Task Leadership and Relationship Leadership discussion

To me, the interesting development in this (as a step beyond the Trait Model [chapter 2]), is that we are now saying that leadership may not exactly be “who you are” but more “what you do.” Incumbent in this are some important implications for leaders.

Northouse states: “Whenever leadership occurs, the leader is acting out both task and relationship behaviors…” Fred Fielder would disagree, as we will see in chapter five. His feelings are that each leader has one predominant “strength” and there is no way to change that.

Question #1:

Can a leader “learn” these behaviors and apply them when and where needed? Would that leader run the danger of seeming to be two-faced, insincere, and/or wishy-washy? Meaning: One kind of leader to one person; and a totally different kind of leader to another follower.

On page 111, of his book: Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice, Professor Northouse nails it on the head: “In our fast-paced and very diverse society, the challenge for a leader is finding the time and energy to listen to all followers and do what is required to build effective relationships with each of them.” In chapter 7 we will explore Leader-Member Exchange Theory. The problem is that it takes a considerable amount of our scarce managerial resources of “time” to get to know each individual follower. The greater the number of followers you have, and the more diverse the followers are, the more difficult it becomes to really get to know them. And, if you really aren’t a “people-person” to begin with, this becomes exceptionally difficult.

Professor Northouse offers a reference to Blake and Mouton. It provides an interesting visualization of the dichotomy between Task Leadership and Relationship Leadership.

Question #2:

Is this really a theory about the relationship between the leader and the follower, or is it more about the relationship between the leader and the situation? Support your assertion.