the Benefits of Task-oriented Leadership?

While task-oriented leadership is not a much-celebrated type of leadership nowadays, it does have certain benefits for both the leader and the employees. These benefits are what make the leadership a strong contender in leading styles.

Here are the advantages of task-oriented leadership:

  • Clear Instructions and Communication– The communication between an employee and the leader is clear-cut in the case of task-oriented leadership. It simply means there is a constant flow of information regarding the goals processed through the two parties. Such communication facilitates better results and helps the leader achieve their set goals.
  • Effective Time Management– Task-oriented leadership requires the leader to be extremely efficient in time management. Utilizing multiple schedules and deadlines helps employees manage their time well. Many employees cannot manage their time by themselves, but deadlines make them work better in a given time. 
  • Faster and Steadier Pace of Work– The styles of work vary for each individual. Some people work in random bursts of acute motivation, while others put in constant effort. The amount of effort that goes in is the same, but the method determines the quality of the output. Slow but steady workers are more likely to obtain better results from work, so a steady pace is essential.
  • Improved Individual Results– Since under a task-oriented leader there is a competition to be the most efficient worker, workers improve individually. The pressure of working efficiently under a task-oriented leader is huge, and the workers have to do their best for survival. So their performance improves substantially with a task-oriented leader.
  • Rewards After Achievements– Task-oriented leaders usually reward their employees after they have performed well. These rewards can include bonuses or even promotions. These rewards are another ideal motivation for employees to show their best performance and successfully finish a project. Such work rewards are also worth all the effort and notify an employee that their effort is acknowledged.

What Are the Disadvantages of Task-oriented Leadership?

Since such leadership has multiple advantages aiding the growth and goals of the team, there are also a few disadvantages that come along with it. These disadvantages are what make task-oriented leadership unsuitable for some projects and teams.

Here are some of the main disadvantages of task-oriented leadership:

  • Lesser Confidence of Employees– Since the focus of a task-oriented leader is primarily on the pace and completion of the task; employees do not receive as much confidence. The feedback process might also be slow occasionally, and the lack of confidence mainly roots from being task-centric. If an employee can’t keep up with the fast pace of work, they may start doubting their skills and feel demoralized.
  • Competitive and Fierce Environment– Though most people believe that competition and pressure give way to performance and growth, it is not so all the time. In many cases, such pressure can deteriorate the work of a well-performing employee too. Having to compete with your coworkers and be in a fierce environment might not give way to the best quality work by that employee.
  • Lack of Creative Space– With the time limits in place and multiple deadlines, workers may lose their creativity. Creativity is something that comes naturally to people, and it isn’t constant, like work efforts. So being in a tightly timed and fierce environment might lead to a lack of creativity and ideas from employees. Since creative initiatives aid the growth of any project, it is essential in working.
  • Potential Burnout of Employees– Again, the fast pace and fierce work environment are not something all workers can adapt to. Some workers may not be able to bear such environments whatsoever. It would lead to deteriorated performance and poor quality efforts from their side. If an employee gets burnt out and demoralized in their work, it will harm the entire project and not just them.
  • Lack of Trust from Employees– Since task-oriented leaders are unlikely to give much time assessing employees’ morale and progress, they receive less trust. The leaders would focus more on work. So the employees might feel that their might not get considered by the leader. Although this isn’t true in most cases, even a tiny spark of such distrust might cause employees to work inefficiently and get demoralized.

What Are the Differences Between Task-oriented and Relationship Oriented Leaderships? 

Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership are absolute opposites. They have a few features in common, but their ultimate goals are different entirely. It is why they are two popular types of leadership that often get compared with one another. And both leaderships have distinct features.

Here are some of the differences between task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership:

Task-oriented Leadership

Relationship Oriented Leadership

The main focus is on getting the set goals achieved.

The main focus is on developing and nurturing the employees.

Stricter working patterns with tight schedules and deadlines.

A more flexible working method that lets the employees work at their own pace.

Analytical and systematic planning for work and abiding by the plans.

Emotional and understanding planning of schedules.

Frequent communication about the goals and working styles.

Frequent communication about employee morale and well-being.

The main motive is to set and achieve desired goals.

The main motive is to improve employee performances and well-being.

While these are the main differences you can find, many other details vary in both. Since the main focus of such leadership is so different, the methods and techniques also vary a lot. What we can derive from this is that both have efficient working methods and inefficient ones.

While on the one hand, task-oriented leaders get work done faster and better, relationship-oriented leaders are trusted by their employees more. Similarly, relationship-oriented leaders are effective communicators, while task-oriented leaders are effective workers. Thus, both are meritorious in their places.

Which type of leadership Is the Better Choice?

There is no set answer to which leadership is the best leadership style. All the present leadership styles have benefits and also some downfalls. You must consider all of these positive and negative factors before you make your decision. But what you can assess from this guide, in general, is that both types of leadership aren’t perfect on their own.

  • If you consider the leadership that most people prefer, then it would probably not be task-oriented leadership. Because in general, relationship-oriented leadership gets preferred over task-oriented leadership.
  • It is due to the communicative nature of the leadership that makes the leader a trustable figure. Employees develop a better relationship with such a leader and receive constant motivation from them too. Such good relationships with employees increase the trust and co-operation between the two.
  • Both focus on opposite things and put efforts to facilitate either goals and efforts or relationships. It means both of them will remain solely focused on only one aspect of working. In such a case, both become slightly disadvantageous to the leader using them. So the best way to select a leadership is to mediate between the two styles.
  • The essence would be to consider the positive points of both the leaderships and utilize them either consequently or alternate with projects. To meet goals and have satisfied employees, one needs to understand the necessity of both task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership.
  • You could also alternate the leadership styles between projects or through time. But a perfect mix of both the leadership styles regularly would be ideal. You could lean more towards the style you prefer and yet add some components of the other type.

Some Examples of Task-oriented Leadership

Even though task-oriented leadership isn’t too popular with many leaders, some world leaders use techniques task-oriented leaders use. But, again, they do not rely solely on task-oriented leadership strategies. Instead, they use some of the positive strategies from the set of strategies.

These leaders are famous people who have made a strong impact in their industry and the world. And their success is just a reminder of how using task-oriented strategies can help you receive ideal results. It could help you reach your goals much faster, and you can notice the better quality of efforts put in by your team members.

Here are some popular and successful leaders who use task-oriented strategies in their working style:

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is an American businessman who is the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation. The Microsoft Corporation is one of the unparalleled giants in the OS and software markets. He founded the company when he was only 20 years old through many struggles with his childhood friend.

But all that struggle did indeed give him results and made Microsoft the world’s largest software-making company. During his time as a leader, he used multiple task-oriented strategies to facilitate the corporation’s growth. His constant efforts and leadership skills are what make Microsoft perfect to date.

His work style is unique, both strict yet relaxed, and it is why many people aspire to be an employee with Microsoft.

Jack Ma

One of the richest persons in China currently, Jack Ma began from the ground and worked his way up to where he is now. He is a businessman who co-founded the Alibaba Group. The Alibaba Group is a leader in the e-commerce sector and is one of the companies which promoted the online business culture.

He struggled a lot through his life but still built a company recognized by many leaders. His efficient leading style led to his group growing at a rapid pace. When the internet buying and selling concept was still new, he established a company that impacted and grew exponentially. 

He grew from a phase where he could not even land part-time jobs to creating a globally recognized e-commerce hub.

Sheryl Sandberg

Named one of the most influential people by time in 2012, Sheryl Sandberg is a business tycoon. She is the COO of Facebook and one of the most powerful businesswomen. She was the first female to be on the Board of Directors of Facebook. She is an inspiring leader many women look up to.

She also founded and ran a non-profit organization called LeanIn.Org to support women in their ventures. Her efficient working style made her stand out and break the misogynistic standards of the business industry. She still actively participates in encouraging women to enter the industry of their choice and become leaders. 

Her leadership skills and constant efforts have made many women step up for their dreams and compete for their rightful position in the industry.


Task-oriented leadership is one of the main types of leadership which focuses mainly on goals. It is a slightly stricter and analytical kind of leadership that utilizes defined goals and deadlines.

While it is extremely efficient in some fields, it might be a bit lacking in others. It has the main goal to constantly work on the team’s goal and give the team morale secondary importance. You must weigh its merits and demerits together to determine if this leadership is perfect for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the main target of a leader who follows task-oriented leadership?

A leader who follows task-oriented leadership is most likely to focus on reaching the goals. Such a leader would take organized steps to help the employees reach the goal decided or required.

  • Is task-oriented leadership efficient?

Yes, task-oriented leadership is one of the most efficient leadership types. Moreover, since a task-oriented leader is such an organized individual who makes calculated efforts, the success rate at work is higher.

  • How should I choose the type of leadership?

You should consider if you want to go a more analytical path or a communicative one instead. You must understand the pros and cons of task-oriented leadership before choosing it.

What is Task-oriented Leadership?- Definition, Examples

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