An insight into inspiring leadership theories

CommentsNo Comments

An insight into inspiring leadership theories

Leadership is the art of influencing, motivating, and inspiring people to work toward and achieve a common goal. The roles of a leader include creating tasks, assigning responsibilities, interpersonal influences, and the like. A leader should be intelligent and have a great grip in general problem solving.

There have been numerous studies published and postulated about leadership. These studies have now zeroed in on some theories that influences the effectiveness of leaders. Some of the popular leadership theories are mentioned below.

Behavioral theory
This theory sought to identify individuals based on their behaviors that would lead to their leadership success. Some individuals may demonstrate leadership qualities that are people-oriented and task-oriented. It also helps to identify their decisions that are authoritarian, democratic, or even laissez-faire based.

It is suggested that out of all theories the behavioral theories produced varied results based on different circumstances. It overlooks certain situational factors and environment-based on which the behaviors are demonstrated.

Like every theory, behavioral theory also has some limitations which lead to the development of several other theories.

Trait theory
It emphasizes on traits and qualities of leaders thereby leading to their effectiveness. However, it could not establish specific set of traits that could be common to all leaders. The trait theory also fails to explain the instances where leaders failed despite of possessing the traits that are required to be a leader.

For instance, traits such as confidence and charisma might be a more of leadership qualities, but it does not necessarily mean that these qualities will motivate people to achieve their desired goal.

Transactional leadership theory
This leadership theory is based on is based on system of rewards and punishments that are subjected to the performance of the followers. This leadership is outcome-oriented and is often used for business and transactional leadership.

Transformational leadership
This leadership theory enables leaders to inspire their followers with the help of their vision and personality to change expectations and perceptions and motivates them to work toward common goals. The components of transformational leadership are intellectual stimulation, consideration for individuals, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence.

Charismatic leadership theory
This leadership theory lets the leader command authority by the virtue of his/her charismatic personality and not by his or her formal position. The three main components of charismatic leadership according to this theory is envisioning, empathy, and empowerment. It also states that heroic and extra-ordinary qualities are attributed to charismatic leaders who have idealized goals with a strong commitment.

Contingency theory
This leadership theory states that the effectiveness of the leadership is related to the leader’s traits, behaviors, and other situational factors.

There are many leadership models based on the contingency leadership theory. Some of them are mentioned below:

Fred Fiedler contingency model: This leadership model states that a group performance is based on the leadership style and favorability of the situation. Different kinds of leadership theories work in different situations.

Hersey–Blanchard situational model: It suggests that the leadership style should match the maturity of the subordinates. The leader may adopt styles such as telling (high task–low relationship), selling (high task–high relationship), participating (low task–high relationship), and delegating (low task–low relationship). This model explains that a leader would require to adopt a telling style to communicate to perform a task and delegate when interfacing with people at a higher position.

Path–goal model: This theory suggests that a leader can affect the performance of a group through motivation and factors such as offering rewards on achievement of performance goals, clarifying paths, and removing performance hindering obstacles.

Vroom–Yetton model: This model of contingency leadership theory suggests that leadership style can be chosen by considering a number of factors and variables in the form of questions that forms a decision tree.

The leadership emergence theory
Many leadership theories are based on the leadership emergence theory that suggests that there are several personality character traits that are reliably associated with the leadership emergence. Some of the qualities are mentioned below:

Authenticity: This quality of leadership states that the individuals are aware of their personality traits, values, and beliefs and are remotely biased when processing self-relevant information.

Assertiveness: It states that the assertiveness and leadership have a curvilinear relationship. This means that individuals with a very low or very high assertiveness are capable of leading.

Birth order: This quality suggests that the first born in a family are more driven to seek leadership and control social settings, while the younger ones are more rebellious and creative.

Dominance: People having this trait have high desire to control the environment around them and influence other people. These people are likely to express their opinions and ideas in a forceful way and act as leaders in a small group.

Self-monitoring: Individuals having this quality are more likely to emerge as the leaders of a group that are low self-monitors. They are more likely adapt to their actions to fit the situation. This is because they are more inclined towards their self-enhancement status.

These leadership theories can be applied by individuals for their personal growth and to motivate others to strive for better results in every task.