In November 2012 Yukl updated this taxonomy of leader behaviors as follows:
- Task-oriented (clarifying, planning, monitoring operations, problem solving)
- Relations-oriented (supporting, developing, recognizing, empowering)
- Change-oriented (advocating, envisioning, encouraging innovation, facilitating collective learning)
- External (networking, external monitoring, representing)
My thoughts: I consider most “leadership” research to be “management style” research. Most leadership studies are studying managers. I see leadership as the ability to influence an individual or group to go beyond the requirements of the job at hand, to go beyond required compliance. Leadership is an influence process that usually involves some measure of inspiring others. This is tough to measure.
But what we have learned about “leadership,” that is “management style,” is important. Yukl’s first two categories have dominated theory and research. Are you people-oriented or task-oriented? Or do you adjust your style to accommodate the situation? Individual differences are important here. Some task-oriented managers would find it very difficult to be people-oriented and vice versa. Other managers can easily move from one style to the other as the situation requires.
The fourth category, external, reminds me of the work of Henry Mintzberg, who has written about the roles managers play, and the research of Fred Luthans. Luthans found networking the most frequent activity of those who were successful in getting promotions. Whether these behaviors are more leadership or management style, I am not sure.
However the third category of behaviors, change-oriented, may be a key to leadership. John Kotter thinks so. He wrote, “The fundamental purpose of leadership is to produce meaningful change . . .” (1999, p. 11) Change can be tough. Being able to influence others to go above and beyond to make change happen probably does require real leadership.
Kotter, J. P. (1999). Leadership at the turn of the century. In John P.Kotter on What Leaders Really Do. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Luthans, F., Hodgetts, R.M., & Rosenkrantz, S. A. (1988). Real Managers. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
Mintzberg, H. (1973). The Nature of Managerial Work. New York: Harper & Row.
Yukl, G. (2012). Effective leadership behavior: What we know and what questions need more attention. Academy of Management Perspectives, 26 (4), 66-85.
Yukl, G., Gordon, A., & Taber, T. (2002). A hierarchical taxonomy of leadership behavior: Integrating a half century of behavior research. Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 9 (1), 15-32.
Image by opensourceway from http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5161094177/