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Behavioral theories of leadership


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Behavioral theories of leadership

  1. 1. Behavioral Theories of LeadershipBehavioral theories of leadership are classified as such because they focus on the study of specificbehaviors of a leader. For behavioral theorists, a leader behavior is the best predictor of hisleadership influences and as a result, is the best determinant of his or her leadership success.This behavior-focused approach provides real marketing potential, as behaviors can be conditionedin a manner that one can have a specific response to specific stimuli. As a result, we have gone fromthe supposition that leaders are born (Great Man Theory) through to the possibility that we canmeasure your leadership potential (Trait Theory) via psychometrics measurements and then to thepoint that anyone can be made a leader (Behavioral Theories) by teaching them the mostappropriate behavioral response for any given situation. When a few of those situations arecombined; you have a program that you can trademark and market! On a side note: There areexcellent programs available to guide you on your leadership journey, just assure that the programyou chose is complete.There are two important Behavioral studiesOhio State University (1940s)As leadership studies that were aimed at identifying the appropriate traits didnt yield any conclusiveresults, a group of people from Ohio State University developed a list of 150 statements from theirgenerated responses that included 1,800 hundred statements. The list was designed to measurenine different behavioral leadership dimensions. The resulting questionnaire is now well-known asthe LBDQ or the Leaders Behavior Description Questionnaire.As part of the study, the LBDQ was administered to various groups of individuals ranging fromcollege students and their administrators, private companies including military personnel. One of theprimary purposes of the study was to identify common leadership behaviors. After compiling andanalyzing the results, the study led to the conclusion that there were two groups of behaviors thatwere strongly correlated. These were defined as Consideration (People Oriented behavioralLeaders) and Initiating Structure (Task Oriented Leaders).Task oriented leaders
  2. 2. The task concerned leaders are focusing their behaviours on the organizational structure, theoperating procedures (S.O.P.) and they like to keep control. Task-oriented leaders are still concernwith their staff motivation; however its not their main concern. They will favor behaviours that are inline with: Initiating Organizing Clarifying Information GatheringPeople oriented leadersThe people oriented leaders are focusing their behaviours on ensuring that the inner needs of thepeople are satisfied. Thus they will seek to motivate their staff through emphasizing the humanrelation. People oriented leaders still focus on the task and the results; they just achieve themthrough different means. Leaders with a people focus will have behaviours that are in line with: Encouraging Observing Listening Coaching and MentoringUniversity of Michigan (1950s)Lead by the famous organizational psychologist, Dr. Rensis Likert, the leadership studies at theUniversity of Michigan identified three characteristics of effective leadership; two of which werepreviously observed in studies that had been conducted at Ohio State University. The study showedthat task- and relationship-oriented behaviors werent of major significance within the world oforganizational psychology. However it was the third observation that introduced a new concept, oneof participative leadership!Behavioral Theories Managerial/Leadership Grid Role Theory