Leadership Theories

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Melinia Courtney Page 1

Organizational Behavior

2013-02-16

LP7 Assignment: Leadership Theories

Page 2

There have been many studies on the factors that make a great leader. Everybody has their own idea of what makes a great leader. There are several theories of leadership. The three common things among all theories is that there must be a leader and at least one follower, leadership provokes followers to voluntarily act on the leaders behalf, and leadership results in purposeful behavior from the follower.

Trait theory or great man theory assumes that great leaders are born, not made. It states that great leaders will rise when confronted with the appropriate situation. It also states that only a man has this ability. This was studied and researchers had a hard time pinning down the traits that composed a leader. This was not an exact science and did not allow for outside factors to determine the amount of leadership effectiveness.

Skill theory states that learned knowledge and acquired skills are the major factors in creating an effective leader. This theory does allow for inherited traits as a factor in becoming a great leader but argues that learned skills, style, and knowledge are the more important factors. This theory is the catalyst behind leadership training programs that are prevalent in today’s businesses.

Situational theory says that situation determines the style of leader that is needed. It takes the approach that a leader has to adapt to the circumstances that are put in front of them. The leader must be able to determine if they should be a directive or supportive...
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