Leadership & Communication: Functional Perspective

In my last entry on this matter, I will get into the concept of leadership from the functional perspective. This concept stems, as our book suggests, from the idea that whatever furthers the group’s functionality is what is best.

For this, we have a little twist. Rather than a single leader, we rely on the various skills and traits of each person to help the group accomplish the goal. This can be done through task-oriented behaviors or process-oriented behaviors.

Task-oriented behaviors focus on the job that needs to be done. As we discussed in our class the other day, we sometimes play task roles in a group (roles that further the accomplishments, or focus on the objective). The same (or at least, a similar) principle applies here: task-oriented behaviors primarily aim at objectives and furthering the group’s progress toward the goal.

By contrast, process-oriented¬†behaviors place their emphasis on the group’s climate, or the feelings we have toward the group members AND the goal itself. If you want to connect this to roles (as we discussed in class), you might align them more with the maintenance roles. It may also help to think about it this way: if you aren’t really excited about the job you’re doing, you’re probably going to intentionally find distractions to avoid doing it. Therefore, we have to be motivated to do the task and to work with others to accomplish it.

This perspective took me a lot longer to get, I admit. But as I learn more about it, I can see the value and importance of it to our daily lives. In nearly every committee on which I serve, I can tell you that there are those who work to be focused on the job at hand, while others work to ensure that we feel good about what we’re doing. Sometimes, individuals will even exhibit behaviors for both task & process.

Tell me your thoughts in the comments section. What are your experiences?


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