The Behavioural Theory For Leadership

Most definitions of Leadership reflect the assumption that leaders will influence, motivate, empower their employees to complete tasks to achieve the same end goal. The trait theory suggests that people are born with different traits and some of these traits are better suited to leadership. It is suggested that people who are ambitious, confident, organised, decisive, dependable and trustworthy would make good leaders.The behavioural theory argue that leadership can be learnt through good teaching and observation and that in fact people are not born a leader, the skills that they have are through learning and ones that have been developed.

This I believe to be quite a common trait within the health and social care setting, as I truly believe that the better leaders are people that have started at the bottom and worked their way up through the management structure and therefore learning along the way. The situational theory suggests that not one leadership theory can be applied to every situation and that the leadership approach needs to be adopted dependant on the situation or task.

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Depending on the situation the leader would choice a different style of leader, which can fall into 5 leadership styles, Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Charismatic, Democratic and Laissez faire. I used these leadership styles a lot within my job role, dependant on the team that I am managing my leadership style would change. The definition for management reflects the assumption that managers have the key responsibility for employees and the work that they will do. This will include performance related issues, health and safety tasks, assessments and writing reports to name a few.

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Scientific Management theory states that it is used by ‘standardising, specifying and measuring works task’ (F.W.TAYOR 1911), its aim is to improve efficiency and productivity, this would work in an industrial setting i.e. a factory production however within a care setting it can make workers become very institutionalised and not very person centred and therefore would not be recommend. Bureaucratic Management theory is about considering the success of its management and that senior managers have the authority to control managers or staff in the lower positions. Some elements of this theory are relevant for a care setting as certain decisions do need to come from a higher manager, however if you remain with a hierarchy in the organisation, managers will become distant from other employees and become very impersonal which is not a good within a care setting as it is a people focused setting.Contingency management theory is very similar to the situational leadership theory whereasthe managers needs to adopt different approaches and styles of management dependant onthe situation that arises. I believe that this is the best style of management to adopt in a caresetting.

The behavioural theory for leadership can be applied to the work place setting through good leadership and mentorship from the person’s manger. For example, if I look at my own carer progression this has all been learnt through the 14 years that I have worked in a care setting. Throughout this time, I have had good managers who have encouraged me to develop my skills, by setting me tasks outside of my job role so that I can develop up through the organisation. I have accessed different training throughout this time, but mostly all the skills and attributes that I have to offer as a leader have been learnt on the job by the people who have lead me, which is what is clearly outlined as a Behavioural theory. The situational theory of leadership and Contingency management theory are very similarand focused on changing your style of leadership or management dependant on thesituation that arises. This I believe is vital with the care setting. An example of this would be,I manage a team leader who is very new to the role, I would therefore need to support thisteam leader a lot more then I would a team leader that has been in post for a while. It wouldmean that I would probably adopt an Autocratic/Bureaucratic leadership style to start offwith, as I would need to give a lot of guidance and direction on what needs to be done andhow to do it. However, over time with good mentorship, my style would change and workmore towards a democratic style, to influence and motivate the team leader to be able tomake decisions and hopefully ending up with a Laissez faire style which would give the teamleader more responsibility to make decision and problem solve, with low level managementfrom myself.

By leading my team using the above theory it helps to instil good leadershipstyle and management skills within them. I believe that you are only as good as your leader. The Bureaucratic management theory is not a theory that I would use on a day to day basisas I mentioned before it is a very impersonal approach, however there may be times that the level of hierarchy needs to be present. For example, when you are performance managing a staff member, this will always start with a team leader meeting with the staff member and managing on a low level, setting objectives for the staff member to work toward. However, if the staff member doesn’t improve then through the performance process, higher level managers must be involved, which would include myself. It could also mean that my area manager and Human resources are involved if for example performance management went to hearing for the staff member to be dismissed.I do believe that for the most effective leader and management within the care setting thatseveral theories need to be used and not one theory can apply to all situations.1:3 The values and the cultural context of an organisation set the standards for the employees to achieve, it is the basis of what the organisation sets out to achieve. Within my organisation, we have five values and behaviours which we expect all staff to have or be working towards.

These values are person centred values, which are:

  • Whole Hearted - We aim for staff to be friendly, kind and compassionate and person centred.Support individuals to get the best out of their lives, creating a positive and supportive environment and supporting people to make choices.
  • Solution seeking – we aim for staff to be able to solve problems, be resilient and try again if it doesn’t work out first time, good planning to find a way forward and always to set high standards and strive to meet theses.
  • Adventurous - support individuals to take considered risks, having a can-do approach to try new things and pushes for change to make things better.
  • Connecting – working with all types of different people and is seen as a team player, good atconnecting people internally and externally. Spotting opportunities for growth within the business.
  • Creative – a staff member that is creative and comes up with new ideas to solve problems, thinks outside the box and can bring a different perspective on how to do things differently.

These values are worked towards firstly through the recruitment process, are interview questions are set around these values and therefore helps to determine whether the candidate would fit within the organisation. After the recruitment process these values are worked towards through induction and probation. Our focus as an organisation is to support people to live the lives they wish to lead, which means having a person-centred approach. The main leadership theory that used to ensure that staff follow the values and behaviours of the organisation would be Transformational theory. This is focused on the performance of the team and motivating and inspiring your team to work to their full potential. By using this theory especially through induction and probation it will ensure that the staff member knows what standards are expected and how to achieve them.The contingency theory would also be used in this situation, dependant on the skills and qualities of the staff member my approach and style of management would be adapted.

The roles of a leader and a manager differ however there are several roles that both a leader and a manager have in common which can be seen below. There are a lot of common attributes that both a manager and leader needs to have to be successful. If you take communication for example this is integral attribute that everyone needs within a care setting, as a support worker you need to have good communication skills so that you can work as a team, communicate with service users, families, health care professionals etc. This is also true for a team leader or a manager but also for managing directors, CEO’s, communication should be the most common skill that all levels within the care setting need to have.Role model is also a common attribute that both a manager and leader need to have, the manager needs to be a role model for the team leader and the team leader needs to be a role model for the staff. Again, this can be said for all levels of management within the care setting, you are only as good as the role model above you.Although there are clear differences between the skills that a leader and a manager have, a manager will also need to have the skills of a leader and the leader of a manager to ensure that person centred care is delivered at all times.

The necessary skills that are needed to be an effective leader are:

  • Empowerment – you need to have empowerment as a leader so that staff will feel empowered to achieve the same goals and objectives that are set for the individuals being supported, families, organisation.
  • Trust- You need to have trust from your staff, so that they feel supported in their job role and you also need to feel as a leader that you are trusted to do your job otherwise you will feel disconnected and under-valued.
  • Direction – as a leader you need to be able to give direction to staff, so they are aware oftheir roles and responsibilities but also taking direction from your manager.
  • Transformation – a good leader will be able to transform a team where needed to lead them towards the same goals and objectives. This can be done within supervisions, team meetingand appraisals.
  • Inspiration – a leader needs to be inspirational, someone who the staff will look to forinspiration, new ideas, possible changes. If you inspire the team with these then it will helpthe team be on board with making these changes.
  • Motivation – A leader needs to be motivational, this will encourage the team to strive and do their jobs well.
  • Innovation- Leaders need to innovative, as they are the people that can adopt change andensure that staff will too.·
  • Creativity – leaders need to be creative, always thinking about news ways of working, ifthings can be changed for the better for the individuals supported.

The necessary skills that are needed to be an effective manager are:

  • Formal supervision – an effective manager needs to be able to supervise effectively. Thiscan be on an informal level but at times this can be formal.
  • Delegation – a effective manager has the skills to delegate certain areas of responsibility toteam leaders and remain to have the authority to get things done.
  • Performance - a manager must be able to performance manage their staff team effectively.Ensuring that any performance issues are addressed within a timely manner but also that· good performance is also credited.
  • Planning - a manger must have a goal or target for the team to achieve, within this will comegood planning and possibly delegation of tasks.
  • Accountability - A registered manager is held accountable for everything that happens withthe services. They overall responsibility to ensure that all the relevant paperwork is in placewhere it is needed.
  • Finance - A manager has responsibility for the budgets for the services and therefore needto understand the financial implications on the budgets.
  • Monitoring and evaluation - A manager needs to ensure that there is effective monitoring and evaluation for things that have happen, but also monitoring of paperwork. For example,ensuring that all support plans and risk assessments have been regularly review.
  • Control – a manager needs to remain in control of the service that they manage. But controldoesn’t mean that you should do everything, it means you will know what is going on butcould be from afar.

Team working and team building-a manager needs to have the skills to build a team thatwork well together. This will be done through mentorship and supervision. However, I dobelieve that personalities of a team have a huge part to play and can have a big impact onteam working and building.·

As mentioned earlier, I do believe that the skills to be an effective leader and manageroverlap and it different situations within the work setting you need to have both skills tomanage the situations.3:2 Within my job role I will need to use leadership and management skills daily dependant on the work situation. For example, one of my managers may call me for advice and guidance around a situation, for this I may give straight forward direction or I may ask they how they feel they could achieve the desired result therefore giving empowerment to my manager. This would then be using my leadership skills rather than management skills. However, if I was performance managing a staff member, this would be using management skills, as I would be managing that situation alongside policies and procedures and the standards that are set for employees.Generally, I would use my leadership skills when mentoring and coaching my staff team and use my management skills when implementing a change which could be a new policy or procedure or a risk assessment. For this I would need to give direction but I would be the one accountable to make sure that this has been implemented and that all staff understand the implications of the new policy or procedure.

As mentioned in question 5 my organisation has 5 key values which help to guide and influence the practise of my team. By using these values it sets out the expectations of the organisation to the staff. If there is an area that needs to be improved I will use my leadership and management skills to do this. An example of this would be, I recently wanted to support staff to use intensive interaction with the individuals at one of the services I manage. Staff were very reluctant for this change as it was something new and staff felt uncomfortable to do this. To inspire and motivate the work force, I source some training so that the staff team had a better understanding of what intensive interactions was, I worked closely with the team leader so that they could take the lead and support and encourage the staff team with it. The team leader set up individual sessions with the team members so that she could give constructive feedback on the session and help them feel motivated and empowered to complete the task on regular basis. Within this example I had to use my leadership skills to motivate the staff team and team leader but then I also used my management skills and delegated the task to the team leader to imbed within the team.

There are a number of factors that will influence the choice of leadership styles or behaviours in workplace situations.Teams develop over a period of time and go through a number of different stages dependant on staff skills, experience, attitude, behaviour and relationships. Bruce Tuckman identified four stages of team development as forming, storming, norming and performing and more recently a fifth stage which is mourning.Forming is the initial stage where a team doesn’t know each other very well yet and therefore are busy trying to find their feet within the team but also looking to see where their colleagues fit within that team.Storming is the stage where staff are starting to become a team and may bring ideas up with the team or the manager which can lead to some confrontation within the team and possible conflict which can demoralise the team.Norming is the stage where the team starts to work together, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses and starting to work together to get the tasks done.Performing is the final stage where the team understand and work together to build and maintain relationships and getting all tasks done.The fifth stage that has been added recently known as mourning is a team that don’t like change and always liked it has it was.Throughout all these five stages, a different leadership style will need to be adopted dependant on the situation that arises and the different stages of development within the team.

So, when the team are in the forming, storming stages I would use an autocratic style of leadership. When the team are in the norming stage I would use a Democratic style of leadership and when they are in the performing stage I would you a Lassez- faire style of leader ship but would at times refer back to democratic.An autocratic style is when you tell staff what to do and do leave any room for them to give their opinions or views. For example, if I walked into a service and told a staff member that they had to complete a task i.e. pick up medication and that it had to be done by 5pm and wouldn’t listen to their opinions or views this would be autocratic.Democratic style is where you have a task that needs to be completed but will ask for staff opinions and maybe delegate tasks for them to complete, so for example, at a team meeting we discussed as a team that certain jobs were not being completed on time or even at all, I suggested having areas of responsibility, however I then left it to the team to think about what they felt was their strengths and what area of responsibility they wanted but also then to feedback to the team what they thought would be involved within this area of responsibility. Therefore, leaving the staff team feeling involved within the team and team decisions.Lassez-faire style is when you trust staff to do their work with little support or supervision and feedback. They know what needs to be done and will get it completed and will make decisions without any manger input.

Finances – Over the years within health and social care the purse strings become tighter and tighter. Local authorities have less money available to pay care providers to provide support to service users. As a care provider, we are growing as a organisation as we take on more business opportunities but we are not growing in financial terms as the local authorities are not paying more money for this business. Local authorities have less money and as a business due to national living wage increasing we must pay more to staff, therefore the gap between income and expenditure reduces. Because of this our organisation and many other organisations with the health and social care sector are having to re look at the organisation as a whole and reduce costs. My organisation is currently looking at the management structure and will be implementing change. This could mean that we have a leaner management structure to reduce costs. By having a leaner management structure this will mean that my style of leadership and management will have to change. My roles and responsibilities will increase, work load will increase and therefore will have to delegate areas of responsibility a lot more to ensure that same standards are achieved across the organisation.

Ageing population – People now a days are living for a lot longer, which in turns puts another strain on public funding. For care providers, it also buts a strain on supporting people with different health needs, dementia, mobility issues, housing problems. We support people that currently live in houses with stairs and as they get older, this becomes a risk. Unfortunately, housing associations don’t have enough properties that are ground floor properties, so unfortunately some of the people that we support end up in care homes, where staff haven’t got the skills and knowledge to support people with learning disabilities. The change in environment for people with learning disabilities can have a huge impact on their lives and change can be a very hard thing for them to adapt to and sometimes they can’t.

Information Technology – Overtime the use of IT within the health and social care setting has grown rapidly. It has helped to empower service users to have access to their own information and be in complete control of this. It has also help organisation to improve efficiency and cost. With my organisation, we have recently lunch an app which provides staff with all the information that they need to do their job. All policies and procedures are available wherever they maybe, at work or at home. Incident reporting is done through the app, so that it can speed up the process and ensure that actions from these are in place sooner. Eventually using this app, the organisation will be virtually paper free as everything will be running through the app, so to improve efficiency, effective and costs. The problem that I can see with this, is as a people focus organisation, it could mean that managers are too far removed from staff and therefore management may not be effective. However it could mean that due to less time pushing paperwork from one place to another that it could free up time for more effective management within teams.


  1. Skills for care 2006·F.W.TAYOR (2018)
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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The Behavioural Theory For Leadership. (2024, Feb 02). Retrieved from

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