Path-Goal Theory

Discovering the Best Leadership Style

Path-Goal Theory

Lead your team to their objectives effectively.

© iStockphoto/ssstep

Imagine that your boss has just assigned a major project to your new team.

There are some very talented people within the team, but you've worked with them in the past, and it wasn't a pleasant experience...

You've always felt that the best way to manage a fast-paced, expert team is to set objectives, and then let team members work out how they'll deliver for themselves.

You don't want to interfere with what they're doing, so you rarely have meetings with individuals or with the group.

The problem is that the team hasn't responded well to this approach. So what else should you do? Would daily meetings waste your people's time? And would they be annoyed if you involved yourself more in decision-making, or gave them more guidance on the project?

When thinking about the best way to lead a team, we have to consider several different factors, and it's easy choose the wrong approach. When this happens, morale, effectiveness, and productivity can suffer.

Path-Goal Theory helps you identify an effective approach to leadership, based on what your people want and your current situation. In this article, we'll look at Path-Goal Theory, and we'll explore how you can apply it to your own situation.

About Path-Goal Theory

Psychologist, Robert House, developed Path-Goal Theory in 1971, and then redefined and updated it in a 1996 article in The Leadership Quarterly. Let's look at some of the elements of the theory.

... for the complete article:

Mind Tools Club members, click here.

Join the Mind Tools Club to finish this article AND get 1,000 more resources

Join now for just $1, first month

"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
Add this article to My Learning Plan

Where to go from here:

Join the Mind Tools Club

Click to join Mind Tools
Printer-friendly version
Return to the top of the page

Create a Login to Save Your Learning Plan

This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.

Connect with…

Or create a Mind Tools login. Existing user? Log in here.
Log in with your existing Mind Tools details
Lost Username or Password
You are now logged in…

Lost username or password?

Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.

Thank You!

Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.

Create a Mind Tools Login
Your plan has been created.

While you're here, subscribe to our FREE newsletter?

Learn a new career skill every week, and get our Personal Development Plan workbook (worth $19.99) when you subscribe.

Thank You!

Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.