YesterdayMay 31 at 11:10am
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The concept I believe to be consistent with a biblical worldview is connected to the path-goal theory. Northouse (2019) shares the premise of path-goal leadership as motivation. Leaders motivate their followers to achieve a specific goal. There are four primary leadership behaviors associated with the path-goal theory. The first leadership behavior is directive, the second behavior is supportive, the third behavior is participative, and the fourth behavior is achievement-oriented. For this post, the first leadership behavior will be discussed. Leaders who provide specific instructions for their followers to accomplish the assigned task use directive leadership. This leadership behavior style does not leave room for ambiguity. Followers are given explicit instructions and know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when it needs to be completed. Biblically, directive leadership behavior is evidenced throughout scripture. To focus on the Old Testament, Moses is an example of a leader who emphasized directive leadership. Numbers 13:17 shares, “Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land: ‘Go north through the Negev into the hill country….” (New Living Translation, 1996/2015). In this passage, Moses gives the children of Israel explicit instructions on spying out the land they were promised to conquer. He gave twelve men, each representing one of the tribes of Israel, these directions so they could bring back a report about the land of Canaan. Not only did Moses use directive leadership, but it began with the directive leadership of God. In the first verse of the same chapter of Numbers, “The Lord now said to Moses, ‘Send out men to explore the land of Canaan, the land I am giving to the Israelites. Send one leader from each of the twelve ancestral tribes’ (Numbers 13:1-2, New Living Translation, 1996/2015).
Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is centered around the interactions between leaders and followers (Northouse, 2019). A criticism of this theory is the potential divisiveness it causes by separating the workgroups. When workgroups are separated, it can create discrimination and tension between followers. I believe this theory is inconsistent with a biblical worldview due to division. The labeling of an in-group and out-group can foster cliques. Also, this theory does not encourage working in excellence and doing your best. For example, the out-group may not attempt to give more than the bare minimum because they already know they’ve been identified as a part of the out-group. The expectation set by leadership for those in the out-group does not motivate nor inspire followers in that group to give their best effort. James 2 issues warning about prejudice. “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others” (James 2:1, New Living Translation, 1996/2015)? James gives instructions and warning for people not to favor one group or another. Leaders who only support privileged workgroups do not align with a biblical worldview.
Northouse, P. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 9781506362311.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. (Original work
YesterdayMay 31 at 4:17pm
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Regarding the path-goal theory, Northouse (2015) argues it is approach leaders are to discover a leadership style “that best fits the need of followers and the work they are doing” (Northouse, 2015, p. 121). There are three distinct styles Northouse lists: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement orientated, respectively (Northouse, 2015). Regardless of the leadership style, the leader chooses their responsibility in adhering to the path-goal theory is to aid their followers in achieving their goals by “directing, guiding, and coaching them along the way” (Northouse, 2015, p. 122). In their book Leadership in Christian Perspective, Irving and Strauss (2019) support the path-goal theory indicating leaders should be present with their team and resource them. The authors contend:
As goals are clarified and owned by followers, it is in the best interest of the organization as a whole, and leaders and followers alike, for leaders to do everything they can to help followers succeed and flourish in their work” (Irving & Strauss, 2019, pp. 189-190)
In his epistle to the church of Ephesus, the apostle Paul speaks of “equipping the saints for the work of ministry to build up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). Christian leaders can utilize the path-goal theory to accomplish this directive by seeking the best leadership style to help resource and guide those they lead.
In his book Human Side of Enterprise, Douglas McGregor (2006) contends concerning leadership, “… that it is more fruitful to consider leadership as a relationship between the leader and the situation than as a universal pattern of characteristics possessed by certain people” (McGregor & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 2006, p. 253). A theory that closely resembles situational theory and, in part leader-member exchange theory that Northpoint (2015) mentions. However, the latter tends to be more exclusive, limiting to “Followers who are interested in negotiating with the leader what they are willing to do for the group…” (Northouse, 2015, p. 138).
The leader-member exchange theory could potentially create an out-group and an in-group, resulting in a culture of unfairness and discrimination (Northouse, 2015). Christian leaders would be wise to remember that everyone bears the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and offer equal opportunity to anyone who desires to grow and mature in their leadership capabilities. The apostle Paul reminds his readers, “Here there is not Greek, and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:11, ESV). The truth of all humans bearing the image of God, regardless if they believe it or not, can help establish a work environment built on a positive leader-member exchange for everyone and not just a select few (Northouse, 2015).
Irving, J. A., & Strauss, M. L. (2019). Leadership in Christian perspective: Biblical foundations and contemporary practices for servant leaders. Baker Academic, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
McGregor, D., & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, J. (2006). The human side of enterprise (Annotated ed). McGraw-Hill.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Leadership: Theory and practice (Seventh Edition). SAGE Publications, Inc.
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