Different Approaches Of Leadership Styles

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What makes a leader effective is his or her ability to influence followers in a desired manner to achieve goals and objectives in times of adversity. It is evident from the literature that leadership styles may affect a business’s effectiveness and performance in society today. This paper aims to analyze the reviews of the literature on various leadership styles over the past few years. Looking at how different leadership styles have emerged in society over some time. All information discussed in this paper was obtained after reviewing many various articles and research essays on leadership styles, journals and books. Additionally, the conclusion urges the importance of transformational and transactional leadership styles, as there is more research on these leadership styles.


To run a business or organization effectively in today’s society, the most important and sought-after aspect is human resources. The success of a company is solely dependent on loyal and committed managers and employees. Moreover, Leadership is a requirement in every business to make sure it runs smoothly; furthermore, the quality of Leadership determines the success or failure of that business. In today’s society, the Management of employees mostly falls upon the quality of leadership businesses have[footnoteRef:2]. In recent years, Leadership has been studied and referenced countless times, more than any other aspect of human resource management. [2: Albioon & Gagliardi, 1st July 2007, ‘A study of transformational leadership, organization change and job satisfaction’, Adelaide, Australia, ]

The 20th century was an era full of great influential leaders; Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, to name a few. All these leaders effectively brought together people to overcome times of hardship to achieve a goal, whether that was winning a world war or fighting for equal rights. The change from great leaders to great Leadership is a reaction of an ever-changing environment. These changes in the organization need quality in their business structures, this is possible through individuals with quick-thinking mindsets and a proficient work ethic. There are many different definitions of Leadership, and there are several researchers who have attempted exploring this concept. Some definitions may be well backed, most of them would depend on the theoretical orientation of their research. Besides influence, Leadership has been defined as being a personality, compliance, persuasion, power, goal achievement, role difference, interaction[footnoteRef:3] [3: Dr C.L Chandan, 2nd March 2018, Leadership Styles, Researchers journals and Management, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India]

Theoretical Framework.

Leadership has been an essential topic of the literature on Management in business for many years, (Schwandt and Marquardt, 2000) has been the standout interest in leadership literature over the years. Leadership has been studied for many years, going back as far as the times of Plato and Caesar (Bass, 1981). In the years that Leadership has been studied, most scholars come to the conclusion that’s the concept of Leadership does not ascribe to one specific definition. Leadership is often described in adjectives such as effective Leadership, poor Leadership, good Leadership, and influential Leadership, to name a few.

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Moreover, a lack of consensus exists about what Leadership actually means, but one thing remains relatively in line with researchers, is that Leadership is an influential relationship between the leader and his or her followers who have moved together, so the leader achieves goals and overcomes obstacles through the inspiration and Motivation of their followers.

It is imperative to have the full understanding of the historical background and evolution of Leadership and leaders, for the purpose of the literature review, a discussion into the concepts originated in the mid-1900s of leadership theories to the more recent modern takes on Leadership has been provided.

The evolution of Leadership.

Throughout history, Leadership has often been depicted as men or women showing acts of great courage and or bravery, a theory that attempted to explain this was The Great Man Theory of Leadership[footnoteRef:4] It is going based on heredity. In short, the theory outlines that said leader is genetically gifted with superior qualities that separate them from his or her followers. [4: Dennis W. Organ, 27th March 2002, Leadership: The Great Man Theory Revisited, Published Elsevier inc.]

The early days of the 20th century, select few theorists took Motivation from Galton’s (1870) [footnoteRef:5] study of the hereditary background of great men. He stated that great leaders pass on their leader ability through their genes. To continue, in the early 1900s qualities or traits and the trait theory where the chosen concept study for Leadership. Qualities or traits distinguished leaders from the rest of the people (followers) and the trait theory was based on the theory that leaders were born with certain traits that made them leaders for example intelligence, adaptability and persistence. Traits like those mentioned above where stepping-stones for people with these qualities to obtain leadership roles in society[footnoteRef:6]. [5: Francis Galton, 1970, Hereditary Genius: An inquiry into its laws and consequences] [6: Dr C.L Chandan, 2nd March 2018, Leadership Styles, Researchers journals and Management, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India ]

Later down the line, it became apparent that another aspect of Leadership was important, behaviour, so researchers began focusing on behaviour in leaders, this, in turn, spawned the Behavioural leadership theory[footnoteRef:7].[7: TECHNOFUNC, 27TH Feb 2013, Behavioural theories of Leadership, Leadership Theories]

Two researchers from the University of Michigan and Ohio state theories two categories for leadership behaviour, them being Initiating Structure and Consideration[footnoteRef:8]. Initiating Structure connotes to the extent to which a leader is willing to structure his or her role and those of employees (followers) in reaching a goal. Consideration is described as the extent to which a person is seen to have job relationships, which are based on mutual trust and respect of one another in all aspect of their life (employees/followers). [8: Steve Kerr, Chester A Schriesheim, 20th April 1973, Organizational and human performance, Ohio state university, USA]

Production orientate and Employee orientated are two more categories in leadership behaviours that were discovered during the research of the previous two categories. Production Orientated Leaders were people whose main concern was to accomplish their task at hand and the members in their group was just a further means of accomplishing the goal. Employee orientated leaders were said to be people who demonstrated human-orientated skills. These studies showed that the leader who demonstrated all these skills made the best leaders.

Moreover, two more theories were introduced into the mix, Situational and Contingency Theory. Contingency Theory stated that one single style of Leadership was not appropriate in all situations.

The contingency theory represented a change in leadership studies were the focus was on the leader to the leader in combination with the situation at hand (Fielder, 1978). The four main contingency theories are Fielders Contingency Model, Hersey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model, House’s Path-Goal Model and the Leader-Member Exchange Theory. Fielder states that the effectiveness of orientation depends solely on the situation. In short, simple tasks with high or low leader acceptance requires production-oriented Leadership and complex tasks require Employee orientated Leadership[footnoteRef:9]. [9: Dr C.L Chandan, 2nd March 2018, Leadership Styles, Researchers journals and Management, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India]

Modern-day Theories.

Other than the traditional theories that were briefly discussed above, there are several new theories concluded in the last few decades. Four theories to be precise, charismatic, transactional, transformational and authentic theories, these theories will be discussed below.

Charismatic Leadership Theory.

A scholar by the name of Max Weber was first to discuss charismatic Leadership. However, Robert House first considered charismatic Leadership in terms of the organizational behaviour theory. According to him, followers can demonstrate heroic leadership abilities when they perceive certain behaviours of people around them. Charismatic leaders possess four attributes, vision, the willingness to take personal risk, care for the follower’s needs and goals and the demonstrate out of the ordinary behaviour or going above expectation[footnoteRef:10]. [10: Jay conger, 21st January 2015, Charismatic Leadership, Volume 11, Wiley Online Library]

Transformational Leadership Theory.

Transformational Leadership revolves around the idea of inspiring followers to share the same goal in business, pushes them to exceed expectation, problem solve and also help their fellow followers, all pushing towards developing their leadership capabilities. A transformational leader puts their thoughts and feelings and helps followers look beyond their own self-interests for the better of the group. For a transformational leader, it’s about doing what haves been down before.

The Transformational leadership approach views Leadership as a shared effort, incorporating five components that make up transformational Leadership. (Bass, 1981) identify them as idealized attributes, idealized behaviour, inspirational Motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration.

  • Idealized Attributes. – when follows are influenced by their leading through already built trust and respect in that leader, they share the same vision and mindset as a said leader. The leader has characteristics which the follow finds desirable and attractive.
  • Idealized Behaviour. – A leader’s behaviour determines how a to follow may view them, leaders with a high level of charisma which inculcates pride in their subordinates and command respect.
  • Inspirational Motivation. – Leaders compose themselves in a way which motivates followers to overcome and obstacle, providing meaning and challenge in anything they do in life.
  • Intellectual Stimulation. – This occurs when a leader motivates their followers to provide alternative solutions to a problem. Moreover, intellectual Motivation occurs when a leader encourages his or her followers to create solutions through problem rearranging and questioning.
  • Individual Consideration. – individual consideration is a leader consulting with their followers one to one, and the goal is to develop specific skills in that individual on a more personal level. Each follower is different a requires a certain level of care when motivating and or setting goals; they are more than just employees they are individual.

Transactional Leadership Theory.

Transactional Leadership revolves around the idea of the leaders rewarding their followers for a service or goal they have achieved. As a caveat to this, the leader in this regard must shift from the focus on the leaders needs to the needs of the follower.

By the leader gaining an understanding of the follower’s needs, the transformational leader can, in theory, convert a follower to a leader. Bass and Avolio describe transactional theory through two characteristics, contingent rewards and Management by exception. Contingent rewards mean the leader will give a reward to the follower who has exceeded expectation or achieved a goal. Transactional leaders can also act upon active Management by exception, which is when the leader observes followers to ensure no mistakes are made. Furthermore, passive Management is the leader intervening when things aren’t going to plan.

Authentic Leadership Theory.

Expanding upon the previous leaderships, they don’t deal with the role of ethics and trust; it’s theorized that and strong trust and ethics is an essential part of completing what would be an effective leader. Authentic and real leaders know who they are, who act instead of just talking they way out. Their follower considers them to be ethical people; research into the concept of authentic Leadership is still young, not much out there. However, it is very favourable to ponder the ethics and trust in Leadership because it focuses on the morals of being a leader, it’s more than just a title, it’s a responsibility[footnoteRef:11]. [11: David Burkus, 18th March 2010, Transformational Leadership Theory]

Literature review.

Over the years, many different variations and takes on leadership styles have been researched, and scholars have called attention to a variety of them.

Norman (1970) – Norman conducted a study in northern California on women in a position of Leadership; his research was found to be confident, self-motivated, and calm and intellectual when coming to situations. These women could maintain a steady deminer and courteous relationship with their superiors.

Singh (1978) – Singh conducted a leadership behavioural study of a secondary school headteacher in the state Haryana, it was found that total Leadership was related significantly to four personality traits, them being: outgoingness, intelligence, emotional stability and assertiveness.

Reichman (1991) – examined the traits of leaders in higher education, colleges, universities etc. The leaders exhibited traits on compassion, honesty, integrity and fairness.

Northhouse (2001) – Believes the transformational leadership approach is a shared process; this demonstrates one’s ability to shoot for high standards, Motivation and performance.

Alpanna Priyabhanshini, Venkat R. Krishnan (2005) – researched the relationship between Transformational Leadership and a leader’s expectation from their followers, or what’s called the Pygmalion effect. They conducted a questionnaire style set up in India to help their research. The respondents answer the questions on their desire for promotion and on the superior’s transformational Leadership and expectations. Readiness through promotion was captured through two categories, Motivation and confidence. The results showed that’s leaders’ expectations were positive when compared to the follower’s desire for promotion — a positive correlation between transformational Leadership and expectation of the leaders.

Omar Bin Sayeed, Meera Shankar (2009) – Their study attempted to survey the relationships between emotional intelligence and Transformational Leadership. He authoritative correlation between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership styles open up significant relationships; this, in turn, confirmed emotional intelligence as an important component of a leader’s temperament.

Vimal Babu (2011) – Studies have shown that expatriates leadership styles playa rather vital role. The study examined 25 Japanese and 23 American ex-pats (the person residing in a country other than their native one)[footnoteRef:12] in India focusing on their style of Leadership. Results were analyzed to identify the differences and similarities between the leadership components. Statistics show that there were indeed differences in four of the leadership components; the remaining six leadership components hadn’t any visible significant differences. [12: Zanghua Zhou, 9th September 2017, Transformational Leadership of Expatriates and foreign subsidiary performance, Journal of economics, business and management vol. 5]

Results showed that American leaders (managers) had good communication skills. Whereas, Japanese leaders (managers) resulted in motivating their followers to work harder by outlining what the desired standard is and what is not.

To counteract that, American leaders appeared to have more knowledge and skills to convey and train their followers. The study furthermore cleared up the implications for expatriates concerning the effectiveness of the Leadership in the business.


After reviewing the literature on leadership styles, it is clear that suitable Leadership is essential for the success of any organization. Every organization need’s dedicated and effective leaders who not only fulfil the organization’s structured values but by increasing the follower’s job satisfaction, performance when on the job and commitment to the company. Although there is an abundance of research around the topic of leadership styles that wasn’t all covered in this review, there are some researches that believe that transformational and transactional leadership cross, ultimately creating the best leaderships in the world today. Some researchers go as far as to say that for effective Leadership, they should have a balance between transformational and transactional Leadership. Its no mystery that the face of Leadership is changing as time goes on to be an effective leader, one must first embrace the adversities in front of them, only then can you truly help others as a leader. There isn’t just one ideal leadership style to use in every situation. An effective leader must be open to change and be able to accept feedback without feeling the need to disagree, even being able to adjust their style of Leadership if necessary. In conclusion, change is necessary if a business wishes to keep up with an ever-changing world. The old styles of Leadership are still valid in some regard; however, it must be broken to encourage new leaders to be more transformational.


  1. Dr C.L Chandan, 2nd March 2018, Leadership Styles, Researchers journals and management, Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
  2. Fred Luthans, Organizational Behaviour 11th edition 2008, McGraw hill international edition.
  3. Norman B.N (1970), A study of women in a Leadership position in North California the delta-kappa-gamma bulletin, 36, p. 10-14.
  4. Northouse (2001), Leadership; theory and practice thousand oaks, sage publications.
  5. Omar bin sayeed, Meera Shankar (2009), Emotionally intelligent leaders and Transformational leadership styles Indian journal of industrial relations, vol. 44 no. 4 p.593-610.
  6. Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy A. Judge and Seema
  7. Singh (1978): a study of leadership behaviour of the head of senior secondary school in Haryana and its correlates PhD dissertation, Kurukshetra university.
  8. Sunil Kumar 22nd June (2018), Literature review on the Leadership, leadership theories, styles and leadership development, Jain University, Bangalore, Karanuka, India
  9. Vimal Babu (2011), Divergent leadership styles practised by Global managers in India Indian journal of industrial relations, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 478-490.
  10. Daniel Bowman – Product Design – Business Development – Date Submission: 31/01/2020 2516


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