Leadership Models Research Paper

Pages: 5 (1339 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership


There are a number of different theories to describe the best approach to leadership. Transformational leadership theory developed as a counterpoint to transactional leadership whereby the role of the leader is to change the way the organization functions at a core level, as opposed to changing the way specific tasks are conducted. Servant leadership, as espoused by Robert Greenleaf, in which leaders decide to take on that role as a means to serve their organizations and improve them, rather than as a means to advance one's own standing. Situational leadership theory is focused on the idea that the ideal type of leadership is dependent on the characteristics of the situation. Results-focused leadership is a counterpoint to situational leadership, in that the leadership style is dictated by the desired outcomes of that leadership. This paper will examine each of these four leadership theories in turn, and will compare and contrast them with one another, both in terms of philosophical underpinnings and in terms of the practical application of these theories in real organizations.

Transformational Leadership

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Transformational leadership theory arose as a counterpoint to transactional leadership. The latter theory is more traditional, and based on the idea that leaders engage in transactions with their followers, exchanging remuneration or benefits for the completion of specific tasks. Transformational leadership arose out the realization that the transactional leadership model did not fit all organizations well. Some organizations, in particular those engaged in knowledge industries, had to utilize different systems of motivation. The transactional relationship between leader and subordinate was insufficient to produce superior results, because the tangible offers of the leader were insufficient to spur motivation among the subordinates. Transformational leadership recharacterized the relationship between leaders and subordinates as a leader engaging the followers. Under transformational leadership, motivation comes from higher order motivating factors rather than the lower order factors of pay and benefits.

Research Paper on Leadership Models Assignment

The practical implication of transformational leadership is that the leader needs to be an interpersonal motivator, since getting the best from the subordinates is no longer a simple business negotiation. The underlying philosophy is that workers will perform better when engaged in their work than when they are simply performing a task out of a sense of duty to uphold an agreement. This theory has its roots in the writings of Marx about the roots of worker motivation, but adapted to a liberalist, capitalist setting.

Both situational and results-focused leadership theories share some similarities to transformational leadership. Both call for a degree of flexibility in leadership style, while the transformational leader must be flexible, almost by definition. The means of motivation, by virtue of not being transactional, are subject to change based on the situation, which can be defined either in terms of inputs or outputs. Transformational leadership differs from these two approaches, however, because it is focused on the means of accomplishing tasks. This rejects the idea that the task defines the means (results-oriented) because while the means may change the underlying philosophy behind the means will not change. This also implies a rejection of situational leadership, which would argue that some situations call for transactional leadership methods while others call for transformational.

Servant Leadership

Greenleaf's concept of servant leadership relates mainly to the reasons that drove the leader's decision to become a leader in the first place. Servant leaders have entered into leadership in order to serve their constituents, rather than to serve self-interest. The underlying philosophy of servant leadership is that leaders who act to serve constituents are going to be more effective; thus the effectiveness of leadership is directly related to the leader's underlying motivations.

Servant leadership is largely unrelated to the other types of leadership under consideration. For practical purposes, the servant leader can adopt any leadership style that is necessary; it is only the underlying motivation that counts. Servant leadership therefore lacks the specific policy implications that the other forms of leadership have. In particular, servant leadership provides little guidance with respect to how the leader is to deal with different stakeholders in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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