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the task at hand or “get the job done.” Relationship behaviors function to build cohesiveness and create a sense of “togetherness” within the group. Though some leaders can be more task-oriented or relationship-oriented, an effective leader needs to know how to combine the two, as both behaviors are necessary for a group to achieve its maximum potential.

Examples of task behaviors include initiating (proposing

the task or goal, defining the problem, suggesting

procedures); information and opinion seeking (requesting

facts, asking for suggestions and ideas, researching

relevant information); information or opinion giving

(offering facts, stating beliefs and ideas); clarifying or elaborating (interpreting or reflecting ideas and suggestions, giving examples, clearing up misunderstandings); summarizing (combining related ideas, restating suggestions after discussion, offering conclusions); and consensus testing (finding out how much agreement has been reached, determining if the group has reached any conclusions).

Important relationship behaviors include encouraging others (being friendly and responsive to others, giving recognition); expressing group feelings (being aware of moods and relationships, sharing emotions with other members); harmonizing (managing conflict, reducing tension); compromising (admitting error, being open-minded to ideas and solutions); gate-keeping (keeping communication channels open, facilitating others’ participation); and setting standards (establishing standards for the group to work by, evaluating group functioning and production). All group members should fill task and relationship functions; it is the leader’s responsibility that both types are being performed.

Skills and qualities associated with effective leadership can be learned. Evaluating other leaders helps us observe that leaders need traits for different situations. By becoming aware of positive attributes associated with productive leadership, one can focus on building those qualities within themself. Knowing one’s leadership style can help them strengthen those areas they need to improve. By practicing leadership skills, one can enhance their effectiveness in working with groups to achieve goals.


Activity 1: Create a personal definition of leadership in DEFINING LEADERSHIP.

Activity 2: Determine essential leadership traits in LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS.

Activity 3: Evaluate different views and definitions of leadership in LEADERSHIP LORE.

Activity 4: Discover your leadership style with WHAT KIND OF LEADER AM I?


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