Leadership is a process involving social influence applied in organizing a specific group of people in order to accomplish a certain goal (Maxwell, 1998). The process is successful if governed by certain theories that involve traits, behavior, situational interactions, values and vision among others.
Leadership Theories These are theories that explain the practice and concept of leadership. Most of the leadership theories that exist have been based on certain specific perspective such as leadership as a blend of personality and traits characteristics, leadership as a relationship or leadership as a particular behavior. From all these theories, leadership can be deduced to be a process involving influencing people towards realization of some predetermined goals.
Great Man theory
The theory assumes that the competence or the gift of leadership is inherent. It assumes that great leaders are not made but are born. The term “Great Man” portrayed leadership as a quality male dominate, as in military leadership.
The theory is somewhat related to the “Great Man” theory since it assumes inheritance of certain traits and qualities, which makes people best suited for leadership. The qualities and traits usually identify certain particular behavioral characteristics or personalities shared among leaders. Inherited qualities such as cognitive ability, sociability and intelligence are some of the key qualities to leadership according to trait theory. Examples of inheritable traits are sociability and intelligence among others.
The theory examines and focuses on specific variables associated with the environment which have the capability to determine the specific style of leadership that best suits a particular situation at hand. The theory suggests that there exist no specific leadership style, which is best suited for all situations. According to this theory, leadership success depends on a number of variables such as leadership style, aspects of the situation and the qualities off the followers. Therefore, the theory suggests that effective leadership depends on how well the leadership styles and the leader’s qualities fit a specific context or situation.
The theory suggests that the effectiveness of a leadership depend on action chose by a leader based on situational variables. This is so because different leadership styles may be more appropriate to assist in making certain decisions. According to the theory, different contexts or situations require a specific different style of leadership. For the leadership to be effective, the leader has to adjust or adapt a certain style to fit the circumstance of the situation.
Example: A case where a leader is the most experienced and knowledgeable member of an organization, the appropriate style should be authoritarian whereas in an organization where group members are all skilled experts, the more effective style is democratic.
The theory suggests that leaders are made, not born. According to it, a person can learn to gain leadership skills through teaching and observations. It focuses much on the actions of the leader but not his or her internal states or qualities. The theory argues that developed styles, learned skills and acquired knowledge are the best keys to good leadership performance.
The theory suggests that an effective leadership is the one that considers the input of the other people. The leaders encourage the participation and contribution of their followers and make them feel more relevant in decision-making process.
The theory focal points are the followers’ performance, the role of organization and supervision. It puts into consideration the system of followers’ punishments and rewards. The theory in large extent applies to