The Theories of Leadership

The following work is a discussion of the different aspects of organizational leadership and management and theories of leadership. Every organization has to have an effective leadership and management if it is to achieve its set goals. The theories of leadership explore leadership, therefore, providing an understanding of leadership.

Leadership and management are both vital to any organization and work towards the same cause. They, however, are not entirely similar in their roles. While one in mostly involved in designing visions for the organization, the other embarks on the strategies that will see the achievement of the vision.

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Leadership are the individuals in an organization, who influence the employees into the achievement of the organizational vision and goals, for which achievement, strategies are devised and implementation embarked on by the management. Leadership in an organization is more concerned with vision while management is more inclined to achieving the vision. The leaders devise the vision to be achieved by the firm with a certain duration as the leaders make strategies in order to ensure that the vision gets achieved. Leadership is oriented toward anticipating environmental changes while the management, but the management is oriented towards adapting to the change, contrary to taking the initiative.

While management is concerned with filling out the prescribed organization, adopting attitudes and behavior in accordance with the position or level; tending to be more protective of position, knowledge, and information; they may feel that a situation is out of their influence or control, leadership is concerned with building and restructuring the organization; willing to utilize persuasion skills in order to advance ideas and vision of possibilities – regardless of position, Leadership builds systems to support goals, provide direction and empower others; promote collaboration and sharing; concerned with the elimination of performance barriers; coupled with continued growth of team members whereas the management is concerned with segmenting aspects of responsibility; turn indispensable and part of the organizational system; overly concerned with the actions of the team members and the manner in which they do it.

Several questions are brought up by the traits theories of leadership approach: are leaders made or born? And whether leadership is a science or an art. These alternatives, however, are not mutually exclusive. While leadership might be something of an art, it calls for the application of special techniques and skills. A good leader might be made through in- born qualities, though such natural talents require development and encouragement. No one is born with self confidence, but we develop it. Integrity and honesty are a matter of personal choice, while the motivation to be a leader comes from within an individual, and the business knowledge can be acquired. Cognitive ability has gotten its origin from the genes, but it still got to be developed. The determination of good and successful leaders could turn out to be a subjective judgment.

The behavioral theory attempts to relate physical characteristics such as, height and weight, to effective leadership. Majority of these factors relates to situational factors. For instance, a minimum height and weight might be necessary to perform the tasks efficiently in a leadership position, in the military. In business organizations, becoming an effective leader does not call for  such requirements. The theory is very complex. This theory does not focus on the internal or mental state of leaders, but their actions. The theory stipulates that, through practice and observation, people can become effective leaders. It also stipulates that, contrary to close supervision, employee orientation can yield better results.

The leader behavior approach assumes that no behaviors would be universally effective for leaders. Regrettably, consistent relationship between task-oriented and person oriented leader behaviors and effectiveness, has not been demonstrated by empirical research. Like trait theory, this theory never considered situational influences that might mitigate the relationship between leader effectiveness and behaviors.

Leadership contingency theory focuses on certain variables which are related to the environment, and which might determine the leadership style that is best suited for a situation (Bacher 2005). The theory stipulates that there is no leadership style that is best suited for all situations. A number of variables determine success of a leader. These are qualities of the followers, the leadership style and aspects of the situation. This theory was the first to specify the interaction between leaders’ behaviors and traits, and situational factors to influence the effectiveness of leadership. The theory provides a suggestion that the effectiveness of task- and person-oriented leader behavior, is determined by the “favorability” of the situation. Trust and respect of the followers in the leader, in turn, determines favorability.


Leadership is vital in an organization and constitutes a leader and several or many followers. The leader elicits voluntary action from the employees, leading to a goal-oriented purposeful cause towards the organization’s vision. There are different theories of leadership such as the behavioral and contingency theory which emphasis on whether leadership is natural or in-born.

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