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Leadership Theories and Styles Essay

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Know thyself

Assuming that no one wants to work on a job that he or she dislikes, a person must have a clear understanding of what path she or he should follow in his or her business life. However, to choose a career is a tricky business, if the chosen career is one that does not suit the person, then their personality is likely to become confused which will lead to unhappiness and a feeling of being burned out.

Settling down with the right career can be as central to your happiness as choosing the right person in a relationship. Nevertheless, with any relationship, there is no right or wrong answers, therefore self-assessments can help to find a career that fits his or her personality because everyone is different, and every situation is unique.

Self-assessments are tools to help a person to gain a better understand of one’s personality, to increase the chances of becoming successful as well as a better person. According to the scores of the Self-Assessment of Prentice Hall, I am very charismatic, people oriented, well balanced in my trust towards others and I am seen as a trustworthy person. I can also use some improvement on my disciplinary skills as well as on my skills regarding building a leading team.

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The interest in leadership has increased during the early part of the twentieth century. Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished leaders and followers, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill level.

There are several different approaches and theories behind a leader’s behavior, following are some of which describe respective strengths and weakness as the case might be:•Traits: Can be consistent with our perception of what leaders are, but this theory ignores the situational context of leadership.

•Style: What leaders do and how they act, but there is no clear relationship between style and performance outcomes.

•Situational: The effectiveness of a leader depends on successfully diagnosing where subordinates are on the development continuum and adapting their leadership style as necessary.

•Contingency: Matching leaders to appropriate situations, however this theory does not explain why individuals are more effective in some situations than others; it also, does not explain what to do if there is a mismatch between the leader and the situation one faces.

•Path-goal: Uses research on motivation to get organizational goals accomplished.

•Transformational leadership: Involves values, ethics, goals and long-term goals, but this theory is seen as a personality trait rather than behavior that people can learn.

We see that leadership and its theories have been defined in many different ways, but there is no correct definition of how a leader must behave or how a leader can cover all possible situations; what really matters is how useful the definition is for increasing our understanding of effective leadership.

Equilibrium should exist in any environment; a balance of behavior and attitude, and the leader should lead by example and moderation. Studies show that “subordinates perceived their supervisor’s behavior primarily in terms of two broadly defined categories labeled “consideration” and “initiating structure” (Yukl, 2006, p. 51), and as suggested by the Fleishman and Harris study, “subordinates are usually more satisfied with a leader who is at least moderately considerate” (Yukl, 2006, p. 52).

Successful and effective leadership “depends in part on how well a manager resolves role conflicts, copes with demands, recognizes opportunities, and overcomes constraints” (Yukl, 2006, p. 13) but “the main aim of leadership behavior, however, is to influence organizational members’ actions because it is through the behavior of the members that organizations’ goals are attained” (Kanungo, 2001).

My StyleI agree with Fiedler when he states the “better the leader-member relations, the more highly structured the job, and the stronger the position power, the more control the leader has” (Robbins & Judge, 2007., p. 410). A leader’s behavior must adjust to reflect the task structure and “major situational variables include the characteristics of followers, the nature of the work performed by the leader’s unit, the type of organization, and the nature of the external environment” (Yukl, 2006, p. 14).

These thoughts make me relate to the situational theory to lead and manage a group, however my style of leadership fits into the participative leadership, where managers will use more group supervision rather than individual supervision. This style suggests that team meetings are there to help facilitate everyone’s cooperation, and the manager’s role is to provide guidance and support toward problem solving. However, use of participation does not imply abdication of responsibilities, and the manager will still be responsible for all decisions and its consecutive results.

“A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team” (Straker, ¶ 2).

Jobs that would fit well my styleI work for Apollo Group in the Information Technology (IT) department, as a Technical Support specialist, and currently do not hold a leadership position.

If I have the chance to select a leadership position it would still be in the same area, yet managing projects and groups, where I could both, interact with people, which is one of my strongest skills and as well as work in an area where I do possess a large knowledge. Because I also believe in leading by example, I consider that more than asking or to assign a task, and as a leader can many times show how the work can be done and the rewards for the dedication and self-motivation you put into the work.

In that approach, some of the meetings known in my company as a “One x One” which would be used to emphasize how the person can improve, to get more knowledge or to further his career within the team or company, instead of the sole pursuit of correcting behavior. I also think that you can keep a good and healthy environment when you see in your leader the disposition to keep moving forward with an open approach, even when the situation is stressful.

Projects, when used right, are considered motivating and helpful in order to keep people engaged. In this scenario, I would choose people who are willing to embrace new experiences quite often and, who, would accept the changes and innovations of the technological field, which by its own nature is a constant.

What for me is the great part of this process, is that people can manage themselves once you set clear goals and can keep up with metrics, allowing each individual to have more freedom in the work environment. I could focus on “organizing, supporting and developing the people” (Luis, ¶ 15) in the leader’s team position, without forgetting, or also balancing with another style which I need to improve, which is a more task oriented leader.


Luis, M. J. (). Leadership styles Using the right one for your situation. Mind Tools. Retrieved from http://www.mindtools.com/Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2007.). Organizational Behavior. : Prentice Hall.

Rabindra N Kanungo. (2001). Ethical values of transactional and transformational leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18(4), 257-265. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 109746613).

Straker, D. (). Participative Leadership. Changing Minds.org . Retrieved from http://changingminds.orgYukl, G. (2006). Leadership in Organizations (6th ed.). : Pearson Prentice Hall.

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