The Advantages of the Achievement-Oriented Leadership Style

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are a wide range of professional leadership styles that can steer a team to success in the workplace. Achievement-oriented leadership can help increase productivity while fostering collaboration and teamwork. Learning about this leadership style and how it works might help you decide whether it could be a good fit for your team. In this article, we define achievement-oriented leadership, discuss its similarities and differences to some other leadership styles, list some of its benefits, and explain how to implement it successfully.

What is achievement-oriented leadership?

Achievement-oriented leadership (AOL) is a leadership style that focuses on the shared goals of the team. An achievement-oriented leader prioritizes fulfilment of team objectives and uses overall results to gauge success. Collaboration and teamwork play key roles in this leadership strategy.

Leaders most often use AOL in situations where all team roles have a similar focus, such as with a team of professionals working together on a project. The team leader works with team members to identify the group's goals and develops a plan to achieve those objectives. It is also the team leader's job to make sure the team has the resources and expertise necessary to execute their plan. For AOL to be effective, it's important for the leader to have confidence in their team's abilities.

Why focus on results?

The focus on results is not just about making sure to meet obligations. It's also about creating a workplace atmosphere that is conducive to professional development and a sense of purpose among employees. Focusing on results shows your team members that you trust them. Keeping sight of a goal also helps maintain motivation and prevent fatigue, burnout or disinterest.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication and How Can You Use It in the Workplace

What other leadership styles are there?

To fully understand AOL, it can be helpful to compare it with other leadership styles. Some related leadership styles include:

Directive leadership

Directive leadership involves direct supervision of employees. The leader typically makes decisions independently of their team and delegates tasks. This leadership style is more authoritative and much less collaborative than AOL. Directive leadership can work well in situations where it's important to maintain a hierarchy, for example in military settings. In modern corporate settings, it's rarely the preferred approach because current attitudes favour employee empowerment and a flatter organizational structure.

Supportive leadership

Supportive leadership focuses on employee satisfaction. A supportive leader provides encouragement to team members and helps them build confidence and overcome challenges. Empathy and trust are key to the success of a supportive leadership strategy. Supportive leadership is similar to AOL in its focus on collaboration and employee input, but it tends to prioritize team morale and professional development over measurable results.

Supportive leadership is most often used in situations where the work is ongoing rather than project based. The leader's main objective is to act as a mentor, helping employees develop their skills to the point that they're able to work autonomously. Due to the nature of supportive leadership, the leader may spend more time with some employees than with others.

Participative leadership

With the participative style of leadership, the leader uses employee feedback to inform decisions. Like the achievement-oriented and supportive leadership styles, this is a team- focused approach. While a participative leader incorporates employee input when making decisions, they may still take a more authoritative approach to task delegation and supervision.

Participative leadership can encourage employee engagement and job satisfaction, but this does not necessarily work in every situation. With larger teams, or in situations that require quick decisions or decisions that require a high level of expertise, it may not be practical or feasible to incorporate employee input during the decision-making process. Additionally, there can be a risk for a situation of employee dissatisfaction to result from gaps in expectations or differing viewpoints.

Shared similarities

AOL incorporates some principles from the directive, supportive, and participative leadership styles. As with directive leadership, a level of authority rests with the leader. Although an achievement-oriented leader tends to use a less direct approach to employee oversight, they make key decisions for the team and ensure that the group meets their objectives.

Like participative and supportive leadership, AOL focuses on a human connection. These three styles of leadership all promote teamwork and collaboration.

What are the advantages of AOL?

The achievement-oriented style of leadership offers several advantages. Here are some examples:

Increased productivity

Due to the focus on results, AOL can increase productivity levels. By defining goals rather than simply assigning tasks or directing activities, an achievement-oriented leader motivates their team to accomplish objectives. This can contribute to more effective teamwork and time management.

Better customer satisfaction

When the team's goals involve client deliverables, AOL can be a great way to ensure client satisfaction. With team members working together to achieve the best outcome, the priority becomes experience or product quality. Higher customer satisfaction can lead to repeat business and referrals.

Related: What Is Customer Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?

More innovation

AOL can encourage creative ideas and the development of new ways of working by empowering employees with opportunities to develop their own strategies to accomplish goals. By taking the emphasis off supervision and placing it instead on end results, an achievement- oriented leader provides their team with the necessary freedom to foster innovation. This can result in greater efficiency and lead to the development of improved procedures.

Higher levels of collaboration

When working toward a common goal, team members are more likely to cooperate and exchange ideas. An achievement-oriented leader supports teamwork and encourages trust among team members. Collaboration can help improve the overall quality of deliverables by incorporating diverse talents and expertise.

Improved employee morale

With AOL, employees know that they are part of a team. They experience a sense of comradery in working toward and eventually achieving a shared goal. A leader can further improve morale by letting each team member know that they play an important role and that their work is valuable.

Better time management

By focusing on goals or results, an achievement-oriented leader can allocate and re-allocate staff resources as required to meet task deadlines. Rather than assigning each team member a particular responsibility, an achievement-oriented leader encourages employees to help with different tasks as required to accomplish the team's objective. This can result in improved time management because it eliminates idle time for team members who finish their tasks quickly.

Related: Time Management Skills: Examples and Definitions

Increased motivation

The improved employee morale and sense of belonging that comes with teamwork can contribute to higher levels of motivation. The team relationship may also encourage individuals to work harder due to feeling a sense of commitment to their teammates. Motivation can also come from the social interaction involved in teamwork.

Related: How to Motivate Employees

Enhanced levels of trust

Working in a group toward a shared goal can build trust. An effective leader can enhance trust building by participating actively as a team member and encouraging employees to contribute as well. The leader can also act as a mediator to help team members who may have different viewpoints find a compromise.

How to implement AOL in your organization

Here are some steps to consider when implementing an achievement-oriented style of leadership in your organization:

1. Consider your team structure. AOL is easiest to implement when starting with a smaller team. You may consider breaking up larger groups or starting with a small team and scaling up.
2. Communicate your goals clearly. It's important to ensure that all team members understand the group's goals. Once everyone is clear on objectives, they can work in a self-directed manner, checking in or collaborating when it's useful to do so.
3. Show respect. As an achievement-oriented leader, it's important that you are honest about your expectations while also making it clear that you value each team member's contribution and input.
4. Focus on personal connections. Personal interactions help build positive and trusting relationships with your team members. These personal connections help improve employee morale, job satisfaction, and loyalty.
5. Follow up with team members. Checking with your team members on a regular basis can help you track the status of tasks or projects. You can use a slightly more formal approach like a daily or weekly update meeting or simply make a point of having a conversation with each of your team members on a regular basis.
6. Reward employees for their good work. Recognition, whether through financial incentives or verbal praise, helps motivate employees. It lets them know that you appreciate their contribution and value them as a member of the team.

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