Management Essay Example: Path-Goal and Servant Leadership Theories

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Wesleyan University
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Path-goal theory, as the name suggests refers to instances where a leader is involved in the path taken by a follower, motivates and sets the followers in the right direction to achieve a particular goal. The main aim of the path-goal theory is to improve the way a follower performs by encouraging them in their activities and hence attaining their set targets. The servant leadership theory, on the other hand, refers to a leader putting themselves in the position of a servant first, then offering service to the people thereby satisfying their interests without considering his own. The leader, who plays the role of a servant, is concerned about the well-being of the people and takes it as his responsibility to act in their best interest to ensure that they are happy. The leader has less institutional power as compared to the path-goal theory and the people who they serve have a sense of entitlement to the benefits of the servants work.

The path-goal leadership theory is best suitable in the case of a mentor or an educator (Phillips and Carl 149). This suitability is because, in the instance of a mentor or an educator and a student, the end goal of the interaction is to show the student a way to do a specific task and how to reach a set target. The target can be how to pass an examination or learn certain activities or even how to be a better person in the future. As a result, the learner or the follower, in this case, does not need to be served but needs to be shown or directed in a given task. They need assistance in order to be able to perform on their own. In addition to this, the path-goal theory offers a form of satisfaction on the part of the follower after being directed on how to perform a given task and they do so. The incentives presented by this theory such as reward as motivation, are also ideal in the instance of a mentor and their mentees or an educator and their students.

An educator meets different types of students in their field of work; some of the students are strong, while others are weak academically. However, the path-goal theory provides for both. It gives four forms of leadership behaviors and how they are suitable for students with various characteristics in achieving several kinds of task. The educator is supportive and therefore approachable by the weaker students or directive and gives guidelines for the stronger students. The theory also stipulates the behaviors of the leadership being supportive and achievement-oriented hence focused on the purpose of the interaction. This comportment is contrary to the servant leadership theory illustration by Hermann where the people depend on the leader for direction, and without his guidance, they lose their way. This situation is not ideal for students who are meant to learn to be independent in the future and be able to act without the direction of their educators.

This discussion does not copiously disregard the servant leadership theory as some of its qualities are necessary for a goal oriented person. Some of these are listening, persuasion and commitment skills. However, the servant leadership theory is essential in a community setting and the path-goal in a learning environment.


Works Cited

Phillips, Antoinette S., and Carl R. Phillips. "Behavioral Styles of Path-Goal Theory: An Exercise for Developing Leadership Skills." Management Teaching Review 1.3 (2016): 148-154.

Hesse, Hermann. The journey to the east: A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.

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