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Leadership Theory - the Effective Leadership Theory of Trait Theory

Essay by   •  May 21, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,795 Words (12 Pages)  •  1,969 Views

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Introduction

In current studies of the organisational psychology, leadership is one of the popular topics in organisation management (Pfeffer 1993) and it is a powerful thing, many enterprise managers and scholars of leadership science often ask the question: "what kind of leadership is effective?" This problem is too hard to answer and it not easy to find and grasp the best style of leadership to cope with complex management practices and to be a good lead. There is no unified view together. In many people's opinions, a successful leader is very mysterious, people will ask 'why he has such a strong leadership ability,why he could set a goal and achieved so much successful? There is a description about leadership that is "a process of social impact in which one person could help someone and support them to achieve a goal " (Chemers 2002). Alan Keith of Genentech strength the definition of leadership should include the followers ,he declared that "Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen."There are six theories to summary and explain how to be a effective leader,namely trait theory, behaviour theory,situational theory,contingency theory,path-goal theory, transformational leadership and emotional intelligence.

The effective leadership theory of trait theory

Thomas Carlyle is one of the founders of the trait theory,he stated that leadership trait theory discusses the effective leadership depends on the behavior of the individual types and personality tendencies.(Derue 2009). Trait theory can be counted as a first academic leadership theory. Most of researches have proved that successful and effective leaders are different from other people. The certain core of people's character that have a significant affect of their success (Derue 2009). If the organization understanding the employees' core personality traits, it could predict leader effectiveness and help organizations to select, train,develop and practice the right person of the right position. Some scholars agree with the trait theory and they list some leadership qualities, supposing certain core traits or characteristics could make people become a effective leadership. Shelley and Locke (1991) proved the trait theory. They illustrated that there are seven elements should be included in the key leader traits : desire to lead, drive, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, intelligence, job relevent knowledge and extraversion.In trait theory,there is a idea about"leader are born,not made",(Goldberg 1994). it emphasize some characters could make people become a effective leader. Many researchers became interested in the the explanation of how traits influence people's behaviour and leadership style(Brown, Trevino and Harrison 2005). For instance, some previous research of trait theory revealedfound that personality traits has a strong link to the individuals' perceptions of leadership(Lord, DeVader, and Alliger 1986). Similar to the research of Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991), so much so that claim effective leaders are actually particularly types of people in several key respects. People have used trait theory to describe many great leader leadership, such as Napoleon, Mao Zedong, Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan. Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister, she is always compelling because of her own leadership style, it is often described her: confidence, serve, resolute and tough. Although we can't say every honest and confident person can become a successful leader, but every one of the great leaders have the same personality.

In spite of leadership trait theory laid the groundwork for many leadership theories in later, but the leadership trait theory also has its limits. In the mid-20th century, the trait theory had to face a challenge, a research of a universality of leadership traits call in question about it. More scholars realized the trait theory defects. Stogdill (1948) stated that no obvious evidence of personality could display the marked difference from leader and non-leaders across a variety of situations. First of all,the trait theory ignored the environment and situation,it just strengthen the characteristics. A person with leadership characters who was a good leader in this situation might not be a effective leader in another situation. Leadership is a concept as a relationship between people and organization or society,rather than being a quality that individuals possess, Personal factors could be an important element related to leadership, but researchers argued that these factors could be considered as relative to the requirements of the situation.

The development of behavioral leadership theory

If the leadership trait theory emphasizes the leadership is born, then behavioral theory of leadership are on the base of the opinion that great leaders are made, not born. Based upon behaviorism, this behavioral theory pay attention to the behaviour of leaders instead of the mental qualities or internal states. Behavioral theories illustrate that person can be a good leader by training and practicing them, if they learnt some leadership skill and science,they could have the appropriate behavioral response for any given situation.(Bandura 1986,1997). For behavioral theorists, a leader behavior could be the best predictor of his leadership influences,besides,the leader's behavior is the best determining factor of his or her leadership success(Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975)

When a few of those cases are combined; people have a program that they can consult. The leadership theory has evolved,from strength the personality to combine with social situation. This theory emphasized the adaptability to changes with the current situation rather than the individual trait. With the support of the behavioral theory, there are many special schools or clubs provide the lessons of hoe to be a good leader. Many of them are excellent leadership programs which are available to guide people on their leadership journey(Grint 2005). This behavior-focused training and practice provide real marketing potential, as behaviors can be conditioned in a manner that people could have a specific response to specific situation and stimuli. As a result, most scholars are against the supposition that leaders are born, not made. According to the theory,there are two important Behavioral studies:Ohio State University (1940s) and University of Michigan (1950s), both of them found that there is a strong link between the consideration of employee and structure of the organization.

Ohio Researchers found that:High consideration is associated with higher subordinate satisfaction;High structure is associated with

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