Most theories view leadership as grounded in one or more of the following three perspectives: leadership as a process or relationship, leadership as a combination of traits or personality characteristics, or leadership as certain behaviors or, as they are more commonly referred to, leadership skills. In virtually all of the more dominant theories there exist the notions that, at least to some degree, leadership is a process that involves influence with a group of people toward the realization of goals. I will say on the front end that, in my opinion, leadership is a dynamic and complex process, and that much of what is written these days tends to over-simplify this process.
Leaders are born and not made because…. Early research on leadership was based on the the study of people who were already great leaders. These people were often from the aristocracy, as few from lower classes had the opportunity to lead. This contributed to the notion that leadership had something to do with breeding.Thomas Carlyle…was a Scottish philosopher,satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher during the Victorian era-(period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence for Britain) Carlyle stated that "The history of the world is but the biography of great men", reflecting his belief that heroes shape history through both their personal attributes and divine inspiration.
This theory postulates that people are either born or not born with the qualities that predispose them to success in leadership roles. That is, that certain inherited qualities, such as personality and cognitive ability, are what underlie effective leadership. There have been hundreds of studies to determine the most important leadership traits, and while there is always going to be some disagreement, intelligence, sociability, and drive (aka determination) are consistently cited as key qualities.
In the 1930s, Kurt Lewin developed a framework based on a leader's behavior. He argued that there are three types of leaders:Autocratic leaders make decisions without consulting their teams. This style of leadership is considered appropriate when decisions need to be made quickly, when there's no need for input, and when team agreement isn't necessary for a successful outcome.Democratic leaders allow the team to provide input before making a decision, although the degree of input can vary from leader to leader. This style is important when team agreement matters, but it can be difficult to manage when there are lots of different perspectives and ideas.Laissez-faire leaders don't interfere; they allow people within the team to make many of the decisions. This works well when the team is highly capable, is motivated, and doesn't need close supervision. However, this behavior can arise because the leader is lazy or distracted; and this is where this style of leadership can fail.
Impoverished managementMinimum effort to get the work done. A basically lazy approach that avoids as much work as possible.Authority-complianceStrong focus on task, but with little concern for people. Focus on efficiency, including the elimination of people wherever possible.Country Club managementCare and concern for the people, with a comfortable and friendly environment and collegial style. But a low focus on task may give questionable results.Middle of the road managementA weak balance of focus on both people and the work. Doing enough to get things done, but not pushing the boundaries of what may be possible.Team managementFiring on all cylinders: people are committed to task and leader is committed to people (as well as task).
The leader-member relationship, which is the most important variable in determining the situation's favorablenessThe degree of task structure, which is the second most important input into the favorableness of the situationThe leader's position power obtained through formal authority, which is the third most important dimension of the situation
Theories of leadership
Presented by: Johny A. Prudencio
• Leaders are born and not made
• Great leaders will arise when there is a great need
• This idea also strayed into the mythic domain (ex.
Jesus, Moses, Mohammed and the Buddah, etc.)
• Originally proposed by Thomas Carlyle
• Patriarchal minded
• People are either born or not born with
the qualities that predispose them to success in
• People are born with inherited traits
• Some traits are particularly suited to leadership
• People who make good leaders have the right (or
sufficient) combination of traits
Stogdill (1974) identified the following traits and skills as
critical to leaders.
Adaptable to situations
Alert to social environment
Ambitious and achievement-orientated
Dominant (desire to influence others)
Energetic (high activity level)
Tolerant of stress
Willing to assume responsibility
Diplomatic and tactful
Fluent in speaking
Knowledgeable about group task
Organised (administrative ability)
Leaders could succeed or ‘derail’(McCall and
• Emotional stability and composure: Calm, confident
and predictable, particularly when under stress.
• Admitting error: Owning up to mistakes, rather than
putting energy into covering up.
• Good interpersonal skills: Able to communicate and
persuade others without resort to negative or
• Intellectual breadth: Able to understand a wide
range of areas, rather than having a narrow (and
narrow-minded) area of expertise.
• Leaders can be made, rather than are born
• Successful leadership is based in definable,
• Leadership’ capability can be learned, rather than
• Role Theory
• The Managerial Grid
• People around are expecting a role from their
• Leaders must do their role as well as his/her
• Role conflict can also occur when people have
differing expectations of their leaders. It also
happens when leaders have different ideas about
what they should be doing vs. the expectations that
are put upon them.
The Managerial Grid (Blake and Mouton in the early 1960s)
Middle of the road
Concern for Production (Task)
• Several people deciding together make better
decisions than one person alone
• A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic
decisions, seeks to involve other people in the
< Not participative
to feedback, then
has final decision
Highly participative >
with team as
Full delegation of
decision to team
• The best action of the leader depends on a range of
• Factors that affect situational decisions include
motivation and capability of followers and
relationship between the followers
• Leaders here work on such factors as external
relationships, acquisition of resources, managing
demands on the group and managing the structures
and culture of the group
Yukl (1989) seeks to combine other approaches and
identifies six variables:
• Subordinate effort: the motivation and actual effort
• Subordinate ability and role clarity: followers knowing
what to do and how to do it.
• Organization of the work: the structure of the work and
utilization of resources.
• Cooperation and cohesiveness: of the group in
• Resources and support: the availability of tools,
materials, people, etc.
• External coordination: the need to collaborate with
Tannenbaum and Schmidt (1958) identified three
forces that led to the leader's action:
• The forces in the situation
• The forces in then follower and
• The forces in the leader
• Jay Galbraith (1973) states that:
* there is no one best way to organize
* any way of organizing is not equally effective
• the optimal course of action is contingent
(dependent) upon the internal and external situation
Some important contingencies for companies byJoan
2. Suppliers and distributors
3. Consumer interest groups
4. Customers and competitors
‘Contingency in a nutshell’ (Gareth Morgan Images of
• Organizations are open systems that need careful
management to satisfy and balance internal needs
and to adapt to environmental circumstances
• There is no one best way of organizing. The
appropriate form depends on the kind of task or
environment one is dealing with.
• Management must be concerned, above all else,
with achieving alignments and good fits
Three empirically derived dimensions (Fred Fiedler)
• People are motivated by reward and punishment.
• Transactional leadership is based in contingency, in
that reward or punishment is contingent upon
• Transactional leader often uses management by
• The prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what
their manager tells them to do.
• People will follow a person who inspires them.
• A person with vision and passion can achieve great
• The way to get things done is by injecting
enthusiasm and energy.
• Transformational Leaders are often charismatic, but
are not as narcissistic as pure Charismatic
Leaders, who succeed through a belief in
themselves rather than a belief in others.
Developing the vision
Selling the vision
Finding the way forwards
Leading the charge
Working for a Transformational Leader can be a
wonderful and uplifting experience. They put
passion and energy into everything. They care
about you and want you to succeed.