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Leadership Theories That Every Manager Should Embrace


Good leadership is essential for any organization or business to succeed. Leaders set the direction and tone for their teams and operations, and their actions can profoundly impact the people they work with.

Managerial leadership is essential for the successful running of any organization. Leadership theories have been developed over the years to help managers better understand and embrace their role in organizational success.

The role of a manager can be demanding and challenging. Not only are they responsible for a team of employees, but they must also juggle various tasks and projects. In addition, they must be able to motivate and inspire their team to achieve common goals. With so much on their plate, it’s easy for managers to lose sight of the bigger picture. Thankfully, there are a number of business management steps that can help managers be more effective in their roles.

If you are looking to understand leadership theories and prepare for a successful career in business, then a course such as the Aston MBA has you covered. This program is designed for working professionals who want to take their careers to the next level and offers a unique blend of academic rigor and practical experience. It not only helps you acquire theoretical knowledge of business management and leadership but also helps you develop the practical skills required to put these concepts into action.

What is a leadership theory?

Leadership theories are meant to help managers understand how to lead and manage effectively. Theories differ from simple leadership styles, which are more descriptive – for example, “dictatorial” leaders tend to follow the same patterns regardless of circumstances. In contrast, a leadership theory helps you understand the specific ways in which an individual or group behaves or leads. It attempts to describe the various factors that affect and determine leadership. These factors affect leaders, followers, and the interactions between these two groups.

Through a theory, you can learn what is required of a leader and how they can best use their skills, talents, and knowledge to exert a compelling influence. As a leader, you must understand how to use leadership theories in your work. Through the leaders’ own understanding of their team and organization, they can be most effective in getting their teams to accomplish the goals they set.

What makes an honest leader?

Many people believe that honesty is a key component of good leadership. More than anything else, leaders should be honest with their team and inspire trust in those they are leading. This makes it easier for employees to accept the leadership and direction of their manager and motivates them to put forth the best effort possible.

This doesn’t mean that leaders must tell their employees everything immediately; there is no reason to be blunt or share confidential information that is irrelevant to the team or organization. Instead, leaders should encourage employees to ask questions and share their concerns and ideas. Sometimes, it may take a leader some time to assess the situation and realize that there is no longer a need for secrecy or confidentiality with certain information.

Leadership theories

Many different theories can be used to evaluate and understand leadership. Each theory takes a different approach, but they all share elements of what makes a good leader. By learning about these theories and leadership in general, it’s easier to apply your newfound knowledge to leadership roles. You can better understand what your role as a manager entails and how you can be more effective in carrying out your duties.

Here are the different leadership theories and styles that every manager should be familiar with:

Theory of transformation

This theory focuses on leadership not as the ability to exert influence on others but as the development of self-awareness and self-worth. In this way, leaders are seen as people who transform themselves. A leader’s main influences are drawn from their experiences and interactions with others.

By improving and developing your abilities, leadership can become a more fluid process and one that is dynamic in nature. If a person can realize the limitations that challenge them, there is less risk of failure. This is because it becomes easier to accept and understand mistakes as learning experiences.

According to the theory of transformation, a leader is a catalyst who can motivate and inspire with positive energy, focus on strengths and weaknesses, be approachable and responsive to feedback, reflect on their actions, build confidence in others and learn from mistakes. All these actions will lead to increased individual or group performance.

Behavioral theory

Behavioral theory is based on the idea of the proactive leader. A leader must have a certain level of charisma and should seek to motivate individuals through positive behavior and by encouraging them to be active participants. This theory establishes that leaders should exert influence over subordinates in order to accomplish common goals.

A proactive leader attempts to establish a vision for the future that is both inspirational and achievable. This vision includes a strategy for achievement, which considers both personal strengths and weaknesses and real-world challenges faced by their team or organization. Once a leader has developed a vision, they motivate and inspire others to make it happen.

In order to motivate others, the leader must make their team feel valued as individuals and recognize their unique contributions. This makes it essential for leaders to be approachable, listen carefully and respond effectively. The leader needs to understand the problems affecting their team or organization to develop solutions that address those problems. All these actions are crucial if you want to be an effective leader who can get results from your team.

The trait theory

This theory suggests that many leadership traits are linked. If you want to be a good leader, then you should display a certain level of some of these traits. Many leaders claim that their characteristics and behaviors make them excellent leaders, but there may be other strengths than this. A good leader must have the ability to understand individual differences, accept failure as an inevitable part of achieving goals, embrace change and adapt well to new environments.

The trait theory explains leadership as a combination of traits and characteristics. In order to be an effective leader, you must possess some of these characteristics, such as intelligence, self-confidence, and the ability to communicate effectively. By taking the time to understand yourself and what it means to be a good leader, you can improve your ability to lead others.

Functional theory

Leaders must be able to provide the proper environment for subordinates so that they can perform at their best. This type of leadership is based on the idea that leaders are responsible for creating an environment of encouragement. This is accomplished through having a vision, setting goals, and ensuring everyone has the necessary tools and resources to achieve those goals.

Without this type of leadership, people cannot rely on their employees to perform at the required level, meet deadlines, or succeed in their roles. It’s an ongoing process of identifying changes and problems and then working to fix them. If any of these needs are not being met, then the leader should be able to make the necessary adjustments to make sure that their employees are comfortable and doing their best work.

The theory of situations

This theory focuses on what a leader needs to know about their situation in order to be effective. As a leader, you must look at the tasks that need to be performed and make sure your team is ready and able to carry them out. In this way, your team or organization can achieve its goals without issue.

Defining roles for specific tasks keeps the focus clear, allowing everyone to understand their responsibilities and resources. This enables a leader to know when to involve subordinates and when to step back. Leaders should take the time to assess their situation in order to determine how they can best contribute.

The contingency theory

Leaders and teams must be flexible when it comes to changing plans and policies based on new information. This type of leadership involves being able to manage the procedures of your organization in order to overcome problems that may arise. In this way, you can continue achieving your goals and achieve better results overall.

How do you deal with change? Are you able to adapt to it? If not, then you may need more feedback from subordinates or colleagues so they understand how they can improve as leaders or team members. Self-reflection is crucial if you want to be a better leader or team member, and it’s something that all leaders should do regularly.

Integrated psychological theory

The integrated psychological theory combines the leadership continuum and situational leadership theories to comprehensively explain leadership. It’s based on the idea that certain situations require different leadership styles. Although this theory combines other theories, it’s generally used to describe a type of leadership that includes all the traits discussed in these other theories.

Motivational theory

This theory focuses on understanding what drives subordinates. To be a great leader, you must know what motivates people and build a team that is willing to get things done independently and move the organization forward. Employees must feel valued to be motivated, so it’s an ongoing process of learning how your employees think and identifying ways to motivate them.

Motivating individuals requires understanding their strengths, personality traits, and goals. You can then use these factors to create a motivating environment where people feel appreciated and valued. Keep this in mind as you work to motivate your employees, and you’ll be able to create an environment that encourages them to give 100% of their effort.

The great man theory

This theory explains that leadership depends on both the leader and the follower. The great man theory states that great leaders are often those who were successful in their own lives and, therefore, were able to build up a strong network of contacts in the business world. These contacts can be highly beneficial when it comes to obtaining resources or knowing the state of the industry.

Among the first leadership theories, the great man theory assumes that leadership qualities are inherent, that leadership cannot be learned, and that leaders are not created but born. This hypothesis’s assertion emphasizes that leaders have certain innate human characteristics. These include:

  • Decisiveness
  • Glamour
  • Wisdom
  • Assertiveness
  • Daring
  • Appeal

Transactional theory

This theory is based on the idea that leaders and those they lead have mutual benefits. Relationships among leadership theories, followers, and leadership are a series of give-and-takes. The leader allows their followers to benefit, while the follower gives their loyalty in return. When everyone works together to achieve the desired results, everyone wins.

The idea behind this theory is that employees must contribute their own part to receive rewards from the organization. It’s an ongoing process that involves identifying the needs of both the leaders and followers to create a mutually beneficial relationship. This type of relationship is based on the idea that business transactions involve two parties, and both will benefit from the transaction.

Bottom line

Leadership is an ongoing process, and it’s one that you can use to improve the way you do your job continuously. Embracing this type of leadership will help you have more control over your organization’s goals and improve your employees’ feelings.

Leaders are often regarded as great motivators and are celebrated for the work they do on a daily basis. However, there is no right or wrong way of leading, only ways that work better than others. By taking the time to learn about leadership theories, you can develop your personal beliefs and then apply them to any role you may have in life. With an MBA, you’re equipped with the knowledge you’ll need to take on leadership challenges at any point in your career.

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