has been made in discovering why some leaders are more effective than others, although the leadership literature is full of ambiguous theory and contradictory research findings. Two types of competencies associated with leadership effectiveness are behaviors and skills. Leadership behavior includes observable actions (e.g., making assignments) and cognitive activities (e.g., making conscious decisions). Skills include the leader's knowledge and ability to perform various types of activities.
Early researchers focused on the distinction between task-oriented behavior and people-oriented behavior (Fleishman, 1953; Halpin and Winer, 1957). Even though these two values are sometimes incompatible, effective leaders find ways to integrate them in patterns of behavior that are appropriate for the situation (Blake and Mouton, 1982; Yukl, 1981, 1994). Many later researchers and theorists have proposed taxonomies with narrower, more specific categories of leadership behavior. These taxonomies differ in purpose, level of abstraction, and number of behavior categories, and there has been much confusion and disagreement about the most useful way to classify leadership behavior.
The accumulated research evidence suggests that a number of specific types of behavior are especially relevant to leadership effectiveness: (1) clarifying roles and objectives, (2) supportive leadership, (3) planning and problem solving, (4) monitoring operations and environment, (5) inspirational leadership, (6) participative leadership, (7) positive reward behavior, and (8) networking. These categories of behavior are not mutually exclusive, but instead overlap and interact in their effects on subordinates. Our decision to highlight these behaviors does not imply that other behaviors are not relevant. We have selected categories that seem especially meaningful for understanding leadership effectiveness and that also have sufficient empirical evidence from different types of research to confirm their relevance. The research includes correlational field studies, laboratory and field experiments, case studies, and content analyses of critical incidents.
An important leadership function is to ensure that subordinates know what work they are supposed to do and the expected results of this work. The communication of plans, policies, and role expectations to subordinates is called clarifying or directing. Examples include defining job responsibilities for subordinates, assigning tasks, setting performance goals, authorizing action plans for accomplishing a task or project, and providing instructions in how to do a task.