Robert House’s Path-Goal Model

Definition: The Path-Goal Model of leadership is given by Robert House and others, who studied the relationship between the leadership styles and the situations. According to them, there is no single leadership style that fit in all the situations and therefore, they tried to predict the effectiveness of leadership styles in different situations.

Robert House and Mitchell have identified four types of leadership styles:

Path-goal model

  1. Supportive Leadership: Here, leader emphasizes on establishing the interpersonal relationships with the subordinates by showing concern for their welfare and building a friendly environment within the organization. This kind of leadership style is adopted with the intent to make the job more interesting when the work is more stressful or hazardous.
  2. Directive Leadership: The directive leadership style is followed when the subordinates are inexperienced, or the job is quite complex that cannot be performed without the manager’s directions. Here, manager properly tells the subordinates about the task and the ways to perform it.
  3. Participative Leadership: This kind of leadership style is adopted when the subordinates are experienced, and the job is complex. Here, the leader involves the team members who are experts to give their input in the decision-making process.
  4. Achievement-Oriented Leadership: Here, the manager sets high standard goals for his teammates with the intent to motivate them to achieve those goals. The leader has full confidence in his subordinates and adopts this leadership style for the self-improvement of each group member and to make a task more exciting. Generally, this style is followed when the task is quite complex, and the subordinates are less motivated.

Thus, the path-goal model posits that the foremost function of the leader is to clarify and set goals with subordinates, help them in identifying the best path for achieving the goal and removing the obstacles if coming in the way. In order to do so, the leader adopts different leadership styles that best suits the situation.

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