The paper "Trait Theories and Contingency Theories of Leadership" is a great example of management coursework. Contingency and Trait theories, specifically, have featured in a number of leadership studies (Patterson 2012:4), with most of them focusing on their conception, application, relevance and contemporary applications. However, not much has been unearthed in regards to these topics. There is still a lot more to research about the relevance and validity of contingency and trait theories as so far as management is concerned. Testing the significance of these two theories, thus, forms the basis of this paper.
Besides, this paper seeks to study the various characteristics of both transformational and transactional leadership as some of the common leadership styles. This entails the consideration of their significance, critique, pros and cons. Overview of Contingency Theories and Traits Theories Contingency theory is one of the widely used theories in modern management. It focuses on the immediate situations. Contingency leadership has no predetermined solutions or recommendation for various activities. Every action taken by the manager depends on the immediate happenings. Traits leadership, on the other hand, focuses on the natural abilities or traits of an individual.
The characteristics possessed by an individual such as natural qualities suit an individual for leadership. These two leadership styles are discussed in details in the following section. Contingency Theories of Leadership: Management is a key driver for any organisation. Effective management means organisational success. Poor management, on the other hand, can mean failure to an organisation. For effective management to be fostered and integrated within an organisation, certain levels of leadership skill are necessary. One has to be proficient in leadership styling, Meeting Management, decision making, Problem Solving, planning, internal communications and personal management (Germain 2012:51).
Contingency theories postulate that effective leadership styles and leadership behaviours often depend on the situational factor. The underlying assumption is that leaders are not automatically formed by their leadership characteristics, behaviors or styles, but rather their leadership environment (Fiedler 1972:460). The most important thing is their ability to match leadership skills and styles to the situations they face at work (da Cruz, Nunes, & Pinheiro 2011:7). According to Fiedler (1972) and Hill (1969:48), there are four major situational leadership styles. These include Telling, Selling, Participating, and Delegating styles.
Telling style is more directional it involves telling people to do at different times and situations. Selling involves marketing policies to subjects so that they can adopt and practice them. Participating styles is where both the leader and employers are collectively responsible for activities. Situational factors may include such constructs as leader-member relations, position power, and task structure. As suggested in Fiedler (1972:454), leaders who share good relationships with their clients often have more power and influence than those with a negative relationship with their subject.
On the other hands, tasks that are more explicit, well-organized, and highly structured favor effective leadership compared to assignments that are nebulous, and unstructured (amagata, Yang & Galaskiewicz 2013:265). h Leaders in positions that allow them to hire, fire, punish and reward are also more powerful and influential than those in positions lacking the above capacities (Tyssen, Wald & Spieth 2013:44). Subordinates often fear to cross the lines of such leaders since they might risk losing their jobs and rewards they would have received by doing good.
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