Leadership is a process in which one man can influence others to follow him toward a certain organizational mission, goal or vision. As the business world grows and the world becomes more globalized, previous leadership attributes have been reckoned useless. With time, more and more leadership theories have emerged. In the globalized business, leaders’ power has switched from authoritarian to manipulative tactics.
Leader ship theory is a supposition about discerning traits of a particular kind of leader. Theories focus on determining precise eminences that differentiate a leader from a follower.
Currently, there are eight different theories that have emerged for effective leadership in an organization. These have been observed and recorded as the authentic and most used styles in modern businesses.
• The great man theory suggests that leadership qualities and skills are inherited rather acquired. They possess heroic abilities to lead whenever and whomever.
• Trait leadership theory outlines that leaders are born rather than made. There are characteristics attributed to such people, which make them leaders.
• Contingency Leadership theory focuses on a situation that makes someone a leader. This theory states that a leader in a particular situation will not be a leader in another situation.
• Situational Leadership theory says leadership is achieved by the decisions a man makes. It asserts the fact that effective leadership of a leader can be measured using his previous record of decision-making.
• Behavioral leadership theory includes the idea of leaders are born but it focuses mainly on the actions of a leader rather than characteristics. Which means people can become leaders.
• Participative theories say leaders are those who include their subordinates thoughts and suggestions in their decision-making. This ensures loyalty from them and encourages support.
• Relationship theory also known as transformational theory, suggests there should be a connection between a leader and his followers. It is all about inspiration and motivation of followers to perform better at their designated jobs.
• Management theories guide leaders to supervise, organize and form teams to perform a task. Here rewards and punishments are used to convey the right message of how the leaders want a job done.
In the early times, the theories were based on the existing leaders who were considered great in their time. Now there are leadership models structured to guide a man to become an effective leader. The names of the above theories have been changed with the course of time but the key characteristics have remained the same; decision-making, recognition of the skills of team members and ongoing process of encouraging and motivation.
After looking at theories, to define proper leadership it is important to look upon the leadership styles.
Autocratic style is where the leader himself only makes decision without accepting any suggestions from coworkers or employees.
Participative style is when a leader shares the decision-making abilities with the task or group members and promotes participation of all followers.
Leassez-faire style is the worst of all as the group members are left to take decisions on all matters with little or no participation from the team leader.
Narcissistic Leadership is where a leader is egotistic, power hungry and self absorbed. He would do whatever it takes to get the “job” done without considerations for his followers. It is the most style of leadership and can be seen from time to time in many business organizations.
Toxic Leader is the one who cannot lead a team towards completion of a goal and instead escorts them towards disasters and in worst conditions than ever before.
Many organizations now have adopted group leadership rather than individual leadership. In such a leadership not one but a group of leaders provide guidance to team members towards specific goals. This has been seen as an approach to increasing creativity, reducing cost and downsizing.
Leaders who have determination, persistence, positivity and good communication will influence their team members to follow the same attributes. Good leaders use their internal counselor to motivate their followers and lead the organization to success. The emphasis here is that there is no one right leadership theory or style that should be followed definitely. Many managers and leaders are constantly employing parts of all theories that would work with a situation particular to a job. Leadership is an experience where learning is constant.
However, in contrast to popular myths leaders cannot control entire group outcomes. As the group behavior attributes many patterns, it is impossible to pinpoint a problem without effective communication within the group members.
Human behavior has great influence on the type of leadership style to be used by a leader. The best leader is the one who constantly spots change in behavior and understands the reasons for it. As a leader, he has to keep changing his tactics without letting the fundamentals of leadership stray from its path.