Leadership Theories

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Running Head: Leadership Theories 1

Leadership Theories

Leadership Models and Theories 2

Leadership Theories
According to Daft (2008, p.20) leadership typically reflects the larger society, and theories have evolved as norms, attitudes, and understandings in the larger world of change. Throughout the centuries leaders have adapted in response to these changes. Northouse (2007, p3) defines leadership as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. A person’s ability to influence others to accomplish an objective and direction are key processes in leadership. There are many great leaders and leadership styles that can be easily discussed. Twenty-first century leadership has developed useful and simplistic ways to determine and exercise their leadership styles on their way to developing and understanding their leadership styles based on the situation and the organization. Leadership is a very dynamic and diverse process, as communicated to readers in Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead (Wren, 1995) clear and concise perspectives on leadership are presented throughout the ages and throughout the world. This literature selection by selection, as introduced by the editor, presents enlightening thoughts on a different aspect of leadership. Over the years many researchers have developed various leadership theories, notably great scholars such as, Plato, Aristotle, Lao-tzu and others. Scholarly researchers like Machiavelli, Tolstoy, Ghandi, and W.E.B. Du Bois discuss the flip to the other side of leadership thought process. These scholars addressed from their perspectives a range of insights into the eternal practice and problems of leadership providing a wide range of insights into the eternal practice and problems of leadership. Leaders of the modern era of leadership such as James MacGregor Burns, John Kotter, and Warren Bennis teamed with great leading practitioners as Max De Pree and Roger B. Smith in their discussion of contemporary Leadership Theories 3 issues in leadership theory and practice. This essay compares and contrasts what has been identified over the last 80 years as possibly the four main generations of leadership theories. The essay’s intent is to further explore the transition; the characteristics and behaviors of successful leaders to the role of followers and the leadership thought and leader impact during two contrasting work environments will be explored. These four leadership theories are: Trait, Behavioral, Contingency, and Transformational. John van Maurik (2001: 2-3) has pointed out, to recognize that none of the four ‘generations’ is mutually exclusive or totally time-bound. Trait Theory

Individual characteristics of leaders are different than those of nonleaders. Early in the trait research process it was perceived that the research lacked significant findings. The insignificant factors included, measurement theory at the time was not highly sophisticated, and very little was known about the psychometric properties of the measures used to operationalize traits. The end result, various studies were used to perform different measures to assess the same construct, which made it very difficult to replicate findings. Behavioral Theory

The Behavioral Theory focuses on how leaders behave. Kurt Lewin (1930) developed a leadership framework based on a leader's decision-making behavior. His argument was that there are three types of leaders: autocratic, democratic, and laissez-fair. It was clearly realized and determined by researchers that leadership behaviors are...
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