Introduction: The Research Background
Being a leader is not an easy task – to co control a certain group of people and specific organizational processes, be it a multinational corporation with several affiliates all over the world or a school sports team, one has to possess specific features, apply certain theories and create a well thought-out strategy.
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However, a lot of endeavors that have started in a quite inspiring way have been cancelled because of incompetent leadership and inconsistent measures. Therefore, it can be suggested that, to be an efficient leader, one has to combine specific theories and use a mixed approach. With the help of efficient leadership which has been backed up by a bunch of strong theories, one can lead any team to glorious victory.
The topic: leadership theory tested
In the given paper, the consistency of the major existing leadership theories is going to be tested basing on their practical efficacy. Therefore, the paper is going to focus on the reasonability of using a specific leadership theory, as well as the theory’s overall value and applicability.
Concerning the purpose
Since in the present-day world of corporate management, the leadership approach is considered the cornerstone of the company’s success and a number of leadership theories which sometimes prove quite the opposite of each other have been spawned, it is necessary to determine the approaches that truly work. With the right bunch of theories behind one’s back, one can turn any company into a huge corporation.
Picking the right approach
In the given paper, the method of a narrative research is going to be undertaken to analyze the existing types of theories and to evaluate their significance for shaping the leader’s personality.
The research significance
It can be suggested that the given research will help summarize the essence of the most common leadership theories and verify their consistency. In addition, the famous question whether a leader is born or raised is going to be considered once again.
When Theory Meets Practice
However, the role of a theory in leadership must not be underestimated either. Even with a strong leader and a strong team of staff, the company is most likely to lose unless a proper theory or a set of theories is used to polish his/her skills and choose a proper leadership approach.
Great Men theory
One of the most famous and, perhaps, the least challenging of all, the Great Men theory presupposes that certain people are born with a specific set of qualities which allow them to become leaders in future. Indeed, the ability to communicate and inspire (Samson & Daft, 2012) seems an inborn quality.
However, if considering such leader’s traits as the ability to set vision and strategy (Samson & Daft, 2012), one must admit that one can train to become a leader, since communication skills are quite improvable.
Quite close to the Great Men theory, traits theory actually takes the basic premises of the latter and pushes them even further, analyzing the traits of the most famous leaders in the world history to distil the perfect image of an ideal leader.
However, unlike the Great Men theory, the trait theory allows to suggest that the above-mentioned traits can be acquired, which opens new opportunities for the people in charge of projects and organizations.
A logical follow-up to the previous theory, the idea that the efficiency of the leader’s actions depends on his/her behavior is the key concept of the behavioral theory (Lussier & Achua, 2009, 70). Indeed, since one’s actions depend on the kind of a temperament which a person has, it is logical to suggest that the leader’s behavior is the key to the company’s efficiency.
Offering a rather unusual turn in the way the leader’s role is viewed in leadership theories, the participative theory focuses not on the leader’s qualities, but rather on the actions triggered by the leader’s characteristics. Participative theory, unlike other theories of leadership, concerns the relationships between the leader and the company staff, which is rather innovative.
A huge step forward in defining the role of a leader in a company, the management theory allowed to drive the line between management and leadership, making it obvious that the two are quite different concepts.
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It is worth mentioning, however, that the given theory does not seem to help much in identifying the role of a leader – it actually lists the differences between a leader and a manager (Cole, 2003). However, in terms of telling the role of a manager from the one of a leader and specifying the issues which should not concern the leader at all, the management theory is quite useful.
A huge step forward in determining the role of the staff in the leadership process and the process of decision-making, relationships theories make it clear that employees’ role in running the company is just as important as the one of the leader. As Richman puts it, the relationship theory is “directly related to productivity, esprit de corps, and other group dynamics” (Richman, 2006, 23).
Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory
As Samson and Daft explain, the key point of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational theory is the fact that the leader has to make sure that the behavior which (s)he chooses corresponds to the task which (s)he assigns to the employees, as well as to the specified employees’ character traits and peculiarities (Samson & Daft, 2012).
Therefore, the given theory links the behavioral ones and the ones which are staff-oriented, making the leadership style more flexible.
Fiedler’s contingency theory
According to Samson & Daft (2012), the given theory is based on the same concept of establishing strong and trustworthy relationships between the leader and his subordinates. However, there is an important detail that makes Samson and Daft’s theory stand out is the fact that, to offer the best performance possible, a leader has to be both task- and people-oriented.
Substitutes for leadership
However, as Samson and Daft claim, there are instances when there is no need to assign a leader; as the former claim, in case of the staff’s high competency rates, no leader is required (Samson & Daft, 2012). However, the concept of a substitute for leadership does not seem suitable for the entrepreneurships which involve solving multiple tasks and demands proficiency in various fields.
Though the idea that there are situations when no leadership is required seem rather far-fetched, it is still necessary to consider such phenomenon as neutralizers. Presupposing that in certain cases, no leadership is needed, these substitutes allow employees to handle the emerging issues on their own.
Though rather democratic, the given substitute for leadership hardly seems legitimate, since the working process is not controlled and no clear plan for the future actions is provided.
The Role of a Leader, Rediscovered
Though it is generally considered that a leader performs only one role, and that is the one of a person who is in charge of a certain group of people, there are, in fact, several roles which a good leader has to play to make the company prosper.
Encompassing not only the working processes, but also the relationships within the team of staff, as well as planning the further actions, a true leader has to use a specific theory when performing each of these roles.
The power of teamwork
There is no doubt that coordinating the work of the subordinates is one of a leader’s key functions. To deliver the best performance possible, a leader can utilize the trait theory, which can help the leader convince the employees that his/her example is worth following and, therefore, create a strong and well-coordinated team.
Tempest in a teapot: conflicts solving
No matter how sad it sounds, conflicts are an integral part of working in a team. However, if solved in a constructive way, conflicts can be even helpful (Kriesberg, 2007).
Hence, to control the emerging difficulties and make sure that the conflicts among the employees and the managerial are solved in a constructive way, the participation theory should be utilized. With the help of the postulates of the participation theory, the leader will be able not only to evaluate the conflict objectively, but also involve the opponents into the objective discussion.
In search for a guidance
Another essential function of a leader, company guidance and planning of the further actions will require the use of the management theory. While drawing the line between a manager and a leader, the given theory also specifies the means to structure the further work of the employees, which is quite helpful for the company leader (Bach & Ellis, 2011).
Representing the company
When it comes to representing the company, which is also among the key functions of a leader, one must admit that the leader’s personality is just as important as his/her competence and skills.
As a matter of fact, in the first ten minutes, the leader’s personality is the only thing that matters, for the audience is trying to get a general idea of the company judging by what the leader says. Hence, the Great Men theory and the Trait theory factor in the given situation quite well. Knowing the basic characteristics which are usually attributed to leaders, one can easily create an impression of a born leader.
A king in his castle: about control
The last, but definitely not the least, the process of controlling the organization and the employees is the function worth considering. Using the contingency theory, which helps to hit the chord between the employees’ interests and the ones of the company, and utilizing the approach of the behaviorist theory, which allows to set an example for the employees, one can achieve impressive results.
Conclusion: The Winner Takes It All
Judging by the ideas offered above, one can claim with certainty that strong and efficient leadership presupposes that not one, but a number of various leadership theories should be used. Once utilizing a mixed approach and considering the company strategy in correspondence with the situation and its factors, one can reach stunning success in organizational leadership.
In addition, it has been proven that the moods within the team of staff must also be taken into account, since the latter predetermine the working efficiency and the company profit. Therefore, a good leader has to learn to combine numerous theories, which goes way beyond inborn qualities and requires daily training.
Cole, G. A. (2003). Management: Theory and practice. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Bach, S., & Ellis, P. (2011). Leadership, management and team working in nursing. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Kriesberg, L. (2007). Constructive conflicts: From escalation to resolution. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, F. A. (2009). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Richman, L. (2003). Improving your project management skills. New York City, NY: AMACOM.
Samson, D. & Daft, R. L. (2012). Leading in organizations. In Fundamentals of management (4th ed.) Australia: Cengage Learning.