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Traditional Leadership Theories

Traditional Leadership Theories - Traditional Leadership...

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Traditional Leadership Theories Leadership theory can be studied from at least five perspectives: the trait approach, the behavioral approach, contingency (situational) approaches, the role approach, and emerging theories. 1 The first four represent traditional theories that we discuss in this section. Trait Approach The trait approach involves discovering how to be a leader by examining the characteristics and methods of recognized leaders. Pioneering studies were performed several years ago; 2 however, these have been discredited to some extent by academicians. A more recent empirical study of 200 European CEOs and over 1000 key subordinates identified five key leadership styles that support TQ. 3 These styles and their key traits, in decreasing order of impact on success factors, are 1. Team builder . Tolerant, motivational, inspirational, supportive. 2. Captain . Respectful, trusting, reliable, fair. 3. Strategist . Trustworthy. 4. Creative . Innovative, visionary, courageous, inspirational, confident. 5. Impulsive . Obsessed with new ideas, curious, energetic, participative. The leadership profile of any individual is a composite of multiple styles; however, the predominance of some styles over others will influence the success of that individual. Behavioral Approach The behavioral approach attempts to determine the types of leadership behaviors that lead to successful task performance and employee satisfaction. Researchers at Ohio State University performed an extensive series of leadership studies in developing this theory. 4 Work done Independently at the University of Michigan on leader behavior came to similar conclusions. Both groups of researchers showed that effective leadership depends on a proper blending of an employee relationship-centered approach to em ployees’ needs with a production -centered approach to getting work done. A more recent study by Zenger-Miller, an international consulting and training firm, analyzed 1,871 examples of good and bad leadership, and used them to develop a list of 17 competencies that people most often associate with leadership: 5 1. setting or sharing a vision
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2. managing a change 3. focusing on the customer 4. dealing with individuals 5. supporting teams and groups 6. sharing information 7. solving problems, making decisions 8. managing business processes 9. managing projects 10. displaying technical skills 11. managing time and resources 12. taking responsibility 13. taking initiative beyond job requirements 14. handling emotions 15. displaying professional ethics 16. showing compassion 17. making credible presentations The 17 leadership competencies identified in the Zenger-Miller study suggest that today’s leaders are embodying many TQ principles in their routine leadership activities.
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