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Leadership Theories
Every organization, regardless of its sector or size, needs great leadership in order to be
successful. Effective company processes rely heavily on sound executives. However, being a
good leader isn't something that comes naturally to most people. Many theories that attempt to
explain leadership thus exist. The ideas try to demonstrate leadership, how it works, and how
people can be influential leaders. Further, there are several leadership styles that businesses and
managers can adopt to achieve success.
Theories of leadership explain why and how some individuals rise to leadership
positions. They concentrate on the characteristics and behaviors that people might adopt to
improve their leadership qualities. Several leadership theories exist, but the most dominant
theories are behavioural theory, contingency theory, the great man theory, the management
theory, the participative theory, power theory, and relationship theory (Western Governors
University, 2021). Different people and organizations choose specific theories based on what
they want to achieve and how they want to achieve them.
Behavioral Theory
Behavioural theory is also referred to as style theorythe behavioural leadership theory
based on the traits of leaders (Western Governors University, 2021). The idea further believes
that other leaders can emulate leadership traits. The behavioural theory explains that leaders are
not born successful but can become successful by picking successful behaviours. The approach is
based on the actions that the leader makes (Western Governors University, 2021). Thus, to
determine a successful leader, one considers the motions rather than the qualities of the leader.
The behavioural patterns of the leaders make up the different leadership styles that are
grouped as behavioural leadership (Western Governors University, 2021). Therefore the
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techniques of leadership that arise from behavioural leadership include; task-oriented leadership,
which involves the leader looking at the process and ensuring that workflow is always achieved
(Western Governors University, 2021). People-oriented leadership consists of the leader working
with the people in finding solutions and sorting out issues (Western Governors University,
2021). Other leadership styles that arise from behavioural leadership include country club
leadership, status quo leadership, and dictatorial leadership.
Behavioural leadership is advantageous because behavioural leadership helps leaders to
learn and select what steps they want to take to become the sort of leader they want to be, it is
beneficial (Lussier and Achua, 2015). It enables leaders to be adaptable and flexible in response
to changing situations. It also implies that everyone may be a leader. However, the behavioural
theory has some drawbacks, such that, while it provides for flexibility, it does not precisely
recommend how to respond in specific situations.
Contingency Theory
Contingency theory, often known as situational theory, is a kind of leadership theory that
focuses on the circumstances in which a leader operates. Contingency leadership theory
examines the situational repercussions of a leader's success or failure (Western Governors
University, 2021). The current setting directly influences the effectiveness of a leader. While a
leader's personality plays a role in their success, the context, and scenario in which they find
themselves is the most crucial scenario (Western Governors University, 2021). This notion
considers distinct leadership styles and proposes that competent leaders change their leadership
styles depending on the occasion. It also means that identifying the most appropriate type of
leader for a certain circumstance may be the best choice. Contingency leadership theory is
advantageous since it stipulates that leaders can be influential in every situation they find
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themselves in (Lussier and Achua, 2015). This approach, on the other hand, does not provide
sufficient information on the background of any particular scenario. Although contingency
theory highlights the importance of a given scenario, the psychology of workers or even the
whole company may be overlooked by this approach (Lussier and Achua, 2015). It also might
not devote enough attention to how leadership styles evolve.
Great Man Theory
The great man theory is also sometimes referred to as the trait theory. According to this
notion, good leaders are born (Western Governors University, 2021). They have natural
characteristics and skills that make them exceptional, which cannot be taught or learned.
According to the great man idea, leaders are deserving of their positions because of their unique
characteristics. The trait theory, on the other hand, is highly criticized since it asserts that leaders
either are born or manufactured, and that no work or labour is necessary to achieve leadership
status. There is an implication that physiological and social leaders are predetermined and that
they cannot rise from anywhere but they must be selected (Lussier and Achua, 2015). Most of
the attributes connected with this idea are fundamentally masculine, according to critics, and do
not correspond to the actual psychology of successful leaders.
The Management Theory
Management leadership theory is also known as transactional leadership. The approach
emphasizes the importance of supervision, organizational skills, and group performance. The
theory uses reward and punishment and is most evident in businesses (Western Governors
University, 2021). Workers are rewarded for good work, while those who fail are penalized. The
idea suggests that people do not do things out of goodwill but only to be rewarded.
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The theory is practical as positive reinforcement encourages employees to work harder
(Lussier and Achua, 2015). However, the use of punishment can also decrease the morale in the
organization (Lussier and Achua, 2015). Such a method of leadership is also lazy, as the leader
only rewards and punishes the employees.
The Participative Theory
Participative leadership, also democratic leadership, involves the direct involvement of
employees in making decisions. The leader merely encourages a discussion and considers all
options before deciding on the best course of action (Western Governors University, 2021).
According to this model, the decisions that the team and the company make are jointly made by
everyone, with the leader serving as a guide. This leadership theory is advantageous since the
subjects are more engaged and driven when they make choices. However, participative leaders
appear to be ineffective or superfluous (Lussier and Achua, 2015). Further, participative leaders
do not achieve the best results since they are more concerned with what people desire than the
firm requires.
The Power Theory
Power theory is the use of power and influence by a leader. It examines how positional
and personal power influence leaders' decisions and outcomes. Power leadership poses as
effective since influential leaders appear to be very efficient and get things done quickly
(Western Governors University, 2021). The majority of employees, on the other hand, despise
this type of leadership. They want a leader that works with and supports them rather than over
them (Lussier and Achua, 2015). As a result, power leadership fails to achieve the end aim of
motivating and encouraging people and instead makes them feel dominated.
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The Relationship Theory
In relational leadership theory, leaders who are mainly concerned with their relationships
with people are considered to be effective leaders. The leaders pose as mentors to employees,
and they often set aside time to speak with them and attempt to meet their requirements. Such
leaders are concerned with making work fun and fostering a positive atmosphere (Western
Governors University, 2021). Managers that value relationships often obtain more remarkable
results from their personnel, and thus relationship leadership is the most effective.
Relationship leadership builds employees' faith in their boss and their desire to follow
them. They also benefit from mentorship since it allows them to grow and motivates them to stay
with the company for an extended time (Lussier and Achua, 2015). However, relationship-driven
leaders are less likely to see employees who are causing problems for what they are (Lussier and
Achua, 2015). This means that they are more prone to let personal ties to get in the way of their
job, and they are likely to be directed to place people before production.
Relevance of the Leadership Theories Today
The leadership theories are applied differently to different societies and positions in the
community today. The Norwegian Prime Minister, for example, uses several types of leadership
approaches to achieve desirable results. When he consults his advisors, he uses participative
leadership; and while making decisions about different situations in the country, he uses the
contingency theory of leadership. Thus, the leadership theories guide successful leadership
practices in the country.
The leadership theories also help in achieving better results in organizations or groups. A
recent case of effective leadership in Norway involved the national football team. The
Norwegian football team was performing dismally, and the team captain, Martin, called for a
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meeting in which they brainstormed, and he gave way forward. In such a situation, Martin
employed both behavioral leadership, where he copied behaviors by previous leaders that had
done the same, and participative leadership, where he kick-started a conversation and involved
his teammates in making a decision.

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