There are several ways to direct an organization and there are multiple types of leaders to carry these approaches out. Management builds the structure of a business and, at the same time, structure dictates how the leaders should uphold their responsibilities. Task oriented, emotional, deviant and boundary conscious leaders are responsible for managing specific facets of the organization.
Task leaders are the most knowledgeable pf the tasks at hand and play a big part in influencing procedures. Emotional leaders are highly invested in a particular task and work toward meeting a goal through collaboration. A deviant leader are also highly invested in a task but are often competitive or perceived as being negative. Boundary conscious leaders are cautionary and primarily concerned with autonomy, both individual and as a group.
As employees, we have all experienced “good” bosses and “bad” bosses. We perceive them as such because of how we feel about them, the task and the organization. If we are not fully invested in the group or the job, the leader is more likely to be seen as bad or mean.
In truth, certain leaders are more likely to act “negatively” because of how they perceive their own goals and the methods to achieving them. Much like everything else, the types of leadership falls on a spectrum and a person can accomplish tasks by assuming multiple roles.
Looking back on the managers and bosses that I’ve had in the past, it is apparent that they have all taken on one or more of these roles to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Truthfully, I can see where I have adopted these roles previously and just didn’t know the terminology of them. In one particular organization, the general manager was seen as a deviant leader and she enlisted me to be a task oriented and boundary conscious leader under her to balance the scales.
While I recognize that everyone in an organization has a job to do, I respect the autonomy of others and feel that the people that make up a group are as important as the task itself. Management cannot expect their employees to do the hard work for none of the benefits; the people that are working toward the goal need to have a reason to. They need to be motivated. A task leader can motivate whereas the boundary conscious respects the individual.
It’s easy to get upset when your direct report acts in a less-than-friendly way. The biggest change that I could make or suggest making is to remember that our managers are trying their best. Their jobs aren’t easy and they are taking on a selfless role to get the job done. Managements that try too hard to be liked often suffer with procedural tasks and those who meet their goals are often perceived as mean.
We can’t make everyone happy. Our bosses bosses are holding everyone accountable for completing tasks and, at the end of the day, signing all of our paychecks. If we don’t agree with organizational practices, we have to get out. If we want to continue to get paid, we have to do our work under the people who direct us to.
Jones, B. B. (2014). The Ntl handbook of organization development and change: principles, practices, and perspectives (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Wiley.