Some leaders always seem to succeed. Other leaders seem to constantly battle failure around every corner. Although there are many management theories of leadership, there really is no specific combination that leaders must implement in order to find better rates of success. By understanding the core theories of leadership, however, anyone can learn to become an effective leader through the various approaches that are being used today.
1. Trait Theories of Leadership
A common observation when looking at the best leaders of the world is that many of them have certain traits in common with each other. These traits are something that come naturally thanks to the instinctive qualities that are included in each person at birth. By recognizing the natural traits a leader has, the needed skills for proper leadership can be developed and enhanced so that effective management may be achieved. This means that leaders can be good now, but great with a little development help.
2. Behavioral Theories of Leadership
Knowing how leaders behave is just as important as knowing what skills modern leaders need to have. Some leaders prefer to delegate responsibilities to team members and expect compliance and cooperation throughout the entire process. Others prefer a democratic approach to decisions that need to be made. Some prefer to dictate from the top and provide specific instructions that are mandatory to follow. By knowing the behaviors of a leader, the right leadership qualities can be installed to achieve better overall success in any given situation.
3. Contingency Theories of Leadership
Why have different leaders with different skills when you could have one leader who can apply many skills? Contingency theories of leadership show that managers are able to think on their feet and make quick decisions based on their observations of what is going on around them. They can apply the proper management style that will be the most effective so that results may be enhanced. In doing so, every situation will always have a chance to receive a higher outcome. This is because the best leadership style will be present 100% of the time.
4. Power and Influence Theories of Leadership
Being a manager means that there is a natural source of power and influence that comes with the position. Some use this theory to exert control over a team because there is natural influence in proven expertise. Other methods of influence in this theory include transactional style where rewards and consequences are handed out based on the direct performance of a team member. It is not always the most appealing strategy of management, but it often works because it appeals to the wants and needs that most people have.
The best managers may incorporate all of these theories of leadership or they may include just one of them in their natural style. The type of theory that is implemented is not as important as recognizing natural talents, skills, and reactions to situations and then using those observations to enhance leadership.