Path Goal Theory of Leadership: Explained with Examples

A leader’s effectiveness depends on several factors including employee motivation and environmental or situational. In this article, we will in detail explain about what is the path-goal theory of leadership, what are its components, and the different leadership styles given by Robert J House.

Leaders always face difficulty in managing the employee’s personal goals and organizational goals.

Hence, a complete understanding of the path-goal theory helps the manager to identify or adopt the best leadership style which is suited to the situation and helps in increasing motivation or enhancing the performance level of their team members or employees.

► What is the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership?

  • The path-goal theory of leadership is given by Robert J House in 1971.
  • It is a situational theory created by integrating the Vroom expectancy theory of motivation and Ohio state leadership theory.

Robert House’s theory propounded the relationship between leadership styles and situation and this theory help the leader choose the best leadership style according to the situation demand.

  • According to path-goal theory is that the leader’s job is to allocate resources, clarify goals to the subordinate and create a work environment that clears the path for achieving their goal.

An effective leader is one who creates an effective goal orientation and also improves the path toward goals for the employee.

The major component of the path-goal theory is

  • Leader Behavior or leadership style
  • Followers Characteristics
  • Task Characteristics

Also Read : Vroom Expectancy Theory

► Types of Leadership style in Path-Goal Theory

Robert house identifies the 4 types of leadership styles that depend on the different situations.

  • Directive Leadership Style
  • Supportive Leadership Style
  • Participative Leadership Style
  • Achievement-oriented Leadership Style

✔ 1. Directive Leadership Style

In the directive approach of leadership style, a task is considered ambiguous so a leader provides guidelines or information, and tell subordinate what is their task, how to do it, and what is expected from them the leader also sets performance standards for subordinates.

This type of leadership style is best for new or inexperienced subordinates and the manager role is very important in a situation he works as a facilitator or coach.

✔ 2. Supportive Leadership Style

In this leadership style, the leader is very friendly and approachable to subordinates. Under this style displays personal concern for the needs, welfare, and well-being of his subordinate and he treated them like a family.

The supportive style is more successful when the task is stressful and employees need psychological or emotional support so can easily complete their task. This style is the same as people-oriented leadership.

✔ 3. Participative Leadership Style

In this leadership style, the leader believes in group decision-making and he consults and shares information with subordinates. This style is mostly used for the nonrepetitive task so the participation of subordinates become very vital.

Leader collaborates with their subordinates when decisions are important for work or task goals and require active participation from all subordinate to accomplish the task.

✔ 4. Achievement-oriented Leadership Style

In this leadership style, the leader intentionally sets challenging goals in order to encourage employees to reach their peak performance and display their capabilities and motivation.

This kind of leadership style is more suitable for ambiguous and non-repetitive tasks.

The leader expects employees have enough ability and confidence to accomplish challenging goals that were set by the leader.