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Evolution of the Behavorial Leadership Model

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Behavioral Theories of Leadership Behavioral theory promotes the value of leadership styles with an emphasis on concern for people and collaboration

It promotes participative decision making and team development by supporting individual needs and aligning individual and group objectives. Behavioral Theories of Leadership, also known as “The style approach to leadership” focuses on the behavior of the leader and what leaders do and how they act. Learn about the two general kinds of behaviors; task behaviors and relationship behaviors and advantages of this approach to leadership. Learn more about this theory of leadership.

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In beginning of 1950s, focus of leadership research shifted away from leader traits to leader’s behaviors. Purpose of this research was that the behavior exhibited by the leaders is more important than their physical, mental, emotional traits or internal state. Behavioral theories differentiate between effective leaders from ineffective leaders. Behavioral theories of leadership are based on the belief that great leaders are made, not born. According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through training and observations, thus, anyone can become a leader if they want to. Leadership is composed of two general kinds of behaviors: task behavior and relationship behavior. Task behavior focus on goal accomplishment and help subordinates in achieving their behavior while relationship behavior help subordinates to feel comfortable at workplace. Central focus of this approach is to examine how leaders combine these two types of behavior in order to make subordinates to put their efforts to reach a goal. Many studies have been conducted to investigate the behavioral approach. Some of the first studies were conducted at Ohio State University in late 1940s. At the same time, another group of researchers at Michigan University were studying leadership functions. These studies sparked hundreds of other leadership studies and are still widely used

The Michigan leadership studies took place at about the same time as those at Ohio Studies. The focus of the Michigan studies was to determine the principles and methods of leadership that led to productivity and job satisfaction. The studies resulted in two general leadership behaviors or orientations: an employee orientation and production orientation (Likert). Leaders with an employee orientation showed genuine concern for interpersonal relations, while those with a production orientation focused on the task or technical aspects of the job. The supporters proposed that the more the leader is employee oriented, the lesser he’ll be production oriented and vice versa. He suggested that employee oriented approach results in the most positive outcomes.

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Behavioral approach of leadership study focuses on abilities of leaders or managers to mobilize human resources to achieve organizational goals. Perspective of behavioral approach in leadership is that individual behaviors cumulatively determine organizational behaviors, which ultimately determine the organization’s capacity to meet its goals. McGlone (2005) affirms that effective leadership depends on behavioral influence of leaders on individuals or groups in an organization (p.3). Hence, the ability of leaders or managers to influence employees through supervision and motivation shapes organizational behavior, which is essential in achieving desired goals.The weakness of behavioral approach of leadership is that it focuses too much on general interests of employees while neglecting development of individual and infrastructural capacity of an organization. Behavioral approach of leadership assumes that organizational behavior and employee motivation are the only critical factors that are essential for an organization to achieve its objectives. Furthermore, behavioral approach of leadership presumes that leadership skills emanate from organizational behavior and not inherent in individual abilities. In this perspective, the behavioral approach of leadership fails to recognize the inherent skills and talents that an individual can contribute towards an organization. McGlone (2005) argues that, although organizational behavior can motivate employees, they still need technical skills and infrastructure to optimize their potential (p.9)

Thus, for an organization to achieve its objectives comprehensively, it must consider both individual capacities and infrastructural needs.

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Ultimately, some employees may have answered neutral to this question because they may not want to be involved in making decisions that affect their jobs; or some employees may want an over-ahundance of involvement in making job decisions that could lead to overruling of their leaders. Therefore, it is recommended that actions be taken to increase and encourage teamwork efforts and to compose a more thorough and clear-cut question in next years employee survey

These questions are more direct and offer a more focused representation of employee desires. Many have tried to establish a definition of leadership that encompasses the intricacy of this universal term. One simplified definition of leadership is “the process of influencing an organized group toward accomplishing its goals”. This definition emphasizes the importance of viewing leadership as a process, directed at influencing a specific group of people to meet a stated objective.

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McGinnis, S. (2006). Organizational Behavior and Management Thinking. Organization Management Journal, 6(2), 37-57.

McGlone, J. (2005). Major Approaches to the Study of Leadership. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 1-12.

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