It is quite obvious that more appreciated and valued employees are, the more dedicated they will be to working towards success in a workplace. The treatment of employees goes a long way in achieving goals and the pace at which that is done. The path-goal theory focuses on how leaders motivate followers to accomplish their goals (Williams, 2019). In many past experiences, I have seen direct results stem from the good or poor treatment of employees. Being in a leadership role where you also work side by side with other employees (who trust you) allows you to hear and see some of the feedback that upper management is not always aware of.
At my place of work, the employees tend to see through the fakeness and realize when they’re being underappreciated for their hard work and dedication to the company. This has an effect on their motivation and definitely takes a toll on overall work performance. Even if a small group of employees are unhappy, word travels fast of the reasons why and sooner than later, an entire business can feel less motivated to achieve success for the business. Some of the most valuable factors of a business are the employees, the worker bees, if you will.
“Path-goal theory assumes effective leaders will provide valued rewards for the follower (the “goal”) and then help them find the best way of getting there (the “path”)” (Williams, 2019). Motivation comes from many things. It can come from money, happiness, success, goals, and other types of rewards. If the employer keeps the employee happy, they will in turn put forth all their effort into doing a good job and reaching the goal. The path-goal theory includes a set of four behaviors. These behaviors consist of directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership (Northouse, 2016). In expressing these behaviors, a leader will oftentimes find success in their business. The directive leadership entails a leader giving specific directions for tasks that need to be completed along with a timeline for them to be completed in (Williams, 2019). In other words, the directive leadership is cut and dry, expressing exactly what is expected of the follower. Some followers prefer this type of leadership, as they may not have a strong personality and would rather have no say in the task but rather be aware of what is expected of them so they can complete it efficiently. The supportive leadership behavior is shown when a leader is friendly and approachable, their main focus being to please the follower and ensure their happiness (Williams, 2019). While this behavior is not as common in some work places, it is easy to see how it would help the success of the follower as they would feel supported which in turn makes them happy. The participative leadership behavior entails giving the follower a voice and allowing them to have a say in making decisions. This would not work for all organizations, but would definitely contribute to employee happiness. The achievement-oriented leadership behavior challenges subordinates to excel in their work performance and maintain a high level of performance throughout their work (Williams, 2019). This behavior is successful in circumstances where a subordinate wants the respect of their leader and will work hard to gain their confidence and trust which will then bring on more responsibility in the future.
From my personal experiences, leaders who express these behaviors (preferably more than one at a time) will ultimately be more successful over those who don’t. If the “path” that you are on is leading you to you or your company’s “goal,” then you should be willing to behave in certain ways that will attribute to that success. This theory would be of great utilization to some businesses with low employee satisfaction. It is clear to see how and why these behaviors would attribute to a company’s success.
Northouse, P. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc
Williams, J. (2019). PSYCH 485: Contingency and Path Theories: Lessons 6 [Power Point Slides]. Pennsylvania State University: World Campus. Retrieved from: