Which management style should you choose as a leader: task-oriented or process-oriented? Combining both is a better idea, especially if you consider the top pros and cons associated with each one.
As a rule, a management style is considered to be effective when a team timely achieves all of its set goals. However, focusing only on the tasks at hand is hardly ever effective in practice. If we put management style aside, it becomes clear that neither task-oriented nor process-oriented management techniques would be 100% effective if taken separately.
Today, most businesses rely on teamwork and collaboration.
Teams, in turn, are only effective when both tasks and processes are properly outlined. Without this combination, we would never see moon expeditions, firefly launch, or successful digital projects. So, let’s take a better look at task- and process-oriented approaches to understand better their main advantages and avoid common pitfalls.
Task-Oriented Management Style Pros & Cons
Task-oriented management style is exactly what it implies — a strong focus on the results with lesser emphasis on how to achieve those. This process can be based on great management tactics with proper management — meaning, the management must have a clear strategy because, for the employees, task orientation often translates into doing without thinking. It does, however, have certain advantages, such as:
● Decisions are made quickly;
● Project turnaround times are lower;
● Fast company growth is almost always a guarantee;
● The team has a full and clear focus on the future.
Still, despite all of these advantages, the task-oriented management style example also has a downside. The first and most damaging aspect of this management style is quick employee burnout. Plus, if the goal is too big, most people tend to lose motivation halfway through the project.
Besides, a focus on quick results leaves no room for creativity, which is a huge drawback for many projects. Additional risks of emphasizing results rather than ways to achieve them include:
● Little personal involvement in the project — one needs to cross a task off the list asap;
● Compromised quality — it is important to make a product work quickly;
● No vision of a larger picture — task orientation presupposes thinking short-term.
Process-Oriented Management Style Pros & Cons
Process-oriented management necessitates long-term planning and consideration. This management style model does keep end-goals in mind but keeps a more relaxed pace where decisions are often delayed in search of the best course of action. Most of all, this management method emphasizes the most effective steps that would ensure necessary long-term results. However, it is still crucial to keep end-goals in mind because process orientation could be counter-productive without it. Still, this management strategy has several important benefits if implemented properly:
● Organizational processes become more agile and that leads to improved business performance;
● All team members clearly understand long-term goals and look for the most effective ways to achieve those;
● Emphasis on process optimization often results in cost-reduction and optimal use of all resources at hand;
● In a service industry, this approach leads to maximum customer satisfaction;
● Product or service quality is not compromised in return for quick results.
Obviously, there are two sides to any coin, and most of these benefits can turn into pitfalls, such as:
● Delays, even inability to meet deadlines;
● Less personal responsibility for assigned tasks;
● Risks of falling victim to endless, counter-productive perfectionism;
● Lack of guidance and direction.
With this in mind, it becomes evident that most teams and businesses would benefit from a mixed management style planning that combines the top benefits of both approaches.
How Do You Balance Task & Process-Oriented Management?
Of course, before planning any actual management approach, it is important to consider your industry specifics. Some industries logically require tipping the scales to result-orientation, while others call for a more process-focused approach. Strong emphasis on the result works in:
● Finance & investment;
● Top executive positions within most companies;
● Businesses that work on multiple monotonous projects.
In contrast to that, emphasizing strategy and processes are perfect for:
● Any service industry from retail to tourism;
● Banking, etc.
However, many industries rely on a combination of these two management styles. The easiest way to ensure this mixed management style is planned efficiently, is to:
● Outline intermediate milestones while keeping end-goals in mind;
● Offer solid guidance on all processes within a company;
● Encourage learning and professional growth while working towards common goals;
● Set realistic goals and assign responsibilities and tasks for their implementation;
● Make sure every team member working on one part of a larger goal understands what others are doing and how it should translate into the end result.
Hopefully, these tips will help you fine-tune your management style, aligning it both with your strategy and daily processes inside the organization. Finding a perfect balance without tipping the scales too much in either direction usually translates into building effective teams that achieve most, if not all, of their corporate goals.
Emily Moore is an English & programming teacher with a passion for space and blogging. She believes that current exploration should be focused on preserving our planet’s resources. With satellites circling the orbit, it is easier to get relevant data on any environmental changes. This, in turn, should help people quickly address any challenges.