Leadership Behaviors and Styles

Studies conducted at Ohio State University in the 1950s identified 1,800 specific examples of leadership behavior that were reduced to 150 questionnaire items on leadership functions. The functions are also referred to as dimensions of leadership behavior. This research became the foundation for most future research about leadership behavior, attitudes, and styles. The researchers asked team members to describe their supervisors by responding to the questionnaires. Leaders were also asked to rate themselves on leadership dimensions.

Two leadership dimensions accounted for 85 percent of the descriptions of leadership behavior: consideration and initiating structure. Consideration is the degree to which the leader creates an environment of emotional support, warmth, friendliness, and trust. The leader creates this environment by being friendly and approachable, looking out for the personal welfare of the group, keeping the group abreast of new developments, and doing small favors for the group. Leaders who score high on the consideration factor typically are friendly and trustworthy, earn respect, and have a warm relationship with team members.

Leaders with low scores on the consideration factor typically are authoritarian and impersonal in their relationships with group members. Initiating structure means defining and organizing relationships in the group by assigning specific tasks, specifying procedures to be followed, and clarifying expectations.
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