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Theories of leadership

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Leadership Theories
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Leadership Theories
All organizations require structured and defined leadership system. Without leadership, nothing significant can happen in a group. Different people in leadership positions exhibit and demonstrate distinct styles. The styles sometimes depend on training, organizational culture, or personality. Due to the observed differences, various scholars gained interest in research and expressed their thoughts about leadership criteria through theories. The Contingency theory is one of the most crucial and influential explanations of leadership. The Contingency theory is in three major parts developed by different people. Among the pieces include the Fielder’s Model, Path-Goal Model (of Robert House, and Situational Approach (of Hersey and Blanchard).
According to Fred Fielder’s Contingency Model, a perfect leadership style that fits all situations does not exist. Instead, the effectiveness of a leader depends on the situation (Lussier & Achua, 2015). Approaches and favorableness of conditions merge to produce effective leadership. Fielder gave situational favorableness another name, which is situational control. Fielder believed that leadership style of an individual is constant and measurable on a scale called “Least-Preferred Co-Worker (LPC).” The criterion asks a person to think about someone he/she enjoyed collaborating within a work environment that can be in training, education, or job. The respondent then rates his/her perception of the subject using various factors and summing the scores.

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If the outcome is high, then the respondent is likely to exhibit relationship-oriented styles. Such high-score leaders manage groups effectively, resolve conflicts before they worsen, and can make complex decisions quickly (Lussier & Achua, 2015). If the summation is low, then the individual mostly depict task-oriented skills. These low-score personalities have low priority for building relationships and can organize groups to accomplish tasks quickly.
After the measurement of leadership qualities, Fielder’s Contingency checks the situational favorableness and considers three factors that include task structure, leader-member relations, and position power. Since leadership qualities are natural, Fielder believes that it is impossible to improve the effectiveness of an individual leader (Lussier & Achua, 2015). The only remedy to enhancing efficiency is replacing another leader with the alternative skills. For instance, if the initial leaders were relationship-oriented and one feels that tasks are delaying, then it is invaluable to find a task-oriented person.
The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Theory of leadership believes that the best tactics to leading are missing and that styles depend on individual situations. The differences in tasks performed in organizations require personalities with distinct leadership styles. Good leaders adapt their methods to the objectives or goals pursued. Education, experience, goal setting, and responsibility-taking are the most critical determinants of successful leaders (Daft, 2015). The Situational Leadership Model survives on two major pillars that encompass style and maturity of the followers. The theory presents or supports four techniques of leadership techniques that involve telling (designated as S-1 and entails issuing instructions), selling (S-2 involves convincing followers to accept ideas), participating (S-3, characterized with sharing decision-making), and delegating (S-4 and requires task assignment).
The Path-goal leadership theory of House Robert argues that the behaviors of leaders have a significant influence on the perception of employees about their expectations between performance and efforts. Leaders assist subordinates in achieving rewards by explaining the paths to the set goals and eliminating obstacles that may compromise performance (Daft, 2015). The elimination of barriers consists of acts such as supplying information, offering support, and availing other resources needed by group members to accomplish assigned tasks. The theory promotes servant leadership that does not view leaders as beholders of power, but as facilitators and coaches to the followers.
The leadership styles championed by Path-goal theory include supportive, directive, achievement-oriented, and participative. According to Northouse (2013), supportive leaders are friendly to the subordinates and concerns over their welfare and needs. The features of supportive leadership make it somewhat similar to people-oriented leadership technique. Greater worker satisfaction is possible if the leader addresses workers’ concerns rapidly and correctly. Directive leaders offer direction, inform followers of employer expectations, establishes performance measurements, and regulates behaviors if workers miss standards. The leaders ensure responsible application punishment and rewards (Northouse, 2013). As such, it is similar to task-oriented leadership style. Achieving greater employee satisfaction is possible through rewards that complement efforts.
A participative leader encourages group work and shares decision-making duties with the juniors. Such personalities consult the workers about every aspect of institutional operations including paths to achieve goals (Daft, 2015). An achievement-oriented leader tends to set challenging goals and motivate workers to pursue peak performance. Leaders applying the style assume that workers are responsible for achieving challenging goals. Northouse (2013) enlightens that the Path-goal theory clarifies that the methods are not exclusive or fixed and leaders can choose to apply two or more strategies suiting specific situations. However, each technique may be useful in particular situations and ineffective in others. The relationship between effectiveness and a style relies on the characteristics of employees and the nature of work environment (Daft, 2015).
The Path-goal and Fielder’s Contingency Model are similar in many ways. Nonetheless, they have distinctive elements. One of the difference is that Fielder’s Model considers a leadership style as fixed and invariable. As such, one can only attain a difference in leadership by changing individual leaders. Path-goal, on the other hand, believes that a person can apply more than one technique depending on the situation. Another difference is that in Fielder’s Contingency Approach, situational factors are task structure, position power, and leader-member relationship while in Path-goal they include employees’ personalities and environmental features.

References
Daft, R. (2015). The Leadership Experience. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
Lussier, R. N., & Achua, C. F. (2015). Leadership. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice. Los Angeles: SAGE.

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