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Introduction The Path-Goal theory is explained and application of the model is discussed with attention given to the continuing education of medical professional's serving as an illustration. Consideration of the similarities between the four leadership styles identified in the Path-Goal model and those outline in the Situational Leadership model are explained. After consideration of the similarities a reporting of insights gain from personal application of the Path-Goal questionnaire found in Northouse (2007) is given. Path-Goal Theory Path-Goal theory seeks to educate leaders in using the expectancy theory to improve employee performance and satisfaction. Management scholar Robert House (as cited in Knight, Shteynberg, & Hanges, 2004, p. 1164) summed up the theory by stating "leaders, to be effective, engage in behaviors that complement subordinates' environments and abilities in a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and individual and work unit performance". This synopsis includes the major components of the theory. A leader's behavior, the subordinates' environment and abilities, and the task characteristics, are all being used to motivate individuals to complete goals. This definition also reflects the 1994 revision to the theory that included the importance of group leadership (Knight et. al, 2004). Application of the Theory Northouse (2007) suggests that leaders can use this theory to identify what subordinates need to accomplish their goals. By increasing the number and varieties of the rewards, removing obstacles to the goal, illuminating the pathway through guidance and coaching, and making the work more personally satisfying, leaders will be more effective. Interestingly, Knight et. al. (2004) concludes that the sustained advantage to the Path-Goal theory is its contribution to spurring development of other leadership theories such as the Substitutes for Leadership theory and the Charismatic Leadership theory. Other research has paired the Path-Goal theory with the Discrepancy theory (Fox & Miner, 1999) to expound on how the combination can be applied to the success of continuing education programs in the medical field. Greater success in motivation for participation in continuing education will result if communication in the planning stages includes (Fox & Miner, 1999): 1. How the program leads to a specific outcome for participants. 2. Why this outcome is important to being a good employee and organization. 3. How the program has the ability to affect them in some special way (valence). 4. Why this program is better than others. Correspondence between Path-Goal and Situational Leadership The four styles identified by the Situational leadership model fit like a hand in a glove to the four leadership styles prescribed by the Path-Goal model. Both models identify a directive style, which calls for the leader to tell followers what to do and how to do it. These styles are also commonly employed in situations where the followers have little to no experience in performing the tasks (ChangingMinds.org, 2010, Situational Leadership Theory section). In addition, both models identify a supporting style that begins to take into account the relational aspect of followers to leaders that can be used to encourage followers through stressful or boring tasks (ChangingMinds.org, 2010, Path-Goal Theory section). When leaders feel that followers are experts or followers think of themselves as experts the leader will not only listen to ideas but also actively seek them in a participative style according to the Path-Goal model. The Situational Leadership style of selling and coaching mirrors the participative style in that the leader spends a major portion of the time listening and advising (ChangingMinds.org, 2010, Situational Leadership Theory section). The forth category of both theories is characterized by a hands-off approach. Path-Goal calls this style, achievement-oriented and the Situational Leadership style is known as delegating/observing. These styles can be used when followers are able to attain high performance in complex tasks with trust from the leader that the motivation and ability are equal to that task. The recognition of proximity in the style alignment between the two models enables a leader to develop a broader understanding of when to apply specific styles. A leader who encounters a situation where the directive style is necessary because the follower has no experience can begin to develop relational aspects of the dyad, which will make transition into a supportive style smoother. Without the added dimension given from the Situational leadership model to encourage development in the relationship aspect followers may become comfortable and stagnant in the directive style. Path-Goal Leadership Questionnaire Completion of the questionnaire (Northouse, 2007) shows that the dominant leadership style is achievement-oriented. This style was the only category to receive a score that was not in the common ranges. A strong identification with encouraging continual improvement in subordinates' matches the manufacturing background with its focus on continual improvement of production capacity. It comes as no surprise that this style is at the core of the leadership styles given the desire to learn and improve personal efficiencies. This style fits well for upper management leadership where tasks are ambiguous with a focus on vision fulfillment instead of task conformity. It is of interest that the achievement-oriented behavior is usually identified as a combination of directive and supportive styles (Knight et. al, 2004). The amalgamation of styles leads to the assumption that the scores in both categories would support the resulting style. However, as it turns out, the results in this questionnaire do not support the hypothesis. Although still in the common range, a score of 24 in the supportive style category was the closest to being a low rating. This indicates that attention should be focused on making the workplace more enjoyable and taking time to develop caring relationships. Efforts in this area will increase follower satisfaction and performance especially in tasks that are repetitive or not intrinsically satisfying (Knight et. al, 2004). Conclusion The Path-Goal theory is descriptive in that it helps leaders to determine an appropriate path to effective leadership. The theory can also be used to address areas that are lacking in style development for leaders to achieve maximum productivity and cohesion among team members. Path-Goal leadership styles can be related to the styles used in the Situational Leadership model. Understanding this correlation between the two models can bring application questions into sharper focus. Using the Path-Goal questionnaire has helped to identify a dominant achievement-oriented style while recommending effort is undertaken to improve supportive behavior. Developing these styles will enable a leader to handle various environments and subordinate needs.
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Clearing a Path to Effective Leadership
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Clearing A Path To Effective Leadership

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              Introduction
              The Path-Goal theory is explained and application of the model is discussed with attention given to the continuing education of medical professional's serving as an illustration. Consideration of the similarities between the four leadership styles identified in the Path-Goal model and those outline in the Situational Leadership model are explained. After consideration of the similarities a reporting of insights gain from personal application of the Path-Goal questionnaire found in Northouse (2007) is given.
             
              Path-Goal Theory
              Path-Goal theory seeks to educate leaders in using the expectancy theory to improve employee performance and satisfaction. Management scholar Robert House (as cited in Knight, Shteynberg, & Hanges, 2004, p. 1164) summed up the theory by stating "leaders, to be effective, engage in behaviors that complement subordinates' environments and abilities in a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and individual and work unit performance". This synopsis includes the major components of the theory. A leader's behavior, the subordinates' environment and abilities, and the task characteristics, are all being used to motivate individuals to complete goals. This definition also reflects the 1994 revision to the theory that included the importance of group leadership (Knight et. al, 2004).
             
              Application of the Theory
              Northouse (2007) suggests that leaders can use this theory to identify what subordinates need to accomplish their goals. By increasing the number and varieties of the rewards, removing obstacles to the goal, illuminating the pathway through guidance and coaching, and making the work more personally satisfying, leaders will be more effective.
              Interestingly, Knight et. al. (2004) concludes that the sustained advantage to the Path-Goal theory is its contribution to spurring development of other leadership theories such as the Substitutes for Leadership theory and the Charismatic Leadership theory. Other research has paired the Path-Goal theory with the Discrepancy theory (Fox & Miner, 1999) to expound on how the combination can be applied to the success of continuing education programs in the medical field. Greater success in motivation for participation in continuing education will result if communication in the planning stages includes (Fox & Miner, 1999):
              1. How the program leads to a specific outcome for participants.
              2. Why this outcome is important to being a good employee and organization.
              3. How the program has the ability to affect them in some special way (valence).
              4. Why this program is better than others.
             
              Correspondence between Path-Goal and Situational Leadership
              The four styles identified by the Situational leadership model fit like a hand in a glove to the four leadership styles prescribed by the Path-Goal model. Both models identify a directive style, which calls for the leader to tell followers what to do and how to do it. These styles are also commonly employed in situations where the followers have little to no experience in performing the tasks (ChangingMinds. org, 2010, Situational Leadership Theory section). In addition, both models identify a supporting style that begins to take into account the relational aspect of followers to leaders that can be used to encourage followers through stressful or boring tasks (ChangingMinds. org, 2010, Path-Goal Theory section). When leaders feel that followers are experts or followers think of themselves as experts the leader will not only listen to ideas but also actively seek them in a participative style according to the Path-Goal model. The Situational Leadership style of selling and coaching mirrors the participative style in that the leader spends a major portion of the time listening and advising (ChangingMinds. org, 2010, Situational Leadership Theory section). The forth category of both theories is characterized by a hands-off approach. Path-Goal calls this style, achievement-oriented and the Situational Leadership style is known as delegating/observing. These styles can be used when followers are able to attain high performance in complex tasks with trust from the leader that the motivation and ability are equal to that task.
              The recognition of proximity in the style alignment between the two models enables a leader to develop a broader understanding of when to apply specific styles. A leader who encounters a situation where the directive style is necessary because the follower has no experience can begin to develop relational aspects of the dyad, which will make transition into a supportive style smoother. Without the added dimension given from the Situational leadership model to encourage development in the relationship aspect followers may become comfortable and stagnant in the directive style.
             
              Path-Goal Leadership Questionnaire
              Completion of the questionnaire (Northouse, 2007) shows that the dominant leadership style is achievement-oriented. This style was the only category to receive a score that was not in the common ranges. A strong identification with encouraging continual improvement in subordinates' matches the manufacturing background with its focus on continual improvement of production capacity. It comes as no surprise that this style is at the core of the leadership styles given the desire to learn and improve personal efficiencies. This style fits well for upper management leadership where tasks are ambiguous with a focus on vision fulfillment instead of task conformity. It is of interest that the achievement-oriented behavior is usually identified as a combination of directive and supportive styles (Knight et. al, 2004). The amalgamation of styles leads to the assumption that the scores in both categories would support the resulting style. However, as it turns out, the results in this questionnaire do not support the hypothesis.
             
              Although still in the common range, a score of 24 in the supportive style category was the closest to being a low rating. This indicates that attention should be focused on making the workplace more enjoyable and taking time to develop caring relationships. Efforts in this area will increase follower satisfaction and performance especially in tasks that are repetitive or not intrinsically satisfying (Knight et. al, 2004).
             
              Conclusion
              The Path-Goal theory is descriptive in that it helps leaders to determine an appropriate path to effective leadership. The theory can also be used to address areas that are lacking in style development for leaders to achieve maximum productivity and cohesion among team members. Path-Goal leadership styles can be related to the styles used in the Situational Leadership model. Understanding this correlation between the two models can bring application questions into sharper focus. Using the Path-Goal questionnaire has helped to identify a dominant achievement-oriented style while recommending effort is undertaken to improve supportive behavior. Developing these styles will enable a leader to handle various environments and subordinate needs.
Leadership Essay 
Changingminds.org. (2010). Hersey and Blanchard's situational leadership. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/situational_leadership_hersey_blanchard.htm.

Changingminds.org. (2010). Path-Goal theory of leadership. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/styles/path_goal_leadership.htm.

Fox, R., & Miner, C. (1999). Motivation and the facilitation of change, learning, and participation in educational programs. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 19(3), 132. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

Knight, A., Shteynberg, G., & Hanges, P. (2004). Path-Goal analysis. In George Goethals, Georgia Sorenson & James Burns (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Leadership, Vol. 3. (1164-1169). Thousand Oaks: Sage References. Retrieved May 21, 2010, from Gale Virtual References Library via Gale.

Northouse, P. (2007). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
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