The paper 'Theories of Leadership' is a wonderful example of a Management Assignment. Organizations have increasingly become interested in the type of leaders that run their operations and the significance of good leadership continues to take center stage for the success of these organizations. In the past, there have been several questions that risen regarding leadership and leaders. What is leadership? Why do we need good leaders? These are some of the questions that are asked. Researchers faced with these questions have sought to find their answers and as a result, have developed different theories that have described the effective leader.
They have discussed those qualities that make one become an effective leader. This paper seeks to investigate and discuss the leader, leadership qualities, and leadership effectiveness by reviewing literature materials and presenting the findings of different leadership theories. Leadership Theories Many theories of leadership have been developed and adopted in many organizations. James MacGregor Burns greatly contributed to the discipline of leadership with his contribution and conceptualization of transforming and transactional leadership, which provided the base for revolutionary thinking regarding the role and the purpose of leadership.
Other researchers like Robert Greenleaf and Bernard Bass also made their contributions. In the following sections, therefore, we discuss some of these theories and adequately analyze the underlying principles that make effective leaders. Leadership has been greatly discussed among the social sciences topics (Bennis, 2007; Bass, 1990). Initially, researchers focused on hereditary characteristics that differentiated leaders from the non-leaders. Therefore, early researchers marked the beginning of the trait paradigm of leadership research. More recent research works have revealed that individual characteristics like demographics, abilities, and skills, as well as personal traits, indicate possession of leadership effectiveness (Judge et al, 2002). Other researchers have disagreed with the trait paradigm (Mann, 1959; Jenkins, 1947) and have prompted scholars to shift attention beyond leader traits.
Scholars now consider how the leader’ s behaviors indicate leadership effectiveness that has led to the emergence of structure and consideration approaches and behavior paradigm of leadership research (Stogdill, 1963). As Derue et al (2011) further note that the influence of leadership behavior paradigm is noticeable across the leadership theories including the views of Fieldler with his contingency model, and the managerial grid as well as the works on transactional and transformational leadership.
According to Judge & Picco (2004), the leadership behavior paradigm did not only provide the basis for a new theory, but the evidence within this line of thought also suggested that leaders are critical indicators of leadership effectiveness. Trait theories of leadership The trait approach has been in existence for a long time having arisen from the “ Great Man” theory. The approach sought to identify the dominant characteristics of successful leaders. Those who implemented this approach believed that it was possible to identify critical leadership traits and isolate them and that those with these traits could then be selected, recruited, and installed into positions of leadership (Bolden et al, 2003). These were some of the first theories that were developed.
As House and Aditya (1997) point out, this approach to leadership identifies physical characteristics as well as psychological traits that make the difference between effective leaders and non-leaders. The authors further assert that a significant proportion of personal characteristics such as physical energy, gender, appearance, and height, which form part of the trait theories, and psychological traits and motives like intelligence, need for power; authoritarianism and need for achievement are personal characteristics that signify possession of leadership capabilities and effectiveness.
While investigating the trait theories, House and Aditya (1997) explain that charismatic leaders exude self-confidence and are motivated to a great extent so that they can attain and assert influence and that they possess strong conviction in the moral righteousness of their beliefs.
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