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Definition :

Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a

common goal.

Leadership has been described as the process of social influence in which one person can enlist
the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task".
Leadership Theories:
Interest in leadership increased during the early part of the twentieth century. Early leadership
theories focused on what qualities distinguished between leaders and followers, while subsequent
theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill levels. While many
different leadership theories have emerged, most can be classified as one of eight major types:
1. "Great Man" Theories:
Great man theories assume that the capacity for leadership is inherent that great leaders are
born, not made. These theories often portray great leaders as heroic leadership when needed. The
term "Great Man" was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male
quality, especially in terms of military leadership. Learn more about the great man theory of
According to Carlyle, effective leaders are those gifted with divine inspiration and the right

The leaders are born and not made and posses certain traits which were inherited

Great leaders can arise when there is a great need.

2. Trait Theories:
Similar in some ways to "Great Man" theories, trait theories assume that people inherit certain
qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Trait theories often identify
particular personality or behavioral characteristics shared by leaders.
Among the core traits identified are:

Achievement drive: High level of effort, high levels of ambition, energy and initiative

Leadership motivation: an intense desire to lead others to reach shared goals

Honesty and integrity: trustworthy, reliable, and open

Self-confidence: Belief in ones self, ideas, and ability

Cognitive ability: Capable of exercising good judgment, strong analytical abilities, and
conceptually skilled

Knowledge of business: Knowledge of industry and other technical matters

Emotional Maturity: Well adjusted, does not suffer from severe psychological

Others: Creativity and flexibility

3. Contingency Theories:
Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that
might determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for the situation. According to
this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of
variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation.
Fiedlers contingency theory was developed by Fred Fiedler in the late 1960s. He believes the
effectiveness of leadership styles vary depending on the situation.
Fiedler believes that there are two types of the leader, the task oriented one and the people
oriented one.
The elements that would affect the effectiveness of leadership are:
How clearly defined and structured the job scope is
How much positional power the leader has
The relationship between the leaders and the followers
Fiedler believes that the most favourable situation is one that has a clearly defined scope, high
positional power and good relationship between the leaders and the followers.
Fiedler found that task-oriented leaders are more effective in extremely favorable or unfavorable
situations, whereas relationship oriented leaders perform best in situations with intermediate
4. Situational Theories:
Situational theories propose that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational
variables. Different styles of leadership may be more appropriate for certain types of decisionmaking.

Three things are important here:

The relationship between the leaders and followers. If leaders are liked and respected
they are more likely to have the support of others.

The structure of the task. If the task is clearly spelled out as to goals, methods and
standards of performance then it is more likely that leaders will be able to exert influence.

Position power. If an organization or group confers powers on the leader for the purpose of
getting the job done, then this may well increase the influence of the leader.

Hersey and Blanchard (1977) on leadership style and situation

Hersey and Blanchard identified four different leadership styles that could be drawn upon to deal
with contrasting situations:
Telling (high task/low relationship behaviour). This style or approach is characterized by giving
a great deal of direction to subordinates and by giving considerable attention to defining roles
and goals. The style was recommended for dealing with new staff, or where the work was menial
or repetitive, or where things had to be completed within a short time span. Subordinates are
viewed as being unable and unwilling to do a good job.
Selling (high task/high relationship behaviour). Here, while most of the direction is given by the
leader, there is an attempt at encouraging people to buy into the task. Sometimes characterized
as a coaching approach, it is to be used when people are willing and motivated but lack the
required maturity or ability.
Participating (high relationship/low task behaviour). Here decision-making is shared between
leaders and followers the main role of the leader being to facilitate and communicate. It entails
high support and low direction and is used when people are able, but are perhaps unwilling or
insecure (they are of moderate to high maturity (Hersey 1984).
Delegating (low relationship/low task behaviour). The leader still identifies the problem or issue,
but the responsibility for carrying out the response is given to followers. It entails having a high
degree of competence and maturity
5. Behavioral Theories:
Behavioral theories of leadership are based upon the belief that great leaders are made, not born.
Rooted in behaviorism, this leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on mental

qualities or internal states. According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through
teaching and observation.
The four main styles that appear are:

Concern for task. Here leaders emphasize the achievement of concrete objectives. They
look for high levels of productivity, and ways to organize people and activities in order to
meet those objectives.

Concern for people. In this style, leaders look upon their followers as people - their needs,
interests, problems, development and so on. They are not simply units of production or
means to an end.

Directive leadership. This style is characterized by leaders taking decisions for others - and
expecting followers or subordinates to follow instructions.

Participative leadership. Here leaders try to share decision-making with others.

6. Participative Theories:
Participative leadership theories suggest that the ideal leadership style is one that takes the input
of others into account. These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group
members and help group members feel more relevant and committed to the decision-making
process. In participative theories, however, the leader retains the right to allow the input of
Importance of Participative Leadership Style
Finding Future Leaders
The main advantage of participative leadership style is that this technique promotes the
determination and development of potential leaders who are already present in the team. In
simple words, since this style of leadership and management requires all the team members to
participate together for a common purpose, the management can determine which employees can
be future leaders in the same organization. If these hidden talents of the team members are
evident, their leadership qualities can be used for the betterment of that particular individual, as
well as the whole team.
Motivation, Team Spirit, and Employee Productivity
As employees are given the liberty to suggest their views and opinions for deciding on some
specific aspects, it can render motivation to the employees, with the employees thinking that the
management is seriously considering their suggestions as well. And this certainly has a very
positive impact on teamwork and employee performance. In addition, it also contributes to a
good, productive work environment.
All-round Decisions

In other leadership styles, the decision entirely depends on the leader and the management. So,
the chances of the decision being inappropriate and limited in success are more. Whereas,
according to the participative leadership principle, there are many minds which are used in the
decision-making process, and hence the decision is certainly well-thought upon from all angles,
ruling out the possibilities of the decision not being suitable for that situation.
Participative Leadership Style Example
The participative leadership theory can be explained by many different participative leadership
style examples. Both Lewin's and Likert's participative leadership models and theories focus on
the primary aim of getting team members involved in the decision-making procedure. Let us take
one simple example. If in a company, the manager has to decide whether or not to take the
responsibility of a project. Instead of him taking the direct decision, he would approach his team
members and provide them with the requirements of the project. After discussing with the team
members regarding what is required, what they have, and all other essential aspects of the
project; the manager will take the final decision, keeping in mind the views and suggestions of
the team members.
7. Management Theories:
Management theories, also known as transactional theories, focus on the role of supervision,
organization and group performance. These theories base leadership on a system of rewards and
punishments. Managerial theories are often used in business; when employees are successful,
they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished.
Leader-Member Exchange
According to LMX Theory, in most leadership situations not every follower is treated the same
by the leader. Leaders and followers develop dyadic relationships and leaders treat each follower
differently, resulting in two groups of followersan in-group and an out-group.
The in-group consists of a few trusted followers with whom the leader usually establishes a
special higher quality exchange relationship.
The out-group includes the followers with whom the relationship of the leader remains more
8. Relationship Theories:
Relationship theories, also known as transformational theories, focus upon the connections
formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people by
helping group members see the importance and higher good of the task. These leaders are
focused on the performance of group members, but also want each person to fulfill his or her
potential. Leaders with this style often have high ethical and moral standards.

The Components of Transformational Leadership

Bass also suggested that there were four different components of transformational leadership.

Intellectual Stimulation Transformational leaders not only challenge the status quo;
they also encourage creativity among followers. The leader encourages followers to explore
new ways of doing things and new opportunities to learn.


Individualized Consideration Transformational leadership also involves offering

support and encouragement to individual followers. In order to foster supportive
relationships, transformational leaders keep lines of communication open so that followers
feel free to share ideas and so that leaders can offer direct recognition of each followers
unique contributions.


Inspirational Motivation Transformational leaders have a clear vision that they are
able to articulate to followers. These leaders are also able to help followers experience the
same passion and motivation to fulfill these goals.


Idealized Influence The transformational leaders serves as a role model for followers.
Because followers trust and respect the leader, they emulate the leader and internalize his or
her ideals.

References :
B T Basavanthappa ,Nursing Administration; 4th edition; New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers; 2007.