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Defining Leadership

These is What Leadership Theories Focus on

Muna wa Wanjiru asked:

Many leadership theories have been suggested since time immemorial. Early leadership theories focused on the behaviour and qualities of successful leaders where as later theories gave more importance to the role of associates and followers. Some of the leadership theories are as follows:

Great Man Theory; According to Great Man theory, a leader is born and cannot be made. This theory believed that leaders are people who have inborn exceptional qualities and are destined to lead. Here the term “Man” is used since leadership was considered as a concept that would be primarily dominated by males. Great leaders would arise only when there is an urgent need of it. It also suggests that leadership qualities are inherent.

Trait Theory; According to Trait theory, few people are born with qualities that are suited to leaderships. People who transform into good leaders posses right combination of leadership qualities. Through this approach, people with such leadership qualities could be separated and then people with such qualities could be recruited or selected into leadership positions. This approach was commonly used in military and is even today used to recruit candidates for commission.

Contingency Theory; this theory focuses on variables that are related to environment and that would determine which style of leadership is suitable for a particular situation. It says that it is impossible to determine which leadership style will suit best for any situation. Success depends on qualities of followers and other variables.

Situational Theories; this theory suggests that on the basis of situational variable, leaders should choose the course of action. Diverse styles of leadership will me more suitable to make certain types of decisions

Behavioral Theories; this theory believes that great leaders are not born but are made. The prime focus of this theory is on actions of leaders. The focus is not on internal states or mental qualities. This theory believes that people can become leaders through the process of teaching, learning and observation.

Participative Theory; this theory defines ideal leadership style. An ideal leadership style takes into consideration the input of its associates. Such leaders encourage contribution and participation from group members. The leader also has the right to say no to any suggestion of other team member.

Management Theories; this theory gives more importance to the role of organization, supervision and most importantly the group performance. This theory is based on the system of punishment and reward. Managerial theory is often used in many companies. When employee’s performance is very good, he or she is given a reward. If the employee’s performance decreases below a certain level, he or she is punished.

Relationship Theory; This theory also called Transformational theory focuses on the connections that are formed between followers and leaders. These leaders inspire and motivate people. They also help group members in case of any difficulty. Such leaders   focus on performance of of members of group. These leaders have high moral values.

Path Goal Theory; this theory focuses on what leaders should do to motivate and inspire people so that the employees can perform well.

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