Relations- and task-oriented behaviour of school leaders: Cases from primary schools in Finland
Leadership styles in particular differ from business to business, but two leadership task-oriented leadership and relational-oriented leadership, also called. relationship-focused) leadership is a behavioral approach in which the leader focuses on the Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership are two models that are often compared, as They will often actively define the work and the. Task and relationship leadership differ in the emphasis of goals versus relationships. For example, a task-oriented leader will define roles and business goals, leader also applies disciplinary measures to correct unacceptable behavior.
Influence Leaders generally need the ability to influence others to succeed. Task-oriented leaders tend to use a more autocratic approach to leadership.
They often rely on position power, goal setting, results tracking, clear directives and pushing of employees. Self-motivated workers tend to make a better fit with a task-oriented leader. A relationship-oriented leader uses empathy and relationships to influence. He believes that if employees see he genuinely cares about them as people, they are more likely to take direction and be inspired by his guidance.
Time A key distinction between these two leadership styles relates to their view of time. Task-oriented leaders tend to be very time-centered. Deadlines are critical, and social interaction should not get in the way of work completion. The relational leader usually puts interaction and group harmony above deadlines or efficiency.
These leaders focus on the professional and personal welfare of subordinates, rather than task structures and deadlines.
The relationship-oriented leader provides support to all employees, which is not based on job performance or compliance with standards. For example, the leader provides positive feedback as a means to build the confidence of employees. In addition, these leaders take steps to improve employee satisfaction and capabilities by supporting the employee's personal goals.
The leader also works to establish positive relationships with and between group members, which supports teamwork and collaboration. Effects of Relationship Leadership A relationship-oriented leader positively affects business relationships and creates a collegial work environment, which contributes to the accomplishment of business objectives. The leader also works to minimize interpersonal conflicts and job dissatisfaction that can negatively affect productivity and quality.
According to transformational leadership theory, intellectual stimulation was provided by showing consideration to people, greeting them on the way while walking around, and judging the relevance of task performance to organisational effectiveness.
Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership
In addition, the principal's strategy of managing people while walking around also provided her with opportunity for building relations and sharing information. In connection to this, teacher 2 mentions: The principal's effectiveness is, therefore, a consequence of her ability to assess a situation and transform it through intellectual stimulation.
Reflecting on this, teacher 2 admits: I need the feeling that I am in a group of experts. However, the success of a school depends heavily upon their leadership skills, intellectual ability, and behavioural factors. Leadership behaviour is influenced by the context and the cultural atmosphere of the school organisation and the legacy left by former leaders.
Legacy has a strong impact on cultural binding; therefore, new leadership brings a new culture. Leadership approaches can have an impact on initiating a change in the culture. A leadership behavioural pattern that is high on task-oriented behaviour resulted in this principal being able to put things together and delegate authority.
During this phase of settling into the new setup of an organisational structure and eliminating the legacy left by the former principal, the newly appointed principal had to centralise power and delegate only if necessary, and to trusted staff. The vice principal describes the behavioural approach of the principal with respect to accountability and responsibility, when it came to re-engineering the school structure, as: So it was clear she took the leadership, she made it very clear and, of course, there was opposition because these groups were losing their power and they were used to this situation.
They could say, "I don't agree with you so I won't do this", with the previous principal, whereas with this principal, it is, "I don't agree with you, but I will do it". Nevertheless, an autocratic style of leadership does not necessarily have to involve direct instruction to the staff in an organisation.
It can influence working behavioural attitudes by encouraging the employees to follow by example. In addition, the vice principal describes the behavioural approach of the principal by stating: However, doing things right was an urgent matter in order to enhance effectiveness. In supporting the view of the vice principal, teacher 1 admits that the principal's leadership behavioural approach showed a high task- and a low relations-orientation: And that makes situations often a bit complicated.
Moreover, since the principal was most often indulged in the working atmosphere, this relations-oriented behaviour was suppressed. Most importantly, the Finnish way of showing good relations-oriented behaviour is to provide the employees with space and trust them with their work. Appraisals and compliments are not appreciated by Finnish employees.
The principal of school B adopted task-oriented behaviour due to the contextual setting of the organisation left behind by the former principal. The legacy of the former principal created disruption resulting from the unwise delegation of power to the employees. Therefore, to reclaim and centralise power, the principal's strategy was to reengineer structural reform and further decentralise accountability into the most suitable hands.
This strategy enabled the school principal to exercise an autocratic style of leadership by adopting task-oriented behaviour.
Leadership behavioural style leaping school forward case of school C Leader behaviour is acceptable and satisfying to subordinates to the extent that the subordinates see such behaviour as either an immediate source of satisfaction or instrumental to future satisfaction House With the behavioural pattern of leadership, the two styles - leadership task-oriented and relations-oriented - are not mutually exclusive as they can be combined in various ways.
It is important that each of these behavioural styles may be effective depending on the size of the organisation, the people's clarity about their roles, and the maturity of the staff Leithwood et al.
In relation to the styles of leadership behavioural theory, the principal of school C displayed and focused on task-oriented behaviour for achieving effectiveness. In connection to task-oriented behaviour of the principal, teacher 2 states: This brings about school success and, consequently, leadership success. This effectiveness and success also depends on a systemic approach that enables the school's actors to follow the standard operational procedures, eventually reducing social and cultural influences, and enabling staff to focus on schools policies only.
The principal of school C admits that leadership behavioural style is authoritative: I demand more from myself than I demand from others because we have to be children-focused and that's how we can grow together, but this doesn't make people happy. In the case of the school C's principal, her style reflected autocracy, centralising power, and politicising it according to her will.
However, the principal also had a supportive nature for those who performed their jobs. Reflecting this, teacher 3 mentions: Some parents are really difficult. The principal has to stand behind teachers if everything is done properly, so that if you are threatened or bullied by the parents, your own boss is supporting you.
Despite this, she believed the educational authority required that power be distributed according to the definition of the principal's roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the principal experience also influenced her ability to manage the people in the organisation, which depends largely on the culture and the size of the organisation.
The previous principal wasn't like that; he delegated all the matters he didn't want to do or he didn't have time to do for people. He gave jobs not, as if to say, 'You need to do this', but rather that he trusted the teachers and the vice principal and the school secretary do those things better than he would do them. But this principal wants to do everything by herself.
She does everything by herself and she is working from 7 until 7. However, the school leadership also has to realise the importance of people working as a team in the organisation. The employee-centred behaviour has more to offer with respect to the motivation of employees.
However, for school C's leader, task-oriented behaviour was adopted in the initial phases. The success of leadership depends highly upon the leadership's behavioural pattern. When working with mature teachers, relations-oriented behaviour can generate motivation.
However, to initiate the policies and rules in the school, a high task-oriented behaviour is essential. Teacher 4 mentions the principal's autocratic behaviour: She is very strict with the rules. The rules we get from the state have to be followed absolutely, everything, and we have to fill in the papers on time, and she is really strict with these things, so in that sense she demands a lot. She works a lot herself and that's why she demands a lot from others as well.
Moreover, working with mature teachers requires professional relations that generate teacher satisfaction. Teacher 1 explains this professionalism at work: Of course, yeah, she has to have a good professional relationship, doesn't mean we have to be best friends, professionalism is very important. Task-oriented behaviour requires immense knowledge of how to work with people, which builds confidence in the leadership process.
The philosophical views of leadership; leadership's confidence at work; professionalism, communication, transformative vision, and trust in employees, all promote trust among the employees and a willingness to work as a team within the organisation.
However, with the principal of school C, her philosophy of leadership promoted confidence and trust in only a few employees. When working with mature employees, trust is the important factor for leadership success. The principal implemented a task-oriented behaviour with confidence, supported by her experience. In relation to the confidence of the principal and her experience, teacher 2 adds: This reflects the principal's inclination towards high task-oriented behaviour and her attempt to maintain control and keep power within her reach.
Teacher 4 indicates the principal's apparent inability to trust her employees by saying: In addition, they had been burdened with additional work over and above that stated in the rules set by the educational authority. This extra workload related to the additional reporting and administrative tasks required by the principal.
Task vs. Relationship Leadership Theories | ommag.info
The commitment of teachers was reflected in the principal's efforts to encourage employees to adapt their attitudinal behaviour. Moreover, the teachers expected leadership to demonstrate considerate behaviour.
The teachers admitted a relations-oriented behaviour from the principal would improve motivation and therefore commitment. The principal's task-oriented behaviour contradicted teachers' expectations as they expected principal participation and support. According to Hersey and Blanchardthe combination of leadership's relations- and task-orientations produced the right amount of positive energy for motivation, commitment, and a good climate in an organisation.
According to Boyle In connection with behavioural tendencies, the principal of school C centralised power through her task-oriented behaviour, which was carried out according to district educational authorities. For the principal, the purpose of her initial phase at the school was to develop the structural foundation and correct the uneven distribution of power allocated to the teachers and administrative staff by the previous principal.
Structural changes were of utmost importance. Her emphasis on task influenced teachers' commitment, making them more responsible and accountable. Taking into consideration time, tasks, and individuals, the principal focused on task and time. Consequently, the initial phase of establishing the structural foundation required immense task and time orientation. This strategy by the school principal was important in initiating task-focused teamwork.
Moreover, enabling task-oriented behaviour was necessary in order to develop formal structures, while distributing authority at a later stage. Discussions and conclusion The leadership behavioural styles of school leaders in terms of both task-oriented and relations-oriented behaviour are not mutually exclusive.
In accordance with leadership behavioural theory, as developed by researchers at Ohio State University and University of Michigan, I explored the leadership behaviour in the two frames of task-oriented and relations-oriented; and which orientation enabled the leaders to demonstrate their best competences in leaping forward.
An effective leadership behavioural style, whether task- or relations-oriented, is essential for a school to leap forward. Consequently, leadership success is closely associated with school success. Therefore, leadership flexibility is important to enable leaders to remain mobile. In the case of school A, the school leader demonstrated high relations-oriented behaviour, which significantly contributed to the school's ability to leap forward.
However, in the other two cases of school B and school C, the school leadership was more inclined towards task-oriented behaviour. Nevertheless, in all the cases of school leadership explored in Finland, both relations-oriented and task-oriented behaviour contributed equally to school improvement. The results suggest that the correct leadership behavioural style to enable a school to leap forward depends on situational demands and the practical intelligence of the leader to understand these demands.
The results also suggest that a relations-oriented leadership behavioural style is less flexible than that of a task-oriented behavioural style. This is supported by Rajbhandariwho found that leadership elasticity is higher in task-oriented leadership behaviour than in relations-oriented behaviour.
The results corroborate his findings that a task-oriented behavioural leadership style is more effective, while a relations-oriented behavioural style is more efficient. In this study, it was found that, in the case of school A, leaping forward was achieved by the principal's democratic leadership style, specifically focused on relations-oriented behaviour.
However, in the other two cases of school B and school C, an autocratic leadership style displaying task-oriented behaviour enabled the school to leap forward. Nevertheless, both leadership behavioural styles were successful, depending upon situational factors in the school environment.
In the case of school A, the school principal had worked for a longer tenure in the same environment, which enabled her to understand variations in the organisational context. It was easy for this school leader to understand the environment and the followers' behavioural patterns. However, in the case of schools B and C, both school principals were newly appointed, which required of them to understand the contextual variations within the new environment before they could focus on relations building.
In addition to this, the school principals of schools B and C were both enabled to grow professionally as leaders within these new environments.
In both cases, the legacy left by the former principals created challenges for the new principals in that they had to reengineer and restructure the staff's behavioural patterns. The contextual variations produced by the appointment of a new principal included additional variations in the context. This also suggests that contextual variations can occur by themselves, which is also considered a prime variable in the organisational context.