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Least-Preferred Coworker Scale: Definition and How Scale Works

Leadership Style: Understanding the Least-Preferred Coworker Scale (LPC)When it comes to leadership, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each leader has their own unique style, which can greatly impact team dynamics and overall success.

One tool that helps us understand leadership styles is the Least-Preferred Coworker Scale (LPC). In this article, we will explore the concept of the LPC, its different leadership styles, and how it affects relationships within a team.

So, let’s dive in and unravel the mysteries of the LPC and its role in effective leadership.

The Least-Preferred Coworker Scale (LPC)

The Least-Preferred Coworker Scale, developed by Fred Fiedler in 1967, aims to measure a person’s leadership style by assessing their opinion of the coworker they like the least. This test asks individuals to rate their least favorite coworker on a scale of 1-8 across different dimensions such as friendliness, cooperativeness, and task-orientedness.

The results can then be analyzed to determine if the person has a relationship-oriented or task-oriented leadership style.

Leadership Style

Leadership style refers to the way a leader approaches their role and interacts with their team. There are two primary leadership styles identified by the LPC: relationship-oriented and task-oriented.

– Relationship-Oriented Leaders: These leaders prioritize building strong relationships within their team, fostering open communication, and creating a positive work environment. They prioritize employee satisfaction and seek to empower their team members to reach their full potential.

Task-Oriented Leaders: On the other hand, task-oriented leaders are focused on achieving specific goals and ensuring tasks are completed efficiently. They place a greater emphasis on processes, deadlines, and outcomes.

While they may not prioritize relationships as much as relationship-oriented leaders, they understand the importance of a functioning team.

LPC Score and Relationship-Oriented Leader

According to the LPC theory, a high LPC score indicates a relationship-oriented leader, while a low LPC score indicates a task-oriented leader. The LPC score is an assessment of how an individual perceives their least-preferred coworker.

If a leader has a high LPC score, it suggests that they have a more positive view of their least-preferred coworker, indicating a relationship-oriented leadership style. These leaders tend to be more concerned with their team’s well-being and are focused on building strong interpersonal connections.

Task-Oriented Leader

On the other hand, leaders with low LPC scores are characterized as task-oriented leaders. They tend to have a more negative view of their least-preferred coworker and prioritize the completion of tasks above all else.

These leaders are goal-oriented, focusing on performance outcomes rather than establishing strong relationships. They often excel in environments that require strict deadlines and defined processes.


Determining your leadership style can greatly impact the success of your team. By understanding the LPC and the different leadership styles it represents, you can adapt your approach to match your team’s needs.

Whether you lean towards being relationship-oriented or task-oriented, providing effective leadership requires striking a balance between achieving goals and fostering healthy team dynamics. So, take some time to reflect on your own leadership style, and consider how it can contribute to a more productive and harmonious work environment.

Attitudes and Evaluation of Management Style

Attitudes towards leadership and the evaluation of a leader’s management style play a crucial role in determining team dynamics and overall performance. Employees’ perceptions of their leaders greatly impact their levels of job satisfaction, engagement, and motivation.

A positive evaluation of a management style can foster a sense of trust and respect among team members, while a negative evaluation can lead to discontentment and hinder productivity. When evaluating a leader’s management style, several factors come into play.

Firstly, the level of transparency and communication is key. Employees appreciate leaders who are open and honest in their decision-making process, sharing information and updates that are relevant to the team.

Additionally, a leader’s ability to empower their team members and delegate tasks effectively is highly regarded. By involving employees in decision-making and giving them autonomy over their work, leaders can foster a sense of ownership and accountability.

Another crucial aspect to consider is how leaders handle conflict and provide feedback. Constructive and timely feedback is highly valued by employees, as it allows them to grow and improve in their roles.

Leaders who approach conflicts with empathy and seek resolutions that are fair and just, rather than resorting to authoritarian or neglectful behaviors, tend to be perceived more positively by their teams. Leadership-Member Relationship, Influence, and Trust

The relationship between a leader and their team members plays a vital role in determining the overall effectiveness of leadership.

A strong leadership-member relationship is built on trust, respect, and effective communication. When team members trust their leader, they are more likely to be receptive to their influence and direction.

Leaders can build trust with their team members through consistent and fair treatment. By establishing an atmosphere of reliability, leaders can demonstrate that they have the team’s best interests at heart.

Effective leaders also make an effort to understand their team members’ needs, strengths, and weaknesses, and tailor their leadership approach accordingly. By taking the time to listen and provide guidance and support, leaders can foster a positive and nurturing environment.

Influence is another crucial factor in leadership-member relationships. Leaders who possess expert knowledge, demonstrate competence, and show genuine care for their team members are more likely to influence and inspire their followers.

By leading by example and setting high standards, leaders can motivate their team members to excel and achieve their goals.

Leadership Style and the Organization’s Needs

To effectively lead a team, leaders must adapt their leadership style to meet the specific needs of their organization. Different organizations may require different leadership approaches based on their unique goals, culture, and structure.

Flexibility in leadership style is essential to ensure the alignment of the leader’s actions with the organization’s needs. Leadership styles can range from autocratic, where the leader makes decisions independently, to participative, where the leader involves team members in decision-making processes.

The autocratic style may be suitable in situations where prompt decision-making and clear hierarchy are essential, such as in emergency response teams or military settings. However, in more collaborative and creative fields, a participative leadership style can encourage innovation, collaboration, and the pooling of diverse ideas.

Effective leaders assess the organization’s needs and capabilities to determine the most appropriate leadership style. They consider factors such as the organization’s mission and vision, the type of industry, the stage of development, and the team’s composition.

By aligning their leadership style with these factors, leaders can create an environment that supports the organization’s growth and success.

Leadership Style and Veteran Workers’ Situational Needs

Leadership style becomes especially crucial when managing veteran workers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. In such cases, leaders must understand and address the situational needs of these workers effectively.

Veteran workers often appreciate leaders who value their expertise and provide guidance without being overbearing. These workers typically prefer leaders who recognize their contributions and allow them a certain level of autonomy in their work.

Leaders who approach veteran workers with respect and view them as valuable assets can foster an environment that encourages these employees to share their knowledge and mentor younger peers. Moreover, leaders must recognize that veteran workers may have specific needs related to career development and work-life balance.

Leaders who prioritize professional growth opportunities and provide flexible working arrangements can effectively engage and retain veteran workers in the long run. By adapting their leadership style to meet the unique needs of veteran workers, leaders can harness their experience and expertise for the benefit of the entire team.

In conclusion, attitudes towards leadership and the evaluation of management style greatly impact team dynamics and overall performance. A positive leadership-member relationship built on trust, influence, and effective communication fosters a productive work environment.

Moreover, effective leaders align their leadership style with the specific needs of their organization and consider the situational needs of veteran workers. By understanding and adapting their approach accordingly, leaders can create a harmonious and successful team.

Leader’s Position and the Leadership-Member Relationship

The position of a leader within an organization significantly impacts the dynamics of the leadership-member relationship. The leader’s position refers to their hierarchical authority and the level of control they have over their team members.

Understanding how a leader’s position affects the relationship with their team is crucial for effective leadership. In organizations with a more hierarchical structure, where leaders have formal authority and decision-making power, the leadership-member relationship may be more defined by top-down communication and compliance.

In such cases, leaders have the final say in decision-making and team members are expected to follow instructions and carry out tasks accordingly. While this approach may work well in certain situations, it can also lead to a lack of employee autonomy and hinder creativity and innovation.

On the other hand, in organizations with a more flat or decentralized structure, where leaders serve as facilitators and collaborators, the leadership-member relationship tends to be more participative and empowering. Leaders in these positions foster open communication, encourage team members to contribute their ideas, and value their input.

This approach can lead to increased engagement and motivation within the team, as employees feel a sense of ownership and buy-in. Power, Authority, and Control in the Team

Power, authority, and control are crucial elements that leaders must navigate skillfully within their teams.

Effective leaders understand that power and authority should be used not for personal gain, but to empower and inspire their team members to achieve collective goals. Power within a team refers to the ability to influence outcomes, make decisions, and control resources.

Leaders who use power responsibly and ethically can create a positive and cooperative team environment. In contrast, leaders who abuse their power may create a hostile work environment, resulting in decreased productivity and employee dissatisfaction.

Authority, on the other hand, is derived from the leader’s position or role within the organization. It provides leaders with the legitimate right to make decisions and enforce their directives.

Leaders with legitimate authority are more likely to gain the respect and cooperation of their team members. However, authority in itself does not guarantee effective leadership.

It is important for leaders to also establish credibility and build trust with their team members. Control, in the context of leadership, refers to the level of oversight and direction leaders exercise over their team’s activities.

While some degree of control is necessary to ensure the team stays on track and meets its objectives, leaders must strike a balance to avoid micromanagement. Excessive control can stifle creativity and innovation within the team, limiting its potential for growth.

Leaders should focus on establishing clear goals and expectations, providing support and guidance, and empowering team members to take ownership of their work and make their own decisions whenever possible.

Leadership Style, Power, and a Weak Position

Leadership style becomes even more critical when a leader finds themselves in a weak position of power or authority. In situations where leaders have limited control or their authority is questioned, their leadership style can greatly impact their ability to influence and guide their team.

In a weak position of power, leaders must rely on their relationship-building skills, empathy, and the trust they have cultivated with their team. A democratic or transformational leadership style can be effective in such circumstances.

By involving team members in decision-making processes and emphasizing collaboration, leaders can gain support, establish a shared vision, and overcome resistance. Leaders in weak positions must also focus on building alliances and seeking support from higher-level management or influential stakeholders.

By gaining the backing and recognition of those in positions of greater authority, leaders can strengthen their position within the organization and increase their ability to effect change. Mandates, Action, and Control in the Team

When leaders find themselves in a weak position, it is imperative that they exercise a different form of control – the ability to influence action and move the team forward despite limitations.

Leaders should focus on effectively communicating their vision and goals, clearly articulating expectations, and providing resources and support to enable their team members to succeed. In situations where leaders have limited control, effective leaders leverage their influence to create a culture of accountability and empower team members to take initiative.

By setting clear expectations and granting autonomy within defined boundaries, leaders can enable their team members to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Furthermore, leaders in weak positions can seek opportunities to collaborate with team members, allowing them to lead specific initiatives or projects.

By delegating responsibilities and sharing control, leaders can tap into the strengths and expertise of their team members, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment. In conclusion, a leader’s position within an organization significantly impacts the dynamics of the leadership-member relationship.

Understanding the role of power, authority, and control is crucial for effective leadership. In situations of weak power positions, leaders must adapt their leadership style to build relationships, influence action, and create a sense of empowerment within their team.

By effectively navigating these challenges, leaders can foster a positive work environment and achieve success despite limitations.

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