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Leadership Theories Essay

Path-Goal: creating a shared, common goal or vision and following through to reach the goal or vision by determining the best path * defines goals, clarifies path, removes obstacles, provides support * designed to explain how leaders can help subordinates along the path to their goals by selecting specific behaviors that are best suited to subordinates’ needs * in theory, it provides a set of assumptions about how various leadership styles interact with characteristics of subordinates and the work setting to affect the motivation of subordinates; in practice, it provides direction about how leaders can help subordinates to accomplish their work in a satisfactory manner * positive features of the path-goal theory

* provides a useful theoretical framework for understanding how various leadership behaviors affect subordinates’ satisfaction and work performance * it attempts to integrate the motivation principles of expectancy theory into a theory of leadership * provides a very practical model – it underscores and highlights the important ways leaders help subordinates * fairly straightforward – an effective leader has to attend to the needs of subordinates * provides a set of general recommendations based on the characteristics of subordinates and tasks for how leaders should act in various situations if they want to be effective; it informs us about when to be directive, supportive, participative, or achievement oriented * leaders should adapt their styles to the situation or to the motivational

* a leader must carefully assess the subordinates and their tasks, and then choose an appropriate leadership style to match those characteristics * needs of their subordinates, as well as utilize not only one of the leadership traits, but a combination of them * Directive Leadership: characterizes a leader who gives subordinates instructions about their task, including what is expected of them, how it is to be done, and the time line for when it should be completed * a directive leader sets clear standards of performance and makes the rules and regulations clear to subordinates * Supportive Leadership: consists of being friendly and approachable as a leader and includes attending to the well-being and human needs of subordinates * leaders using supportive behaviors go out of their way to make work pleasant for subordinates; in addition, supportive leaders treat subordinates as equals and give them respect for their status

* Achievement-Oriented Leadership: characterized by a leader who challenges subordinates to perform work at the highest level possible * The leader establishes a high standard of excellence for subordinates and seeks continuous improvement * In addition to expecting a lot from subordinates, achievement-oriented leaders show a high degree of confidence that subordinates are capable of establishing and accomplishing challenging goals * Subordinate Characteristics: determine how a leader’s behavior is interpreted by subordinates in a given work context * Researchers have focused on subordinate’s needs for affiliation, preferences for structure, desires for control, and self-perceived level of task ability * these characteristics and many others determine the degree to which subordinates find the behavior of a leader an immediate source of satisfaction or instrumental to some future satisfaction

* needs for affiliation – prefer supportive leadership because friendly and concerned leadership is a source of satisfaction * desires for control – path-goal theory suggests that for subordinates with an internal locus of control participative leadership is most satisfying because it allows them to feel in charge of their work and to be an integral part of decision making * subordinates perception of their own ability – as subordinates’ perception of their own abilities and competence goes up, the need for directive leadership goes down

Social Change: change for the common good; individual, group, and societal values are fundamental to change * guides the design of a leadership development program that emphasizes clarification of values, development of self-awareness, ability to trust, capacity to listen and serve others, collaborative work, and change for the common good * basic premise is that values demand a conscious focus, that leadership ought to bring about desirable social change, that leadership is a process and not a position, that all students are potential leaders (principle of inclusiveness), and that service is a powerful vehicle for developing leaders * these premises differentiate this model from earlier theories as it does not focus on the development of leadership skills * includes learning, developing, and implementing core values, the Seven Cs of Social Change, which are required in individual, group, and community leadership * Personal/Individual Values-

* Consciousness of Self: means knowledge of yourself, or simply self-awareness; it is awareness of the values, emotions, attitudes, and beliefs that motivate one to take actions * Congruence: thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty toward others; consistent with their most deeply held beliefs and convictions * Commitment: implies intensity and duration in relation to a person, idea, or activity; requires a significant involvement and investment of self in the object of commitment and in the intended outcomes; it is the energy that drives the collective effort; essential to accomplishing change * Group Values-

* Collaboration: a central value in the model that views leadership as a group process; increases group effectiveness because it capitalizes on the multiple talents and perspectives of each group member, using the power of that diversity to generate creative solutions and actions * Common Purpose: develops when people work with others within a shared set of aims and values; shared aims facilitate group members engagement in collective analyses of the issues and the task to be undertaken; best achieved when all members of the group build and share in the vision * Controversy with Civility: recognizes two fundamental realities of any group effort: first- differences in viewpoint are inevitable and valuable, second- such differences must be aired openly and with respect and courtesy; disagreements bring valuable perspectives and information to the collective group, but eventually need to be resolved * Societal and Community Value

* Citizenship: names the process whereby the self is responsibly connected to the environment and the community; it acknowledges the interdependence of all involved in the leadership effort; recognizes that effective democracy requires individual responsibility as well as individual rights

Situational: involves using different types/styles of leadership at specific times which vary and are determined buy each situation; made of directive and supportive behavior * motivation is key

* basically just changing leadership based on the situation * involves directive and supportive behavior
* Directive Behavior: one way communication; helps group members accomplish goals, includes what is to be done and how it is to be done * Supportive Behavior: two way communication; helps group members feel comfortable about themselves, their coworkers, and the situation

Tranformational: process where leader creates a connection with others to create a positive change * Developmental in nature
* Attentive to the needs of the followers and aids them in reaching their full potential * Moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected of them * About positive change

* a combination of idealized influence, individualized consideration, inspiration motivation, and intellectual stimulation * Pros vs Cons
* Widely studied & accepted
* Involves individuals and followers
* Gives a broad view on leadership
* Might be innate rather than learned
* Might be abused
* Pseudotransformational – leaders who are transformational in a negative way * Uses warped values to negatively lead followers (i.e. Hitler, Bin Laden, etc.)

Ethical: involve virtuous values and morals in all decision-making * ethics is a dimension of all leadership theories
* ethical leadership involves serving others, building community, justice, honesty, and respect
* concept dates back to Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle * comes from Greek word “ethos” which translates to character


Northouse, Peter Guy. Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2010. Print.

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