Contingency Theory

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This inquisitive contemplation brought forth the idea of Contingency theory, and moved the field of leadership theory forward by another drastic step. Developed by Fielder, Contingency theory examines the leader in conjunction with the situation the leader is in. In essence, it argues that effective leadership is contingent upon a match between the leaders style and the work situation. Contingency theory is merely predictive. Why Theory.

Transformational Leadership Theory

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Transformational leadership theory is supported by nearly 30 years of research correlating transformational leadership to positive performance outcomes including individual, group and organizational level variables. Transformational leadership was the first developed and validate theory to emphasis morals and values in leadership. However, research on the theory is primarily based on the multifactor leadership questionnaire, which has produced inconsistent results.

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Why Theory?

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This is where theory comes in. Leadership and organizational theories are constructed and tested by examining not just the successes but also the failures. Good and bad leaders, successful and failing change efforts, all get included in the analysis and the resulting theories spare us from our survivorship bias. Intro to Leadership Theory. Why Theory. A Word on Theories. Trait Theory. Skills Theory. Style Theory. Contingency Theory.

14 Leadership Studies – Quick Overview of Leadership

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14 Fascinating Theories from Leadership Studies. There are dozens of fascinating theories from the field that can help you become a better leader or at the very least offer insights into the reasons why we act the way we do when leading or being led. GREAT MAN THEORY.

Situational Leadership Theory

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If you haven’t noticed it yet, most leadership theories build on the previous one. In the same manner, situational leadership theory builds upon contingency theory. Where contingency theory asserts that certain leaders work best in certain environments because of their leadership style, situational leadership theory argues that any leader can work best in any environment by changing their style accordingly. Intro to Leadership Theory.

A Word on Theory

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All theories are useful lies. Theories are attempts to simplify what is happening in a set of observations. Consider the opposing theories of the earth’s shape: flat or round. However, both theories are still being used. Shipbuilders didn’t need to make any adjustments in designing boats with this new information, so the old theory worked. Today, we know that both theories are incorrect (the earth is actually slightly pear-shaped).

Trait Theory

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The theories that began were also dubbed “Great man” theories since early research focused on the innate qualities of historical leaders such as Lincoln, Napoleon and Ghandi. There are at least five major trait theories, each listing different necessary traits. Trait theory argues that effective leadership isn’t contingent on the situation or the followers, but rather the level to which leaders have certain characteristics. Intro to Leadership Theory.

Servant Leadership Theory

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The magnum opus of Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership is a recent theory of leadership that argues that the most effective leaders are servants of their people. Greenleaf first presented the theory in a 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” Servant leadership is one of the more popular theories of leadership, especially among Christian leaders who vigorously cite Jesus as the penultimate example of servant leadership. Intro to Leadership Theory. Why Theory.

Style Theory

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Style theory differs drastically from trait or skill theories. Instead of focusing on who leaders are, style theories considers what leaders do. At the core of all style theories is the idea that leaders engage in two distinct types of behavior: task behaviors and relationship behaviors. Style theory refers to three main theories or lines of research: the Ohio State University studies, the Michigan University studies and the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid.

Skills Theory

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The skills theory grew from the obvious flaw in the trait approach; traits are relatively fixed. This meant that trait theory was not particularly useful for developing new leaders who lack those traits. Similar to trait theory, skills theories are leader-centric, focused on what characteristics about leaders make them effective. Skills theories are also weak in their predictive ability, failing to explain how a person’s competencies lead to effective leadership.

Intro to Leadership Theory

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Leaders lack an understanding of leadership theory. And because it is easily digestible, leaders continue to gorge themselves on it until there is very little room left for real, solid theory. Most see theory as complex and hard to digest. When leaders think about leadership or organizational theory, they think back to the 400+ page textbook they had to buy in business school. In the coming weeks, I’ll survey the major leadership theories. Trait Theory.

The Best Model of Leadership

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