Donny Is My Leader

Donny Is My Leader The Path-Goal Theory states that, “leaders motivate subordinates to achieve high performance by showing them the path to reach valued goals or results. ” In the case study Donny Is My Leader it shows what Donny perceived as motivation was, in fact, demotivating to some of the members of the group thus affecting the productivity as a whole. His autocratic, coercive and often inconsistent leadership style was the deterring factor that influenced the lack of production from the team.
His “break ‘em down to build ‘em up” philosophy minimized some of the effectiveness and productivity of the team thus damaging the entire team structure. An autocratic leader is defined as one who has unlimited authority, power, or influence in any group. Donny’s power was in an unofficial capacity although the group accepted him as their leader. His constant pushing, pulling and prodding was beneficial to some but not all of the team. One day he’s encouraging and comforting and the next day he’s belligerent, inconsiderate, spiteful and coercive.
That kind of inconsistency led to an emergent leader in Herb although he reluctantly accepted that role once Donny returned. Out of all the different powers to have, coercive is the only one with obvious negative connotations. Donny lashed out in several situations both on the track and in the locker room. In one particular incident the narrator characterized his outbursts as “Donny’s wrath”. Every leader has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Donny’s strength as a leader, in large part, comes from his ability to outperform the team, plan a regimen and assume the leadership role although it was not officially his title.

He often slowed down to encourage those who were having trouble completing the two mile run. His actions are in line with the consideration leadership style. Consideration leadership style includes showing concern for subordinates and acting in a friendly supportive manner. Donny routinely left his place at the front to help the slower and more challenged runners. He often encouraged those who fell behind but he wasn’t shy about lashing out if he felt like they were “loafing”. Leadership has its weaknesses too. Donny’s weaknesses were of the coercive nature.
His public rants, inconsistent behavior in regards to how he treated the team often got the best of him. His tirades went on for hours and frequently spilling over into the following day. Aggressiveness is a like a double edged sword. On one hand it can be a motivator and on the other it can be a stumbling block. Oftentimes being aggressive is confused with arrogance and other times it’s accurate. When Donny sensed a challenge to his leadership style he became emotionally unavailable and uncooperative evidenced by his reluctance to call out the particular number of laps as he customarily did.
In my opinion, I think Donny was more of a manager than a leader. Managers are “process oriented and believe that good systems and processes produce good results. ” Donny’s management style was task oriented. He believed in taking certain calculated steps to achieve their goals. In particular, he took that approach with Troy. He instructed Troy to “walk five laps after you’ve run, and then you’ll run with us for four more. ” It’s debatable if you have to be a leader to be a manager or vice versa but Donny was both to a much lesser extent. Although I think he was too emotional and defensive whenever his “authority” was challenged.
The consequences of Donny’s leadership style became evident during his absence. While he was out Herb led the group. Herb assured the group that he would run slow enough for everyone to finish. The difference between Donny and Herb became apparent. Donny was task and time oriented whereas Herb was task oriented and much more pleasant. Herb’s approach immediately made him an emerging leader because each time he led the group the entire group finished the two mile run. When Donny reappeared the group dynamic went back to its original state where some would finish and the others wouldn’t.
Donny did his usual chastising but to no avail. Harry mentioned that he preferred to running under Harry and that’s when Donny’s emotional and defensive side surfaced. Donny thought that the way in which he led the group motivated them to achieve high performance by showing them the path to reach the team’s desired goals. The emergent leadership qualities in Herb immediately challenged Donny’s power and influence although Herb was reluctant to accept his new role. Despite the path-goal theory building upon a motivational theory, path-goal theory does not fully explain how leadership styles affect follower motivation.
Zach Bunn stated that, “The path-goal theory is a contingency theory, in that it predicts how a leader’s style will interact with follower needs and the nature of the task. It argues directive leadership for ambiguous tasks, supportive leadership for repetitive tasks, participative leadership for unclear, autonomous task and achievement-oriented leadership for challenging tasks. ” (Bunn, 2012) My leadership style is one in which I believe everyone is capable of attaining their goals and it’s my job, as their leader, to help them get there.
I would consult with each member as to what their personal goals are and incorporate their goals within the team goals. We would map out the proper steps and begin the regimen. I would pay close attention to the temperament, ability and attitude of each team member by exercising my emotional intelligence while constantly publicly and privately encouraging everyone. I believe in learning how to push everyone in the same direction while keeping them engaged. My negative feedback would not be public. I’ve been taught that in order to get respect, you must give it and constructive criticism goes much further than browbeating and embarrassment.

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