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Leadership Theory Essay

1336 words - 6 pages

Leadership Theory Mid Term Paper
For this paper I decide to look at four of the leadership theories. The ones I chose are Trait, Contingency, Situational, and Behavioral. I will talk about the definitions of those four theories. Also I will discuss the overviews of the four theories including positives and negativities of each.
Leadership Theories
There is a wide and ever growing variety of theories to explain the concept and practice of leadership; to me leadership is a dynamic and complex process. Per our text book leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes. (Daft, 2011) The theories that ...view middle of the document...

(Daft, 2011)
Behavioral theories leadership is based upon the belief that great leaders are made, not born. This leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on mental qualities or internal states. According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation. (Cherry, 2012)
Trait Theory
The trait model of leadership is based on the characteristics of many leaders both successful and unsuccessful and is used to predict leadership effectiveness. (Daft, 2011) The resulting lists of traits are then compared to those of potential leaders to assess their likelihood of success or failure. Scholars taking the trait approach attempted to identify physiological, demographic, personality, intellective, task-related, and social characteristics with leader emergence and leader effectiveness. (“Trait Theory of Leadership”, 2012) Among the core traits identified are: achievement drive, leadership motivation, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, knowledge of business, emotional maturity, charisma, creativity and flexibility. (“Trait Theory of Leadership”, 2012)
Strengths of Trait Theory include: it’s naturally pleasing, and it gives a detailed knowledge and understanding of the leader element in the leadership process. (“Trait Theory of Leadership”, 2012) There are some limitations of the Trait Theory. They include: subjective judgment in determining who is regarded as a good or successful leader and the list of possible traits tends to be very long. (“Trait Theory of Leadership”, 2012)
Contingency Theory
In contingency theory of leadership, the success of the leader is a function of various contingencies in the form of subordinate, task, and/or group variables. (Daft, 2011) Fiedler’s contingency theory is the earliest and most extensively researched. Fiedler’s approach departs from trait and behavioral models by asserting that group performance is contingent on the leader’s psychological orientation and on three contextual variables: group atmosphere, task structure, and leader’s power position. (“Contingency Theory of Leadership”, 2012) Fielder came up with his approach to leadership after realizing that leaders could function well if they changed their styles to suit the situation at hand. (Smith, 2012) According to Fiedler, leadership style may be defined as the way leaders and employees interact with one another. (Smith, 2012)
It should be noted that Fielder's theory does not cover all the possible factors affecting leadership. Some leaders may be more effective if they undergo training or gain experience on the job. Such factors have not been accounted for by the contingency theory. (Smith, 2012)
Fielder was trying to say that leaders are not just successful or unsuccessful. Leaders can either be effective in certain situations and not all of them. Therefore, all individuals can become leaders if they choose the most appropriate situation to apply their leadership styles....

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