The failure to find “gold” in the trait “mines” prompted academics to focus on the actions taken by particular leaders.
According to behavioral theories of leadership, some behaviors set leaders apart from followers. The implications of a successful behavioral approach to leadership would be very different from those of a successful characteristic approach. If trait research had been effective, it would have given us a basis for choosing the ‘appropriate’ people to occupy official leadership positions in groups and organizations. On the other hand, we could train people to be leaders if behavioral studies revealed important behavioral predictors of leadership. The basic presuppositions of trait and behavioral theories differ in terms of application. Leaders are not created; they are born, if characteristic theories are true. On the other hand, we could teach leadership if particular traits distinguished leaders. We could create programs that would ingrain these behavioral tendencies in people who wanted to be good leaders. This was undoubtedly a more interesting option because the pool of potential leaders could be increased. We could never run out of capable leaders if the training was successful.
Ohio State Studies:
The goal of the study was to isolate distinct characteristics of leader behavior. They started with over a thousand dimensions, but eventually reduced the list to two groups that largely accounted for the majority of the leadership behavior that employees described. These two dimensions were referred to as beginning structure and contemplation.
The term “initiating structure” describes how a leader will likely define and organize both their own and their team members’ roles in the pursuit of goal achievement. It involves actions that structure work, professional relationships, and objectives. If a leader “assigns group members to specific tasks,” “expects workers to maintain definite standards of performance,” and “emphasizes the meeting of deadlines,” one may claim that the leader has a high starting structure.
Regard refers to a person’s propensity to build relationships with coworkers that are characterized by trust, respect for their opinions, and regard for their feelings. He or she demonstrates concern for followers’ satisfaction, prestige, and comfort. A well-regarded leader assists employees with personal issues, is approachable and kind, and treats all staff members equally.
Based on these definitions, extensive research revealed that leaders who scored well on initiating structure and consideration (referred to as “high-high” leaders) were more likely to produce high employee performance and satisfaction than those who scored poorly on consideration, initiating structure, or both. The “high-high” approach, meanwhile, did not always have favorable effects. The Ohio State Studies concluded that the “high-high” style typically produced favorable results. Nevertheless, there were enough outliers that the situational aspects needed to be considered in the theory.
University of Michigan Studies:
The Michigan group also identified two aspects of leadership behavior that they dubbed “production-oriented” and “employee-oriented.” Leaders who were employee-oriented were described as emphasizing interpersonal relations; they showed a sincere concern for the requirements of their staff members and tolerated individual diversity. The production-oriented leaders, on the other hand, tended to place more emphasis on the technical or task-related aspects of the work. For them, finishing the tasks allocated to their group was of utmost importance, and the group members were just a tool in that process. The Michigan researchers’ findings substantially favored the CEOs who exhibited employee-oriented behavior. When compared to production-oriented leaders, employee-oriented leaders were linked to higher group productivity and greater work satisfaction.