Contingency Theory

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Maybe leadership isn’t about who you are, what skills you have or how you act. Maybe what defines effective leadership is about more than just you. 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. Why 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.

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Transformational Leadership Theory

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Transformational leadership is a relatively new approach to leadership that focuses on how leaders can create valuable and positive change in their followers. James MacGregor Burns first introduced the concepts of transformational leadership when studying political leaders, but this term is now used when studying organizations as well. Burns described two leadership styles: transactional and transformational. Intro to Leadership Theory. Why Theory.

Why Theory?

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That’s why books by celebrity CEOs and leadership gurus are among the best sellers of any list. However, when this is all we consume about leadership, we succumb to survivorship bias. While a celebrity CEO may reveal the 7 secrets he used to climb to the top, how are we to know it works in every situation? This is where theory comes in. Leadership and organizational theories are constructed and tested by examining not just the successes but also the failures.

14 Leadership Studies – Quick Overview of Leadership

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14 Fascinating Theories from Leadership Studies. If you’ve never delved into the field of leadership studies as a businessperson or college student , you really should. GREAT MAN THEORY. That’s the basis behind this early 20th century theory proposed by Thomas Carlyle.

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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Underlying this search was the early recognition of the importance of leadership and the assumption that leadership is rooted in the characteristics that certain individuals possess. So it is natural that the first systematic attempt t study leadership researched the traits of leaders. 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.

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. Unlike many approaches to leadership, which offer suggestions on how top-level leaders can influence and motivate those further down the hierarchy, servant leaders puts its emphasis on collaboration, trust, empathy and ethics. Greenleaf first presented the theory in a 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.”

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. How leaders combine these two behaviors determines their leadership effectiveness. However, style theorists have yet to come to consensus on an optimal style of leadership.

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. The three-skill approach argued that effective leadership required three skills: technical, human and conceptual skills. Why Theory.

Intro to Leadership Theory

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Airport bookstores are crowded with books on leadership, and each one seems to promote a “leadership lack.” On and on the dialogue goes to the point where readers become be confused because the 21 Unassailable Edicts of Leadership are different than the 7 Routines of Really Efficient Leaders. With this in mind, I will admit that I do not believe my “leadership lack” to be the most pressing issue in organizations, just the easiest to fix. Intro to Leadership Theory.