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Leadership Theories and Behaviors

Leadership Theories and Behaviors


examine the leadership theories and behaviors


Leadership Theories and Behaviors

  1. Introduction

By providing its specific goal and relevant leader behavior, the so-called “trait” theory falls into the “managing own personal development” area. When people talk about the “task” theory, which emphasizes accomplishing work and reaching common objectives through the execution of a mission, it matches with “management of self” leader behavior.

This book is specially designed for the use of postgraduate students of the Master of Science Degree in Management. It provides a well-structured and conceptual development on leadership theories and a practical approach on leadership behaviors. By going through this book, it’s believed that the audiences at least will get some new ideas on leadership theories and effective ways in adopting these theories as their leader behaviors.

First of all, managers tend to be more practical and proactive with the adoption of leadership behavior. For example, when they are managing a team, the manager may first identify which theories can be applied to improve his team regarding work performance; then, he will align his management tasks according to the relevant leader behaviors, such as ensuring all team members concern their common objectives and showing respect to their opinions.

The introduction section defines leadership theories and emphasizes the importance of leadership behaviors. In general, leadership theories are divided into four critical main types: behavioral theories, trait theories, contingency theories, and transformational theories. However, on one hand, leadership behaviors are generally concerned with the roles which leaders play in the organizations. On the other hand, these behaviors are critical to organizational success, especially in human resource and project management. Therefore, this book will cover nearly the whole spectrum of leadership theories and behaviors.

1.1. Definition of Leadership Theories

However, the term ‘leadership theories’ is relatively a recent phenomenon and it does not have a single definition. Nowadays, the definition is in the process of being formulated. In fact, the 1990s and 2000s saw multiple of the most important and well-established leadership theories and meta-theories come to the fore. Each of these theories aims to provide an increased understanding of how and why leaders act the way they do and how and why leadership affects group processes and effectiveness. In turn, the various types of theory in the leadership focus on wider stakeholders at various levels, including those that may have no direct access or may be unaware of the leaders and other intra-group processes. By using these theories, there are four different leadership theories that may be involved, such as trait theory, behavioral theory, situational or contingency theory, and also full-range theory.

1.2. Importance of Leadership Behaviors

The trait theory has created many words from researchers to find out what traits are commonly found among leaders. However, many concluded that no simple list of traits has been proven to be more successful in explaining leadership. Also, the trait theory provides few explanations for the underlying causal mechanisms of how the traits lead to the leadership process. It could be due to the incapability of leaders to state precisely which traits they possess and technical difficulties such as low reliability and outdated measures and inappropriate statistical procedures.

Also, for a leader to develop his cognitive abilities, it is possible to bring about changes in cognitive patterns to encompass new experiences and knowledge, which will enable them to learn from the experiences and challenges faced. Cognitive ability can be enhanced and learned through experience-based development and formal education, such as learning aspects of psychological theories, social influence, leadership roots, and management principles. Cognitive ability also helps to assess underlying principles of an organization’s technologies and people.

Cognitive ability is also important for a leader, as many leadership tasks require problem-solving skills and the effective functioning of the leader’s mental processing. Cognitive ability helps in understanding how the subordinates react to certain issues and how the work team members’ coordination is like, and that information can be used to better guide the team to success.

Many empirical researches have been carried out to identify the specific characteristics of great leaders. Some of the traits consistently found in successful leaders include “drive,” “the desire to lead,” “honesty and integrity,” “self-confidence,” “cognitive ability,” and “job-relevant knowledge.” These traits can help ensure that the leader always acts in the best interests of their group, as these traits are associated with the trait of integrity and honesty in the leaders, which is essential for the leader-member relation behavior found by Fiedler’s contingency theory. Such theory suggests that leaders who are trusted and are in good relation with group members are more effective in every situation.

Secondly, different situations need different kinds of leadership. For example, during a crisis or a situation where fast and quick decisions are required, the trait theory, which emphasizes the personal attributes of leaders, may not be as effective as theories that focus on the behaviors of leaders in the particular situation.

One of the limitations of this theory is that it has been found that many different combinations of leadership traits provide effective leadership, which means that people can be a successful leader under different situations. For example, some leaders may be better at providing direction and instructing subordinates to complete a task, while there may also be leaders who can emotionally support and empathize with subordinates when necessary.

Trait theories of leadership are theories that consider personality, social, physical, and intellectual traits to differentiate leaders from non-leaders. This theory assumes that certain traits are best suited to leadership. Leaders born with these traits will rise to leadership more easily than someone who lacks them. It seeks to identify the individual characteristics of leaders.

  1. Trait Theories of Leadership

2.1. Identifying Key Leadership Traits

2.2. Evaluating the Effectiveness of Trait Theories

  1. Behavioral Theories of Leadership

3.1. Understanding Different Leadership Styles

3.2. Analyzing the Impact of Behaviors on Leadership Effectiveness

3.3. Comparing Autocratic and Democratic Leadership Styles

  1. Contingency Theories of Leadership

4.1. Exploring the Contingency Approach to Leadership

4.2. Assessing the Situational Leadership Model

4.3. Understanding the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership

  1. Transformational Leadership

5.1. Defining Transformational Leadership

5.2. Examining the Characteristics of Transformational Leaders

5.3. Analyzing the Impact of Transformational Leadership on Organizations

  1. Transactional Leadership

6.1. Understanding Transactional Leadership

6.2. Exploring the Role of Rewards and Punishments in Transactional Leadership

  1. Authentic Leadership

7.1. Defining Authentic Leadership

7.2. Examining the Importance of Authenticity in Leadership

  1. Servant Leadership

8.1. Understanding the Concept of Servant Leadership

8.2. Analyzing the Role of Servant Leaders in Organizations

  1. Charismatic Leadership

9.1. Defining Charismatic Leadership

9.2. Examining the Characteristics of Charismatic Leaders

9.3. Assessing the Impact of Charismatic Leadership on Followers

  1. Leadership Development and Training

10.1. Identifying the Importance of Leadership Development Programs

10.2. Exploring Different Approaches to Leadership Training

  1. Leadership in Different Contexts

11.1. Examining Leadership in Business Organizations

11.2. Analyzing Leadership in Nonprofit Organizations

11.3. Understanding Leadership in Government and Politics

  1. Conclusion

Leadership Theories and Behaviors

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