The study of leadership aims to describe how and why specific individuals become leaders. These ideologies frequently concentrate on the qualities of effective leaders, but some make an effort to pinpoint the actions that people can take to strengthen their own leadership skills in various contexts.
Early discussions on the psychology of leadership frequently opined that these traits were merely innate abilities. In other terms, it was suggested by these ideas that some people were just “born leaders.” Some more modern theories contend that while having particular traits may help people become natural leaders, experience and environmental factors are equally important.
Over the past 100 years, as interest in the psychology of leadership has grown, a variety of leadership concepts have been developed to explain precisely how and why some individuals develop into outstanding leaders.
What qualities distinguish an excellent leader? Is it true that some individuals are more naturally suited to leadership positions than others, or do the circumstances themselves influence who steps up to the plate? We may find ourselves wondering why certain people succeed in their roles as leaders, whether it be our employer or the President.
Although there has always been interest in leadership throughout human history, formal leadership concepts have only lately begun to emerge. Early in the 20th century, there was a rise in interest in leadership.
Early leadership theories concentrated on the characteristics that set leaders apart from followers, while later theories examined other elements like situational factors and ability levels. Despite the fact that many distinct leadership theories have emerged, the majority of them fall under one of eight categories.
Concept of a Great Leader
Have you ever come across the phrase “born to lead” in reference to a person? According to this point of view, great leaders are simply born with the essential internal characteristics such as charisma, confidence, intelligence, and social skills that make them natural-born leaders. This view also asserts that great leaders can be developed through education and experience.
The notion of a “Great Leader” is based on the presumption that an innate aptitude for leadership exists and that great leaders are not developed but rather born. These ideas frequently depict great leaders as being heroic, steeped in mythology, and intended to ascend to leadership positions when necessary. The term “Great Man” was used because, at the time, it was believed that leadership was predominantly a male quality, particularly in terms of military leadership. Therefore, the term “Great Man” was used.
The implication of this concept is that individuals are unable to acquire the skills necessary to become effective leaders. You are either born with it or not born with it. There is no middle ground. This way of thinking about leadership is heavily influenced by the natural world.
We make the assumption that individuals inherit certain qualities and habits that make them better suited to leadership roles. This is similar in some ways to the concept of the Great Leader. Leaders often share a certain personality or certain behavioral attributes, which can be identified by their characteristics. Characteristics such as self-assurance and bravery, for instance, are examples of traits that have the potential to be associated with effective leaders.
If it is true that certain qualities are essential components of leadership, then how can we explain the existence of individuals who have those qualities but do not exercise leadership? When trying to describe leadership based on characteristics, this question is one of the challenges that must be overcome.
There is no shortage of individuals who are in possession of the leadership-related psychological traits; however, a significant number of these individuals do not actively seek out positions of leadership. There are also people who are great at leading groups despite lacking some of the key characteristics that are typically associated with successful leadership. These individuals are rare but do exist.
The concept of contingency in leadership focuses on specific variables that are associated with the environment and that have the potential to determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for a particular circumstance. According to this theory, there is no single model of leadership that is superior in every circumstance.
According to findings from studies on leadership, truly effective leadership is not just about the characteristics of the leader; rather, it is about striking the right balance between behaviors, needs, and the context in which they occur.
Good leaders are able to take stock of the situation, evaluate the needs of their followers, and then change their actions and behaviors appropriately. The leadership approach, the characteristics of the adherents, and the circumstances all play a role in determining whether or not the endeavor will be successful.
The idea behind the situational concept is that leaders should select the most appropriate action to take based on the circumstances of the situation. Depending on the nature of the decisions being made, a particular leadership approach might be more effective than another.
For instance, if the leader of a group is the person with the most experience and understanding of the other members of the group, an authoritarian style may be the one that is most suitable. In other circumstances, such as when the members of the group are highly knowledgeable specialists, an egalitarian mode of operation would be the most efficient.
Concept Based on Behavior
The behavioral theories of leadership are predicated on the idea that excellent leaders are developed over time rather than being naturally endowed with such qualities. This theory of leadership places an emphasis on a leader’s behaviors rather than their mental qualities or the emotions they may be experiencing. According to this theory, individuals can acquire the skills necessary to become leaders by way of instruction and observation.
Concept Based on Participation
The notion of participatory leadership proposes that the most effective form of leadership is one that values the opinions and suggestions of those under its charge. These leaders encourage participation and contributions from other members of the group and help members of the group feel more relevant to the decision-making process and more dedicated to it. However, in the participative concept, the leader maintains the right to decide whether or not to accept the input of others.
The management concept, which is also referred to as the transactional concept, centers on the roles of supervision, organization, and the performance of groups. These ideas about leadership are based on a set of privileges and responsibilities, both positive and negative. In business, managerial ideas are frequently put into practice; for example, employees are commended and compensated for their achievements, while those who fall short of expectations are reprimanded or even disciplined.
Concept of a Relationship
The connections that are established between leaders and followers are the primary focus of the relationship concept. Transformational leaders are able to motivate and inspire others by assisting members of the group in realizing the significance and greater benefit of the task at hand.
These leaders are concerned about how well the members of the group perform, but they also want each individual to live up to their full potential. It’s common for leaders who adopt this approach to have high ethical and moral standards.
There are a lot of different methods to think about leadership, some of which emphasize the characteristics of a great leader’s personality, while others put more of an emphasis on the aspects of the environment that play a role in determining how people lead.