OVERCOMING OBSTACLES IN PRACTICE Whether it is by listening to their complaints, encouraging them, or providing counsel, there are many ways a leader can be helpful to their followers. The first challenge in helping people with obstacles is to figure out what the problems are; the second challenge is determining what should be done to solve them. If a leader does this, followers will be more motivated, productive, and satisfied with their work.

Research conducted by House (1971, 1996) on path–goal leadership directly addresses how a leader can assist others in overcoming obstacles that hinder productivity. Path–goal leadership suggests that a leader should choose a style that best fits the needs of individual group members and the work they are doing. The leader should help these individuals define their goals and the paths they wish to take to reach those goals. When obstacles arise, the leader needs to help individuals confront them. This may mean helping them to navigate around the obstacles, or it may mean helping them remove the obstacles. The leader’s job is to help group members reach their goals by directing, guiding, and coaching them along the way.

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