Different Styles of Leadership

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1. Great Man Theories

Based on the belief that leaders are exceptional people, born with innate qualities, destined to lead. The use of the term 'man' was intentional since until the latter part of the twentieth-century leadership was thought of as a concept which is primarily male, military and Western. This led to the next school of Trait Theories.

2. Trait Theories

The lists of traits or qualities associated with leadership exist in abundance and continue to be produced. They draw on virtually all the adjectives in the dictionary which describe some positive or virtuous human attribute, from ambition to zest for life.

3. Behaviourist Theories

These concentrate on what leaders actually do rather than on their qualities. Different patterns of behaviour are observed and categorized as ‘styles of leadership’. This area has probably attracted the most attention from practising managers.

4. Situational Leadership

This approach sees leadership as specific to the situation in which it is being exercised. For example, while some situations may require an autocratic style, others may need a more participative approach. It also proposes that there may be differences in required leadership styles at different levels in the same organization.

5. Contingency Theory

This is a refinement of the situational viewpoint and focuses on identifying the situational variables which best predict the most appropriate or effective leadership style to fit the particular circumstances.

6. Transactional Theory

This approach emphasizes the importance of the relationship between leader and followers, focusing on the mutual benefits derived from a form of ‘contract’ through which the leader delivers such things as rewards or recognition in return for the commitment or loyalty of the followers

7. Transformational Theory

The central concept here is change and the role of leadership in envisioning and implementing the transformation of organisational performance.

In addition to these theories, which summarised by R. Bolden, et al. (2003) in their “A Review of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks” there are other theories of leadership such as The Managerial grid model theory, Functional theory, Leader-Member Exchange, Charismatic Leadership, Substitutes Leadership, and so forth. Since these theories are not summarised in work mentioned above, we shall be briefly investigating some of the recent development of the leadership theories. It is often said that since the 1970s, several alternative theoretical frameworks for the study of leadership have been advanced. Among the more important of these the leader-member exchange theory, the substitutes for leadership approach, and the theory of servant leadership are central, and we shall be briefly investigating these three leadership theories.

Leader-Member Exchange: Leader-Member Exchange theory of leadership is one of the essential models for leadership. According to V. R. Krishnan (2005), the Leader-Member Exchange (LMX), theory occupies a unique position among leadership theories because of its focus on the two-way relationship between leader and follower (Krishnan, 2005). He goes on to say that Leader-Member Exchange theory was initially denoted to as VDL (Vertical Dyad Linkage) theory, in which leaders and followers grow two-way relationships and leaders treat individual di?erently, resulting in two groups of followers—an in-group and an out-group. Both have been found to be positively related to follower’s satisfaction, organisational commitment, role clarity, performance ratings given by leaders, and phenomenal performance, and negatively related to role con?ict and turnover intentions (Bauer and Green, 1996). Moreover, there are four states in the development of the LMX theory, i.e., (i) Vertical Dyad Linkage, (ii) Leader-Member Exchange, (iii) Leadership-Making, and (iv) Team-Making.

Servant Leadership Theory: Servant-leadership is a theory of leadership proposed by R. K. Greenleaf in 1970 with advocating that a leader’s primary motivation and role as service to others. According to Greenleaf “the great leader is seen as servant first;” nevertheless, the theory affirms leader should be servants first. L. Spears (1996) defines it as “…A new kind of leadership model – a model which puts serving others as the number one priority. Servant-leadership emphasises increased service to others; a holistic approach to work; promoting a sense of community, and the sharing of power in decision-making” (Spears, 1996).

He goes on to say that, there are at least four central tenets, i.e., service to others, holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of community, and sharing of power in decision-making. Each of these central tenets can derive only from the selflessness motivation that resides within the leader. This foundation is distinctive to servant-leadership. In addition to these four central tenets, there are ten Servant-Leadership attributes such as Listening, Empathy, Healing, Awareness, Persuasion, Conceptualization, Foresight, Stewardship, Commitment to the growth of people, and Building community (Greenleaf, 1996).

Different Styles of Leadership: Beside these a variety of approaches that have developed over the decades, there are specific styles of leadership, which has been developed over the decades. It is often said that leaders who used specific styles according to circumstances that positively affects the organisations (Goleman, 2017). According to Goleman (2017), executives or managers use six leadership styles. 

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Different Styles of Leadership. (2022, Oct 05). Retrieved May 26, 2024 , from

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