Types of leadership theories go way back when people were led by those in power.
Kings would rule over the land and decide the fate of their kingdoms. When
a conflict arose, the ultimate leader would be the king or ruler.
Conflict or war in the early years, brought out leadership abilities of those that took control of the situation. Without a leader, things would have fallen apart.
History shows there are good leaders and bad leaders. But each leader kept things together whether it was for the good of the people or for themselves.
At that time, no one looked at qualities of leadership, people just looked for someone to lead.
Since then, leadership has come a long way. The definition of leadership is where the leader is someone that has influence over others. It can be confusing because there are managers and leaders. Not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers.
Since the 20th century, several theories have developed. I've described the main theories below.
Trait theories are based on qualities of an individual person. It is believed that people are born with certain traits or characteristics that will allow them to lead. There have been studies of what people think are the best leadership traits that an individual needs to lead. Some of the traits or characteristics are:
The trait leadership theories assumes there are certain traits that all leaders need to have whether in a war, a company or in a classroom. Also, one situation might require a leader to have a group of traits that might differ from another situation.
Behavioral theories looked at how leaders behaved which developed into different leadership styles. In essence, they define leadership as learned, not something you're born with. There are four styles:
With behavioral theories, a leader can't just choose one style and use it. The type of work, environment and the people all determine which style can be used. Not every leader can move from one style to another based upon circumstances.
Situational theories lean towards the different styles of leadership. The type of leadership needed changes from situation to situation. Those leaders that could adapt to the different situations were the most sought after people.
Just having different styles of leadership isn't enough. That person must be able to apply the leadership style to the various situations where they can take control and influence the people.
By looking at Hersey and Blanchard's leadership styles you can see that situational leadership follows the same styles as the behavioral theories.
Some of the issues with this model are cultures, beliefs, how people would perform the work and the relationships between leaders and the workers. Other issues depend on whether the leader is male or female. In general, women focus more on relationships and men focus more on tasks.
Management theories are also known as transactional theories. It follows a system of reward and punishment for the work performed by subordinates. If people are successful, they are rewarded with bonuses, prizes, etc. Many businesses use this type of leadership.
Relationship theories are also know as transformational theories. This theory is based on a relationship between the leader and the follower.
The leader wants to motivate everyone to work for the group, not just for themselves. The leader also strives for each individual to reach his or her potential. In the end, the whole group or organization will benefit from everyone's effort.
As you can see, there have been many leadership theories over time.
There is no right or wrong way to lead. Many people use a few aspects of
more than one theory when leading others. Throughout your life, you will
come across many leadership styles.
Everyone still looks to the leaders for problem solving, they have special traits and characteristics and they help point followers in the right direction. Some people seem to be natural born leaders and others can learn to be a leader.
I lean towards the situational leadership theories, because for some people a
conflict or some other situation will kick them in gear and they take control of
things when there seems to be no one leading.
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