Examples of leadership theories

Written by kyra sheahan
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Examples of leadership theories
Some leadership theories can evoke feelings of worthiness by followers. (businessman image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com)

When it comes to leadership, theories can be broken down into categories of person-oriented and production-oriented leadership. The type of leadership style a person chooses to employ can be emblematic of his value system, or can be based on the leadership style he thinks will be most effective in getting the job done.

Supportive Theories

Being supportive is a valuable quality that may be appreciated in any relationship a person maintains, because it is an encouraging feature that propels, and motivates, others. Supportive leadership is not a whole lot different from being in a relationship with a supportive spouse. Supportive leaders are person-oriented and, thus, are committed to positively influencing, encouraging, propelling or motivating others to work toward a unified goal. In effect, a supportive leader gets the job done by valuing and building trust with followers so that people will want to help the leader reach his objectives. According to the February 2010 issue of Science Daily, successful relationships rely on the right kind of support. As such, leaders should be careful to employ a style of support that is appropriate for the circumstances.

Directive Theories

Directive leadership theories are production-oriented, and focus on telling people what to do and how to do it. In directive theories, leaders see themselves as being distant from their followers, so they do not have the same type of bond that supportive leaders have with subordinates. According to the 2001 update by the Encyclopedia of Informal Education, directive leadership is characterised by leaders making decisions for others and expecting those decisions to be followed. Also according to the article, people have a tendency to use a directive leadership approach when a quick turnaround time is required or when followers are used to being told what to do.

Participative Theories

In contrast to the directive leadership theory is the participative theory, where leaders welcome participation, influence, ideas and opinions from followers. The 2001 update by the Encyclopedia of Informal Education explains that participative theories are people-centred, and therefore it can be argued that followers of these leaders are happier and more satisfied than they would be with other types of leaders. Here, followers feel like they have a say, and thus gain a feeling of being valued and appreciated.

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