Thesis: Comparing Four Models or Theories of Leadership

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Leadership As A Montage Of Models

The Connections Among Four Different Leadership Theories

What is leadership? Can it be defined through simple terms, or does

it change based on the situation and individual eader? If so, what

leadership theories exist? What models can be put into practice and when

should they be used? Scholars concerned with the practice of leadership

have been considering these questions as they conduct studies, read

previously written literature, and observe the movements of social,

business, and political leaders. As these scholars have come up with many

different kinds of leadership models, however, it can become difficult for

the student of leadership to determine how models are different from one

another and how they can be applied in various situations. Through

examining the differences and similarities in four of these models-the

leadership passages model, the servant leadership model, situational

leadership, and leadership as a point of view-students of leadership can

understand both the complex nature of leadership as well as the different

models that one can use to become an effective leader.

The leadership as passages model suggests that an effective leader

must go through certain prerequisites in order to reach the highest height

of management and leadership. Charan et al. (2003) who propose this model,

argue that there are "six turns in the pipeline [that are] major events in

the life of a leader" (chapt. 12). Much like a young person must go

through rights of passage in growing up, a leader moves from manager of

one's self to a manager of others, a manager of managers, a functional

manager, a group manager, and an enterprise manager (Charan et al., 2003,

chapt. 12). According to these scholars, each leader needs to follow in

these steps so that he or she "become[s] familiar with the skills, time

applications, and work values demanded by each passage, as well as the

particular leadership gestalt" (Charan et al., 2003, chapt. 12). The

scholars suggest that many problems in contemporary leadership stem from a

misapplication of these passages. Because organizations are often

concerned only with economic success or failure, they do not spend time

thinking about the necessary "skills, time applications, and values" of the

different levels (Charan et al., 2003, chapt. 12). By understanding and

implementing developmental programs targeting these different passages,

however, the authors argue that companies and organizations could have a

better barometer through which to gauge leadership. Further, the authors

of this model argue that its application will solve a variety of

contemporary problems in leadership. For instance, they suggest that

applying this model would make the human resources task of fitting certain

people with certain jobs much easier. One of the current problems in

leadership is the fact that employees are often placed in leadership roles

when they cannot handle this responsibility. In addition, those who could

handle leadership roles are occasionally left out. By incorporating this

model, managers and human resources personnel could judge a person's

ability for advancement by the accomplishments he or she has made in one

area rather than by economic or company developed leadership assessments

(Charan et al., 2003, chapt. 12). In addition, the model would be helpful

in addressing personal development problems by allowing individuals an easy

way to assess for themselves their shortcomings (Charan et al., 2003,

chapt. 12).

Unlike the passages model, which focuses on how leaders are

developed, the servant-leadership model is most concerned with the

motivations of leaders. In fact, Greenleaf (2003) argues that there is a

major difference between the person who is leader first and the one who is

servant first-the person who is servant first has ingrained "natural

feeling that one wants to serve," while the leader first is often self-

focused (chapt. 9). Like the passages model, however, the servant

leadership model is, ultimately, focused on the end result. The end result

of the passages model to create an effective leader that has the knowledge

and skills developed through six different phases, while the end result of

the servant leadership model is the creation of new servant leaders who,

after being served, have developed enough to have the desire and ability to

serve (Greenleaf, 2003, chapt. 9). Thus, the differences between the two

models' end results can be summed up by pointing out that one is aimed at

creating the most effective leader possible while the other is focused on

creating a myriad of leaders.

To achieve both of these ends, though, one impetus is needed-the

individual. The passages model points to the young businessperson at the

stage of managing him or herself as the tool needed to begin the leadership

process, while the servant leadership model calls for one who has more

inspiration than others and the desire to seek a following. Indeed, Kouzes

(2003) points out that all leadership begins with the individual,

suggesting that "the leader's primary instrument is the self" (chapt.

Introduction). Despite the fact that both models focus on the individual

as the impetus of leadership, their different end results spring from

different methods of development. While the passages model focuses on

developing the leader through rites of passage or leadership levels, the

servant leadership model is based more on intangible concepts such as a

dream, acceptance, and empathy (Greenleaf, 2003, chapt. 9). Furthermore,

Pree (2003) argues that leadership is a way of thinking, and that servant

leaders must frame their minds to understand that they owe "certain things

to the institution" (chapt. 5). Pree (2003) identifies a list of concepts

that leaders are responsible for, including the values of an organization,

the cultivation of future leaders through giving them the ability to

develop their skills and talents, the improvement of organizations, an

expression of maturity and rationality, and for encouraging the

organization to move in a progressive or upward manner (chapt. 5). The

servant leadership model, then, can address those concepts that the

passages model may create-egoism and self-centeredness in leaders. By

defining leadership as servant hood through responsibilities, then, the

concept of servant leadership can solve the egotism problems common in

contemporary leadership.

Two other models, the situational leadership model and leadership as a

point of view model, share characteristics of both the passages and servant

leadership model while adding their own unique formulas for solving

problems in contemporary leadership. For instance, the situational model

suggests that situational variables-the "leader, follower(s), superior(s),

associates, organization, job demands, and time"-all impact the leadership

event (Hersey & Blanchard, 2003, chapt. 8). Thus, this model suggests that

a leader's style should be based not on some empirical model of leadership,

but instead, the readiness of those who are being led (Hersey & Blanchard,

2003, chapt. 8). Thus, the situational model, like the passages and

servant leadership model, place a burden on the individual as the impetus

of leadership and argue that that leader must go through a process to

achieve an end result, in this case a successful leadership event. Thus,

the end result of situational leadership is different from the previous

models, as is the process, which calls upon leaders to changes styles based

on variables rather than progressing through certain levels or dwelling on

the motivation for leadership. As Clawson (2006) points out that the world

of leadership and management is changing in an important way (chapt. 2),

the mode of situational leadership will properly address the modern

challenge of changing roles and concepts in leadership, organizations, and

management, as the situational model allows for changes to best suit

changing variables.

Similarly, the leadership as a point of view model suggests that

"being a leader depends on point of view, not on title or status" (Clawson,

2006, chapt. 1). Like the situational model, then, this model allows for

more flexibility. As in all of the models, the individual is still seen as

the impetus of leadership,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Comparing Four Models or Theories of Leadership.  (2009, April 3).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Comparing Four Models or Theories of Leadership."  3 April 2009.  Web.  19 May 2019. <>.

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"Comparing Four Models or Theories of Leadership."  April 3, 2009.  Accessed May 19, 2019.