Leadership Models Jaimie Wimer University of Phoenix Leadership Models The word leadership has different meanings to different people. There appears to be no one exact definition of leadership, just as there is no one exact leadership style. According to Wren (1995) the definition and style can vary depending “on the kind of institution in which it is found” (p. 38). For the purpose of this paper, the models discussed are the trait approach, the diamond model, the normative decision theory, and transformational leadership. Definition of Models Trait Theory
The trait theory (also known as the “Great Man” Theory) began around 1910. Clawson (2006) stated that the trait approach “emphasizes the personal traits of leaders” (p. 379). The idea behind the trait theory was that leaders were born, not made. Those who became leaders had a unique trait that nonleaders did not have. In 1948, this theory was debunked by Ralph Stodgill. He proved through research that leadership varied in certain situations (Wren, 1995). Normative Decision Theory The normative decision theory has a contingency view of leading and decision making (Nahavandi, 2006).
The assumption behind this model is that a leader’s leadership (or decision-making) style varies, depending on the situation (Wren, 1995). Through this theory there are four decision-making styles a leader may use: Autocratic, Consultative, Group, and Delegation. Autocratic decision-making includes very little (or none at all) involvement from followers. Consultation decision-making utilizes followers to consult, but the leader makes the final decision. Group decision-making uses a consensus to make a decision.
Delegation decision-making utilizes one individual (not the leader) to make a decision (Nahavandi, 2006). The Diamond Model Clawson (2006) introduces the diamond model of leadership in organizations. This model allows for emphasis on individuals, situations, coworkers, strategies, and organizational design. This model is designed for flexibility during the various settings and situations that can occur in the workplace. The concept behind this model is that “leadership only has meaning if it has a direction and a means of achieving that direction” (Clawson, 2006, p. 4). The model focuses on individual personalities of leaders, relationships between leaders and followers, and also contingency of leaders and situations. Transformational Leadership Avolio and Yammarino (2002) refer to transformational leadership as “the new leadership genre” (p. xvii). The basis behind transformational leadership, according to the two authors is respect, trust, and emotional attachment. Transformational leaders have within them a vision others find attractive, optimism, enthusiasm, and high ethical standards.
These leaders sacrifice for the good of the group, provide support and encouragement, and provided challenges to followers (Avolio & Yammarino, 2002). This type of leadership is appropriate and effective in most situations (Yukl, 2006). Similarities of Models Though the models are quite different, they do have some similarities, specifically in the relationship department of leading. The diamond model and transformational leadership have the most in common. Both models have a focus on relationships. The diamond model focus is leader-follower and is built on trust and respect (Clawson, 2006).
Transformational leadership has a focus on vision and empowerment (Mehmood & Arif, 2011). The normative decision model can be very similar to these two models, as well. When using the methods of Consultative and Group, leaders have to “pay attention to their followers’ needs and reactions when making a decision” (Nahavandi, 2006, p. 148). To recognize followers’ needs and reactions, a leader must have built a relationship with them. Allowing followers the opportunity to participate in consulting or making decisions can lead to followers feeling a sense of empowerment.
The trait theory also has some similarities to the diamond model, transformational model, and normative decision model, even though this theory is based on “inherited” leadership qualities. According to Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991), motivation for power (a trait inherited), specifically socialized power motivation, involves possessing a vision, empowering followers, and taking account of followers needs. Differences of Models The four leadership models are also very different from each other. The trait theory, by far, is the most different.
This theory, as defined previously, states that leaders are born and not made. Leaders have traits that are inherited that nonleaders do not have (Clawson, 2006). Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991) believed that traits are a precondition for a successful business leader. They believed that these traits with additional actions will produce successful leaders. The trait theory does not include discussion on how to handle decision-making, though Kirkpatrick and Locke have provided updated actions a leader must take, not included in the original trait theory.
When comparing the normative decision model to transformational leadership, the greatest difference found is that the normative decision model contains the autocratic method (along with other methods similar to transformational leadership), whereas transformational leadership is more of a democratic style of leading. The autocratic method has little or no involvement from the followers. The leader makes all decisions based on the belief that the leader has all sufficient information to make decisions (Nahavandi, 2006). When a leader takes on autocratic tendencies, that leader becomes pushy and followers become negative (De Cremer, 2007).
In contrast, transformational leadership “is seen as a process in which leaders and followers inspire one another to elevated moral conduct” (Clawson, 2006, p. 390). Leaders inspire trust, loyalty, and admiration from their employees. These leaders support and encourage their followers. They are open to new ideas (Clawson, 2006). Followers of transformational leaders are motivated to do “more than they originally intended to” (Yukl, 2006, p. 262). Transformational leadership involves input from employees, unlike the autocratic method found in the normative decision model.
The diamond model of leadership in organizations is different from the other theories in that it “is flexible enough to incorporate many of the main leadership models present today” (Clawson, 2006, p. 41). The belief of this theory is that there is no perfect way to make an effective leader. While relationships are important in this model, the model places importance on leaders shaping the organization. This model is actually more of framework that leaders can use to develop their strategic thinking. Contemporary Leadership Issues and Challenges
Each of the models presented have their own leadership issues and challenges. The current world issues have shown that strong leadership is desperately needed. The issue that faces would-be leaders is what style is will work best for the company or organization. Leaders need to become strong in a style that can cause success, but also have flexibility to meet the challenges of the world. Issues and Challenges of Trait Theory The issues and challenges the trait theory has is that this theory was debunked over 60 years ago by Ralph Stodgill. He concluded that “traits alone do not identify leadership” (Wren, 1995, p. 4). Another challenge of this theory is that it does not allow for differences in leadership situations nor does it provide any framework for leading. Issues and Challenges of the Normative Decision Theory This model has been used in a variety of different workplace settings. The normative decision model addresses issues of situational leadership by having four approaches a leader may use in making a decision, which some employees appreciate because it gives the employees the opportunity to have input at times. However, these having different decision styles can be a weakness, according to Nahavandi (2006).
Leaders and managers do not always have the time to decide which approach to use when making a decision. In addition, not all leaders can use the different approaches equally and fairly. A person’s personality might not allow for autocratic decision making one minute and delegation the next. Nahavandi (2006) also stated that this model is more of a decision making model than a leadership model. Issues and Challenges of the Diamond Model One of the largest issues found for this model is the lack of research on it. Not having adequate research to decide to follow this style can be difficult for a leader.
Another challenge is that this model is more of a framework. A leader must still decide the type of style to use. In this model, a leader is to decide what task is most important to focus on (Clawson, 2006). The leader must convince others to work on this task. Leaders must have a relationship built upon trust and respect with employees to be successful. Without the trust and respect needed, it will “be difficult for them [followers] to develop commitment for and energy to work on the leader’s view of what can be or should be” (Clawson, 2006, p. 37). Issues and Challenges of Transformational Leadership
One challenge a leader who follows the transformational leadership theory is that in order for the leader to be truly successful, the leader must use a combination of transactional leadership (an exchange process style of leading) and transformational leadership (Yukl, 2006). This balance can be hard for a leader to achieve. Yukl (2006) also noted that the theory does not discuss how to build teams nor does the theory explain the task-related functions necessary to a team. The theory also has no explanation for how leaders build networks, assess for threats to the organization, or measure tasks and behaviors.
Transformational leadership also has an emphasis on universal leaders with no discussion on situational leadership. Conclusion Numerous other styles and models of leadership exist. The type of leadership used depends on the personality of the leader and the needs of the company or organization. A leader needs to determine if it is possible to use a combination of leadership models, or if the leader’s personality is better suited for just one model. Ideally, the leader will ensure followers have a sense of empowerment, but can also understand that the leader may need to have the final say in the decision.
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