Leadership Theories

Free essays 0 Comments



Leadershiptheories are critical since they tend to determine thecharacteristics that are associated with leaders, and this influencesthe success of an organization since the leadership styles that areapplied by leaders emanate from the leadership theories (Zastrow,2010). There are different leadership theories that leaders apply intheir leadership. This report would discuss the different leadershiptheories and propose, which leadership theory emerges as the best andmost accurate.

Transactional/Management Theories

Themanagement theories usually emphasize on the role of organization,supervision, and group performance. According to the managementtheories, leadership is based on a system of reward and punishment.When these theories are applied in an organization, employees arerewarded when they become successful however, when they fail, theybecome punished or reprimanded.


Behavioralleadership theory is usually based on the belief that great leadersare not born, but are made. According to this theory, actions ofleaders matter most instead of their internal states or mentalqualities (Northouse, 2010). This theory postulates that it ispossible for individuals to become leaders through observation andteaching.


Situationaltheory argues that leaders select the best course of action on theground of the situations that face them. According to this theory,distinct leadership styles may be appropriate and applied based onthe decision that is to be made. Therefore, the leadership style thatbecomes applied chiefly varies with the situation that is on theground or facing an organization.


Thistheory assumes that individuals inherit some qualities as well astraits, which make them to become suited in the role of leadership.The trait theory identifies certain personality or behavioralcharacteristics that are shared by leaders. However, this theory hasbeen questioned because it fails to explain why some individuals havecharacteristics associated with leadership, but they do not becomeleaders (Winkler, 2010). Thus, the theory is not elaborative enoughin the explanation of leadership.

GreatMan Theory

Thistheory has an assumption that the ability for a person to become aleader is inherent this is to indicate that great leaders are notmade, but are born. The great man theory depicts leaders as beingmythic and heroic, and individuals are usually destined to leadershipwhen they are needed to become leaders (Winkler, 2010). This theoryhas been challenged because it tends to view leadership as being amale quality only rather than being a quality that can be shared byall especially in military leadership.


Thistheory emphasizes on certain variables associated with theenvironment, which may influence the style of leadership that may bebest-suited according to the situation on focus. According to thecontingency theory, no particular style of leadership can be suitedto work well in all situations. The theory further argues that thesuccess of an organization usually depends on the qualities of thefollowers, the leadership style applied, and the elements of thesituation (Winkler, 2010).


Theparticipative theory postulates that an ideal leadership style is onewhich puts the considerations and inputs of others into account.Leaders who apply this theory encourage the contributions as well asthe participation of group members and make team members feel morecommitted and relevant to the decisions that are made in anorganization. Nevertheless, according to this theory, leaders holdthe right of allowing the input of others in the decision makingprocess (Zastrow, 2010).


Thistheory is also referred to as relationship theory since it emphasizeson the relationship that is created amid the leaders and followers.According to this theory, transformational leaders usually inspireand motivate their followers through acting as role models to thefollowers. This theory argues that transformational leaders focus onthe performance of the followers and desire every member to performaccording to his/her potential. Leaders that follow this theory areassociated with high moral and ethical standards (Nichols, 2008).

Fromthe description and analysis of the above theories, it can be arguedthat transformational theory is the best and most accurate leadershiptheory. This is because the theory focuses on the relationshipbetween the leader and followers. Besides, according to the theory,the leader motivates the followers by acting as a role model.Therefore, through this theory of leadership, a leader is capable ofaccurately showing the appropriate characteristics of leadershipsince he/she follows ethical and moral standards.


Thereare different leadership theories that leaders apply in theirleadership and this determines the success of the leadership. Thedifferent leadership theories include participative theory,transformational theory, situational theory, contingency theory,trait theory, transactional theory, behavioral theory, and great mantheory. These theories are used by leaders in determining the kind ofleadership and the leadership style that they would use. From theanalysis of these different kinds of leadership theories,transformational theory can be considered as the best and mostaccurate leadership theory. This is because transformational theoryproposes that a transformational leader should use ethical and moralstandards in leadership.


Nichols,T. W. (2008). Authentictransformational leadership and implicit leadership theories.Denton: University of North Texas.

Northouse,P. G. (2010). Leadership:Theory and practice.Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Winkler,I. (2010). Contemporaryleadership theories: Enhancing the understanding of the complexity,subjectivity and dynamic of leadership.Berlin: Springer.

Zastrow,K. (2010). Directleadership: The new narrative of everyday leadership.Kbh: Hans Reitzel.