Leadership Theory Paper

Decent Essays
Leadership theory, or the scientific approach to understanding leadership, is a vast group of theories that try to explain what makes, or constitutes a great leader. There are many schools of thought on this subject and many pull from existing psychological theories, like Behavioral Theory, Developmental Theory, Personality Theory and Learning theory (Myers, 2014). There are three main leadership theories: trait theory, which suggests that some are born with certain traits that make them an effective leader, while behavioral theory focuses on how leader behave, while contingency theory addresses how the situation influences leadership.
The traits theory of leadership relies on the assumption that people are endowed with certain qualities or
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This provided an advantage over the traits theory because behaviors can be observed, measured, and taught (Nahavandi, 2014). The behavioral theory of leadership pulls many aspects of its theory from behavior psychology and specifically recounts aspects of the theory of behavior modification, which takes into account the effect of reward and punishment on changing behavior (Myers, 2014). A great example of a leader who was trained to be a leader would be Howard Schultz, who grew up in a Brooklyn housing project, and went on to found Starbucks (Loudenback,…show more content…
The contingency theory of leadership works to predict which style is best in which circumstance, because what may work in one situation, may not work in another. Imagine that as a CEO, Helena always applied a democratic based leadership style, but one day the company was faced with a dilemma that she had to address immediately. Without the ability to consult her employees, Helena has to make a decision, and this will affect the entire company. This would be an example of the contingency theory of leadership, being able to change ones leadership style to suite the situation. The questions regarding what makes a great leader, are they born that way, is there certain behaviors that can be taught, and can one switch from one style of leadership to another, are addressed from multiple perspectives. Three main schools of thought, trait theory, behavioral theory and contingency theory, work to explain the social phenomena of leadership. Though they pull from psychological theories, they each contribute valuable pieces that strives to solve the riddle of what makes or constitutes a great leader. However, this riddle may be far less complex, as John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” (Adams,
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