“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” (Quincy Adams, J). Leadership is one of the vital functions of management that can help any organization become successful. Different leadership theories propose different ways by which we can become great successful leaders but each one of these leadership theories (trait, situational, and behavioral) have their own advantages and disadvantages.
The Trait theory of leadership suggests that some individuals are born to be leaders rather than becoming one. A leader possesses certain qualities and characteristics which make them worthy of being leaders (Trait Theory of Leadership and Its Key Characteristics n.d.). This theory uses traits to estimate the likelihood of people becoming potential leaders. According to a number of researches conducted in the 20th century, some traits were discovered that many of the leaders possessed (Trait Theory of Leadership n.d.). This theory has been validated by many researchers and it also provides us with a guideline for selecting the appropriate leaders and also helps to better understand the aspects of leadership. The downside to this theory is that there are more than 100 leadership traits. It also fails to pinpoint the exact traits that are essential for successful leadership.
The situational leadership theory argues that there is no such thing as a perfect leadership style because it corresponds to different circumstances. This theory defines a successful leader as one who is able to adjust their leadership style according to different situations by examining factors like the nature of the task, the people involved, and other elements that can result in completing the task (Cherry, K 2017). The theory is simple as it only requires that the situation be evaluated and a suitable leadership style is implemented. It also gives leaders the ability to change the management style according to the situation at hand. The drawback is that it distracts the leaders from the long-term strategies and politics. It also does not take into account the communication styles of different cultures and the difference between male and female managers (Spahr, P 2015).
The behavioral theory of leadership suggests that leaders are not born but made (Schottanes, J 2015). The main strength of the behavioral theory is that an individual can obtain leadership traits through developments and experience and not necessarily be born with such traits (Behavioral Theories of Leadership 2013). Although these behaviors can be learned, it would be challenging to put these behaviors into practice. It also does not state how this theory can be applied to different situations as one behavior might not be suitable in another situation (Behavioral Theory: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Current Theorists n.d.).
Each of these theories has their own concepts of good leadership skills. Traits theories propose that leaders are born. On the contrary, behavioral theories suggest that leaders can be made by learning different leadership behaviors. Lastly, situational theory suggests that there are different leadership styles for different situations. Each theory has their ups and downs and therefore, no theory can be considered as the most ideal.
- Cherry, K (2017). What Is the Situational Theory of Leadership? . [online] verywell.com. Available at: https://www.verywell.com/what-is-the-situational-theory-of-leadership-2795321 [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]
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- com. Trait Theory of Leadership. [online] Available at: https://managementstudyguide.com/trait-theory-of-leadership.htm [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]
- Schottanes, J (2015). Behavioral Theory of Leadership. [online] prezi.com. Available at: https://prezi.com/jfi3_7hytqrg/behavioral-theory-of-leadership/ [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]
- Spahr, P (2015). What is Situational Leadership? How Flexibility Leads to Success. [online] online.stu.edu. Available at: http://online.stu.edu/situational-leadership/#proscons [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]
- com, 2013. Behavioral Theories of Leadership. [online] Available at: http://www.technofunc.com/index.php/leadership-skills-2/leadership-theories/item/behavioral-theories-of-leadership [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]
- wordpress.com. Behavioral Theory: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Current Theorists. [online] Available at: https://traitsandbehaviors.wordpress.com/behavioral-theory-strengths-weaknesses-and-current-theorists/ [Accessed 9 Sept. 2017]