Below is another excerpt from my manuscript, Leadership for New Managers: Book Two.
2. Path-Goal Behavioral Theories
The path–goal theory, also known as the path–goal theory of leader effectiveness or the path–goal
model, is a leadership theory developed by Robert House in 1971 and revised in 1996. The theory states that a leader's behavior is contingent to the satisfaction, motivation and performance of her/his subordinates. The revised version also argues that the leader engages in behaviors that complement subordinate's abilities and compensate for deficiencies. The path–goal model can
be classified both a situational or as a transactional leadership style.
Path–goal theory assumes that leaders are flexible and that they can change their style, as situations require. Effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers achieve goals and make the journey easier by reducing roadblocks and pitfalls. Research demonstrates that when the
leader compensates for the shortcomings in either the associate or the work setting, it has a positive influence on performance and satisfaction.
According to the theory, the leader’s job is to guide associates to choose the best paths to
reach their goals as well as the organizational goals. The theory argues that leaders will have to engage in different types of leadership behavior depending on the nature and the demands of a particular situation. It is the leader’s job to assist followers in attaining goals and to provide the direction and support needed to ensure that their goals are compatible with the organization’s
A leader’s behavior is acceptable to subordinates when viewed as a source of satisfaction and motivational when need satisfaction is contingent on performance, and the leader facilitates, coaches, and rewards effective performance. The original path-goal theory identifies
achievement-oriented,directive, participative, and supportive leader behaviors:
a. The achievement-oriented or task-oriented leader behavior
This refers to situations where the leader sets challenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation.
Occupations in which the achievement motive was most predominant were technical jobs, sales persons, scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.
b. The directive leader or autocratic behavior
This refers to situations where the leader lets followers know what is expected of them and tells them how to perform their tasks. The theory argues that this behavior has the most positive effect when the subordinates' role and task demands are ambiguous and intrinsically satisfying.
c. The participative leader or democratic behavior
This behavior involves leaders consulting with associates and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This much like the democratic style identified in the Lewine-Lippitt-White study.
d. The supportive leader or people-oriented behavior
This type of leadership behavior tries to satisfy associates’ needs and preferences. The leader is concerned for their
psychological wellbeing as well. This behavior is especially needed in