Articulate the major theories and principles of leadership, conduct analysis, and recommend behavioral change strategies

Leadership Theories and Principles-IAAP. Leadership theories and styles. (2009).

Great Man/Woman Theory: assumes the leader is different from the average person in terms of personality traits such as intelligence, perseverance, and ambition. This theory is based on the following assumptions:

  • People are born with inherited traits
  • Some traits are particularly suited to leadership
  • People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combination of traits

Trait Theory: early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was given to discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders. There is an underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders.


Behavioral Theories: assume that leaders can be made, rather than are born, and successful leadership is based in definable, learnable behavior.These theories do not seek inborn traits – they look at what leaders actually do, and success can be defined in terms of describable actions. The implication here is that leadership capability can be learned. There are two types of behavior exhibited by leaders:

  • Concern for people
  • Concern for production

While a leader can exhibit both types of behavior, early research on the two dimensions indicate that generally, as a leader’s consideration increased, employee turnover and absenteeism declined; and as a leader’s task orientation increased, employee performance rose. But, the findings were sometimes contradictory.


-Blake and Mouton (early 1960’s)


Participative Leadership (Lewin’s leadership styles): assumes that 1) involvement in decision‐making improves the understanding of the issues involved by those who must carry out the decisions; 2) people are more committed to actions where they are involved in the relevant decision‐making; 3) people are less competitive and more collaborative when they are working on joint goals; 4) when people make decisions together, the social commitment to one another is greater and thus increases their commitment to the decision; 5) several people deciding together make better decisions than one person alone.

A Participative Leader, rather than making autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Most participative activity is within the immediate team.


You should also know:

• This approach is also known as consultation, empowerment, joint decision‐making, democratic leadership, Management By Objective (MBO) and power‐sharing.

• Participative Leadership can be a sham when managers ask for opinions and then ignore them. This is likely to lead to cynicism and feelings of betrayal.

Lewin’s Three Participatory Leadership Styles (1939)


• In the autocratic style, the leader makes decisions without consulting with others. In Lewin’s experiments, he found that this caused the greatest discontent.

• An autocratic style works best when:
– there is no need for input on the decision
– where the decision would not change as a result of input

– where the motivation of people to carry out subsequent actions would not be affected whether they were or were not involved in the decision‐making.


• In the democratic style, the leader involves the people in the decision‐making, although the process for the final decision may vary from the leader having the final say to them facilitating consensus in the group.

• Democratic decision‐making is usually appreciated by the people, especially if they have been used to autocratic decisions with which they disagreed.

• Democratic style can be problematic when there are a wide range of opinions and there is no clear way of reaching an equitable final decision.


• The laissez‐faire style minimizes the leader’s involvement in decision‐making.

• Laissez‐faire works best when:
1) people are capable and motivated in making their own decisions

     2) where there is no requirement for a central coordination

Lewin’s Conclusions

These experiments were actually done with groups of children, but were early in the modern era and were consequently highly influential. Lewin discovered:

  • The most effective style was Democratic
  • Excessive autocratic styles led to revolution
  • Laissez‐faire resulted in less coherent work patterns and exertion of less energy than when being actively led

Situational Leadership: assumes that the best action of the leader depends on a range of situational factors. When a decision is needed, an effective leader does not just fall into a single preferred style.  Factors Which Influence Situational Leadership —  and Schmidt (1958) identified three forces that led to the leader’s action:

  • the forces in the situation
  • the forces in the follower
  • the forces in the leader

This recognizes that the leader’s style is highly variable, and even such distant events as a family argument can influence decisions made in the work place.

Contingency Theory: is an organizational theory that claims that there is no best way to organize a corporation, to lead a company, or to make decisions. Instead, the optimal course of action is contingent (dependent) upon the internal and external situation. A contingent leader effectively applies his own style of leadership to the right situation (

Transactional Leadership: assumes people are motivated by reward and punishment. Social systems work best with a clear chain of command. When people have agreed to do a job, a part of the deal is that they cede all authority to their manager and the prime purpose of a subordinate is to do what their manager tells them to do.  Transactional leaders works through creating clear structures:

  • Work requirements are clear
  • Reward structure is clear

Punishments are not always mentioned, but they are also well‐understood and formal systems of discipline are usually in place. The leader negotiates the contract whereby the subordinate is given a salary and other benefits, and the company (and by implication the subordinate’s manager) gets authority over the subordinate. When work is allocated to subordinates, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding). The transactional leader often uses management by exception, working on the principle that if something is operating to defined (and hence expected) performance then it does not need attention. Exceptions to expectation require praise and reward for exceeding expectation, whilst some kind of corrective action is applied for performance below expectations. Some points to consider:

  • The transactional leader often uses management by exception, working on the principle that if something is operating as expected then it does not need attention.
  • In the Leadership vs. Management Spectrum, transactional leadership is very much towards the management end of the scale.
  • Relies strongly on principle of “rational man” and reaction to rewards and punishment.
Transformational Leadership: assumes that people will follow a person who inspires them, a person with vision and passion can achieve great things, the way to get things done is by injecting enthusiasm and energy. The components of Transformational Leadership are Developing the Vision, Selling the Vision, Finding the Way and Leading the Charge.

Develop the vision

Starts with the development of a vision, a view of the future that will excite and convert potential followers. (This vision may be developed by the leader, by the senior team or may emerge from a broad series of discussions. The leader must buy in completely.)

Sell the vision
• Sell the vision immediately and continually
• Create trust

• Rely on personal integrity
Transformational leaders are selling themselves as well as finding the way forward.

Finding the Way

• Path may be clear – others simply need to follow

• Path may need to be explored together
• Direction will not always be known
• Leader guides along the course

Transformational Leaders will accept that there will be failures and blind canyons along the way, as long as they feel progress is being made.

Leading the charge

• Transformational Leaders are always visible
• Will stand up to be counted rather than hide

behind their troops.

• They show by their attitudes and actions how everyone else should behave.

• They make continued efforts to motivate and rally their followers, constantly doing the rounds, listening, soothing and energizing.

• Their unswerving commitment keeps people going, particularly through the darker times when some may question whether the vision

One of the methods the Transformational Leader uses to sustain motivation is in the use of ceremonies, rituals and other cultural symbolism. Small changes get big hurrahs, pumping up their significance as indicators of real progress. (Culture Creators).  Overall, they balance their attention between action that creates progress and the mental state of their followers.

Transactional and Transformational (Burns ‐‐ 1978)

• Transactional leaders engage others in the reciprocal activity of exchanging one thing for another. (participatory/dynamic)

• Transformational leaders examine and search for the needs and motives of others while seeking a higher agenda of needs. (visionary/change agent)

Discussion post week one, Leadership Literacy course. We were to explain how our previous self assessments (StrengthsFinder) described our leadership qualities or strengths, and describe if we thought these assessments focused on traits, skills, styles, or something different. In addition we were to describe our own leadership traits, skills, and styles based on the leadership theories we studied.


Dialogue post week two, Leadership Literacy Course.

  1. Analyze the leadership foci of research emphases on situational, path-goal, and leader-member exchange models
  2. Create situational and contingency models for their current leadership setting.
  3. Discover and analyze new resources for meeting current contingency and situational needs.

Discussion One (Dialogue): In one paragraph each, comment on how the foci for understanding situational, path-goal, and leader-member exchange models challenges or adds to the way you previously thought about leadership in your organization.



Dialogue week three, Leadership Literacy course.

What obstacles do you see at your current workplace for transformational or servant leadership to be successful? What suggestions do you have for how to overcome these obstacles?


Dialogue post week nine, Leadership Literacy:

For Discussion 9-A, please express which of the resources we studied together have been most empowering for your own mission, vision, and values (leadership models in Northouse, followership as discussed by Chaleff, or leadership frames via Bolman and Deal).


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The first two artifacts show detailed knowledge of leadership theories and how I am able to apply them to myself and to my organization.  The third and fourth artifact are  an example of analyzing leadership models to evaluate obstacles, implementation and readiness as well as  addressing developing solutions to obstacles.

Professionally: Studying Leadership has had a profound impact upon my perspective as a leader and a follower. Our materials (Northouse, Chaleff, Bolman and Deal) have been enlightening and relevant. A new understanding of what makes a leader authentic; what it means to be a courageous follower; and how the leadership frameworks need to come together to build a positive and robust organizational structurem and what can potentially happen when they don’t. The tools and concepts have fortified my abilities to lead and follow with purpose.

Personally: As a woman leader/follower in the American workforce, I can relate very well to gender issues. Northouse enlightened me to the fact that I am part of the problem because I am assimilating to the stereo type awarded me versus countering it. Assimilation is a common psychological effect of bias upon people, especially those with low self esteem. When I realized I was assimilating I made a change. Clearly this culture centric paradigm is part of my reality professionally and personally. I understand gender in leadership issues all to well, better than I would like to admit.

In me as a person: In addition to gender in leadership, other culture centric areas Northouse discussed were: Transactional, Transformational, Pseudo transformational, Team Leadership and Ethics in Leadership. I am a big fan of both team leadership and transformational leadership and i have come to realize that I use both in my leadership role. I build strong teams that work effectively together, autonomously and I only need to intervene if there’s an issue or guidance is needed. It’s very “hands-off” and followers are given the responsibility to act on their own. I have learned that I am also a fan of ethics in leadership and follow my core values when leading and making decisions.