Organizational Leadership Theoretical Approaches
There are three theoretical approaches to studying organizational leadership. These are leadership as a property of the leadership approach, relationship approach, and social process approach. According to traits or the great man theory, outstanding leaders have a specific set of personal qualities (Salihu, 2019). These include the level of intelligence, bright appearance, common sense, initiative, self-confidence, reliability, and activity (Harrison, 2017). The theory’s strength is that leaders can be identified from an early age (Salihu, 2019). However, personal qualities do not guarantee success, and their relative importance largely depends on other factors (Salihu, 2019). For example, the theory does not include cognitive and social skills, or the importance of values and expertise (Salihu, 2019). It also ignores the problem-solving abilities of a potential leader (Salihu, 2019). Concerning equity and diversity, it is also essential to realize the need to train leadership qualities from childhood. For instance, for gender equality, it is suggested to strengthen girls’ conviction that participation in the political and business process is their inalienable right and even a duty.
The relationship approach to leadership considers that the style of leadership determines the effectiveness of management. The behavioral theory focuses on a set of techniques used by the leader in the management process (Vasilescu, 2019). Such an approach reflects several important aspects: the degree of delegation of authority by the head to his/her subordinates, the type of power used, and methods of working with the external environment (Harrison, 2017). It also covers ways of influencing personnel and the usual behavior of the leader regarding subordinates (Harrison, 2017). The approach’s limitation is that it can neglect personal traits, leadership potential and abilities (Salihu, 2019). Promoting equality and diversity, in this case, depends on successful examples of various leadership styles. Regardless of gender, race and ethnicity, social class and sexual orientation, successful leaders should be positioned as role models to change the ideas of what a leader should look like in the mass consciousness.
The social process approach to leadership considers that the leader is influenced not only by personal qualities and leadership style but also by various situational factors. For example, these are the needs and personal qualities of subordinates, the task, the influence of the environment, and the availability of information (Vasilescu, 2019). Accordingly, the leader should be able to behave differently in different situations. However, the limitation is mainly presented by the lack of research and explaining why some leadership styles are more effective (Harrison, 2017). The strength is that such an approach is regarded as the most productive in management practice relating to equality and diversity. Situational leadership theories are of practical importance because they assert a plurality of optimal leadership styles depending on the situation (Harrison, 2017). They point to the lack of a single universal type of management and image of an effective leader and establish leadership effectiveness depending on situational factors. Therefore, it is necessary to know subordinates’ abilities, their capabilities to complete the assigned task, and the limits of their influence on the performers.
Harrison, C. (2018) Leadership theory and research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Salihu, M. J. (2019) ‘A Conceptual analysis of the leadership theories and proposed leadership framework in higher education’, Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies, 5(4), pp. 1-6.
Vasilescu, M. (2019) ‘Leadership styles and theories in an effective management activity’, Annals-Economy Series, 4, pp. 47-52.