Learning Objectives

12-1. Compare the four classifications of leadership theories.

All four theories have the same goal of deter-mining what it takes to be an effective leader; however, their focus is different. Trait theorists try to find a list of distinctive characteristics that account for leadership effectiveness. Behavioral theorists try to determine distinctive styles used by effective leaders and the one leadership style that is best in all situations. Situational theorists try to find the appropriate leadership style for various situations and believe that the best leadership style varies from situation to situation. Contemporary theorists try to determine how effective leaders interact with, inspire, and support followers

12-2. Describe leadership trait theory, and explain its inconclusive findings.

Leadership trait theorists attempt to determine a list of distinctive characteristics that account for leadership effectiveness. In more than 70 years and 300 studies, researchers could not find a list of traits that successful leaders possessed, as there were always exceptions as some great leaders did not possess all of the listed traits.

12-3. Discuss the major similarity and difference between two-dimensional leadership styles and the Leadership Grid®.

Both theories use basically the same two dimensions of leadership, although they give them different names. The major difference is that two-dimensional leadership theory has four major leadership styles (high structure/low consideration, high structure/high consideration, low structure/high consideration, low structure/ low consideration), whereas the Leadership Grid® identifies five major leadership styles (impoverished, authority-compliance, country club, middle-of-the-road, and team). Both theories attempt to find the one best leadership style for all situations, but the findings are inclusive as most researches don’t agree that there is one best leadership style.

12-4. State the primary difference between the contingency leadership model and the other four situational leadership models.

With the contingency leadership model, users first determine their preferred leadership style as task or relationship oriented. If their preferred style matches their situation, the leader takes no action. However, it their preferred style doesn’t match the situation, Fiedler recommends changing the situation, not the leadership style. With the leadership continuum model, path-goal model, normative leadership model, and situational leadership model, users analyze the situation based on the model variables and select the appropriate style to use in their given situation. So these models recommend changing the leadership style, not the situation.

12-5. Define the seven contemporary leadership theories.

Leader-member exchange (LMX) leaders create in-groups and out-groups based largely on being similar to them and/or competency. Visionary leaders create an image of the organization in the future that provides direction for setting goals and developing strategic plans. Charismatic leaders inspire loyalty, enthusiasm, and high levels of performance. Transformational leaders bring about continuous learning, innovation, and change. Transactional leadership is a leadership style based on social exchange. Servant leaders focus on helping others by placing their needs ahead of self-interest. Authentic leaders develop open, honest, trusting relationships.