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Theories & Approaches to Leadership: An Overview

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A brief overview of leadership, including pre-1970 leadership theories and a handful of contemporary approaches to leadership. Theorists include Bass & Burns, Greenleaf, Astin & Astin, Heifetz, Maxwell, Sinek, and Collins.

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Theories & Approaches to Leadership: An Overview

  2. 2. OVERVIEW Brief introduction to the following theories and approaches to leadership: • Pre-1970 (Great Man, Trait theory, Behavioral theory) • Transformational leadership (Bass & Burns) • Servant-leadership (Greenleaf) • Positive leadership (Seligman) • Social Change Model (Astin & Astin) • Adaptive leadership (Heifetz) • Authentic leadership (Hyatt) • Contemporary approaches (Maxwell, Sinek, Collins)
  3. 3. THE ORIGINS OF LEADERSHIP THEORY “Great Man” theory (18th century) • Popularized by Thomas Carlyle • Insinuates that leaders are born, not made • Traits of leadership are intrinsic • Those who possess these traits are destined for “greatness”
  4. 4. THE ORIGINS OF LEADERSHIP THEORY Trait theory (1930’s-1940’s) • Slow shift away from “born leader” idea • Brought about by Gordon Allport, Raymond Cattell, B.F. Skinner, Ralph Stogdill • Categorized a number of words in the English language under three umbrellas: • Cardinal traits, central traits, secondary traits • Asserted that leadership depends on a number of traits under each umbrella, as well as specific skills • Combination of traits/skills = good leaders • Examples: dominant, energetic, persistent, creative
  5. 5. THE ORIGINS OF LEADERSHIP THEORY Behavioral theory (1940’s-1950’s) • Kurt Lewin’s work signaled a shift toward behavioral theory of leadership • Coined the terms autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire approaches to leadership • Two studies took trait theory a step further • Ohio State University • Produced first well-known leadership questionnaire, LBDQ • Found two groups of behaviors that characterized effective leaders: task-oriented, people-oriented • University of Michigan • Dr. Rensis Likert found an additional group, participative leadership
  6. 6. THE ORIGINS OF LEADERSHIP THEORY Contingent leadership (1960’s) • Developed out of behavioral leadership • Asserts that no one leadership style sets an individual up for success, but rather effective leadership tactics depend on the group or organization being served • Criticized for being too broad, but a step toward servant- leadership
  7. 7. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP Burns (1978) • Theory of transforming leadership asserts that leaders are most effective when they view their role as more than simply give-and-take (transactional) • Approach is more holistic and supportive • High expectations for the group • Lead by example • Collaborate with the group to challenge & support • These leaders are successful because they inspire group to rally around its purpose and remind each group member of his or her worth
  8. 8. TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP Bass (1985) • Transforming  Transformational leadership • Included four measurable elements to transformational leadership • Individualized consideration • Intellectual stimulation • Inspirational motivation • Idealized influence
  9. 9. SERVANT-LEADERSHIP Greenleaf (1970) • Concept came out of his reaction to Journey to the East by Herman Hesse • The servant-leader is servant-first • Desire to serve = fundamental characteristic • Focus on the needs of the group and of each individual (wanting to help others) • A multitude of characteristics make up effective servant-leaders • Acceptance and empathy, foresight, self-healing, rebuilding community • People who initiate action, goal-oriented, dreamers, good communicators, reflective, dependable
  11. 11. POSITIVE LEADERSHIP Martin Seligman (late 1990’s) • Positive leadership comes out of positive psychology • Coined by Maslow in the 1950’s but did not gain a foothold until Seligman Built on by a number of contemporaries with a handful of interpretations, including Jeffrey Buller • Buller asserts that instead of focusing on negative leadership (“putting out fires,”) leaders should place emphasis on what is being done well and building on organization's strengths • Engage, deepen, unify the group and each member based on what he or she brings to the table • Being constructive, supportive, encouraging, challenge each member to become their “best selves”
  12. 12. SOCIAL CHANGE MODEL Developed by a handful of leaders in higher education and psychology, but credited to Astin & Astin in the 1990’s • Applied the concept of social change to higher education leadership, coining it the Social Change Model (SCM) Collaboration is the driver of the SCM, in addition to making an investment in positive change • Examined from three perspectives: individual, group, community (or society) The 7 C’s of Leadership demonstrate the ways to serve as an effective leader from each perspective • Individual: consciousness of self, congruence, commitment • Group: collaboration, common purpose, controversy with civility • Community: citizenship, change (8th C)
  13. 13. ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP Heifetz (1990’s) • Goes hand-in-hand with authentic leadership, an approach that anyone, regardless of title, can take on • Defines authentic leadership as the practice of mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive (Hyatt, 2009) • Rooted in the scientific theory of adaptation Adaptive leadership is a practice of risk-taking and challenging “the way we’ve always done it” to facilitate positive change • Four elements of adaptive leadership • Diagnose the system, mobilize the system, see yourself as a system, deploy yourself
  14. 14. AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP Authentic leadership has existed throughout history in a number of forms • Elements of approach found in the Great Man, Trait, Behavioral theories Credited to a number of thought leaders in philosophy, psychology, leadership studies • They are self-aware, genuine, mission-driven, results-focused, lead with heart and mind, possess insight & vision • One contemporary interpretation: Michael Hyatt’s five marks of authentic leadership • Insight, initiative, influence, impact, integrity
  15. 15. CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES John C. Maxwell • Author, speaker, & pastor (b. 1947) • Has postulated a number of concepts surrounding leadership, with a focus on listening, observing, building relationships, communication, leading by example, and service Examples • 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader • 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership • Five Levels of Leadership • Position, permission, production, people development, personhood
  16. 16. CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES Collins & the Five Levels of Leadership • Business consultant, author, lecturer (b. 1958) • Notion of “Level 5 Leadership” came out of his work on From Good to Great • Research project that began in 1996 on how good companies can become great Level 5 Leaders sit at the top of the hierarchy of leadership capabilities and a necessary component for transformation • Levels 1-4 include: highly capable individual, contributing team member, competent manager, effective leader • Level 5 Leaders build lasting greatness through personal humility and professional will • Unwavering commitment to success, mission of the organization
  17. 17. CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES Sinek & the “Golden Circle” • Author (b. 1973) • Model for inspirational leadership involves first “finding your why”  your purpose, cause, core belief • Approach is made up of 3 circles • What, how, why • Most companies market their products by beginning with what, then how, before articulating why • Sinek asserts that if we start with our why, then we will experience greater buy-in • Connection with your own, your institutional, missions • What you do simply proves what you believe
  18. 18. REFERENCES Bass, B. (2006). Transformational leadership: Second edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers. Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, A. and Dennison, P. (2003). A review of leadership theory and competency frameworks. Center for Leadership Studies, University of Exeter. Retrieved April 28, 2015, from Buller, J. (2013). Positive academic leadership: How to stop putting out fires and start making a difference. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Collins, J. (2005). Level 5 leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 28, 2015, from humility-and-fierce-resolve Heifetz, R., Linsky, M., Grashow, A. (2009). The practice of adaptive leadership: Tools and tactics for changing your organization and the world. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press. Keith, K. (2015). Definition of servant leadership. To Serve First. Retrieved April 28, 2015, from Kruse, K. (2013). What is authentic leadership? Forbes. Retrieved April 28, 2015, from Wagner, W. (2006). The social change model of leadership: An overview. Concepts & Connections: A Publication for Leadership Educators, 15(1), pp. 8-10. f%20Leadership%20-%20A%20Brief%20Overview%20%28Wagner%29.pdf