Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Psychology in the Workplace

What is the difference between task-oriented and socio-emotional leadership styles?

A task-oriented leader focuses on the most efficient ways to accomplish the goals of the group, whether that is to maximize sales, treat patients in a hospital, or produce the greatest number of widgets. The task-oriented leader does this by clarifying the group’s goals, delineating each worker’s responsibilities, and addressing any barriers to goal completion. A socioemotional leader addresses the overall morale of the group members. This includes consideration of group cohesion and morale, the emotions and needs of individual workers, and within-group relationships. Research shows that task orientation promotes efficiency, whereas a socio-emotional focus promotes worker satisfaction. However, worker satisfaction and worker performance are not always related. Therefore, most organizational psychologists conclude that leaders should attend to the demands of the task and to the socio-emotional needs of the work group.


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