Systems of opinion that describe how particular people emerge as leaders are known as leadership theories. While many of these theories concentrate on the qualities of effective leaders, others look for the actions that individuals may do to enhance their individual leadership skills in various contexts. Historical research on the psychology of leadership suggests that individuals are endowed with innate leadership talents (Hofstad & Vedeld, 2021). Several other modern views contend that some characteristics may assist individuals in becoming natural leaders, but that expertise and environmental factors are equally important.
Over the past century, a rise in fascination with the psychology of leadership has emerged. As a result, various leadership theories have indeed been developed to describe why and how specific people succeed as successful great leaders. Although individuals have historically been concerned with leadership across humanity’s civilization, several distinct leadership theories have recently emerged (Javed et al., 2019). In the early decades of the 20th century, leadership became more popular. While later theories examined other criteria like situational conditions and skill sets, earlier leadership views emphasized the characteristics that set leaders apart from subordinates (S. Jameel & Ahmad, 2020). The paper will encompass three leadership theories: relational, transactional, and behavioral.
Relational Leadership Theory
Relational leadership theory (RLT) focuses on leaders’ capacity to forge strong bonds with company members. It also has to do with how persons cooperate to advance society or bring about a constructive transformation at work. Relational leaders encourage people to strengthen their existing abilities and learn new ones using their empathetic abilities (Kinder et al., 2021). A relational leader wants to foster their team members’ career advancement by encouraging excellent interpersonal improvement and progression to realize a mutual vision.
Transactional Leadership Theory
With strict constraints and measures in place across a company’s whole operational lifespan, transactional leadership entails a more regulated leadership style. The relations between managers and subordinates emphasize transactional leadership, often known as managerial leadership. Workers are usually provided with their objectives and required to strive toward them while closely supervised (Muff et al., 2020). Everyone is also required to abide by the tight rules established by the organization. Workers who achieve their objectives are rewarded, whereas individuals who miss their goals receive criticism. The fundamental idea behind transactional leadership is that the person in charge of their team, or subordinates, rewards them for doing what the manager demands.
Behavioral Leadership Theory
As its term suggests, the behavioral leadership theory centers on how various leaders respond and perform around others. The only emphasis on behaviors disregards the characteristics of a leader and focuses only on the very acts that leaders execute in response to a specific circumstance. According to this belief, leaders are created, not birthed. Some behavioral theories assume that certain innate behaviors are a component of leaders’ personalities (Javed et al., 2019). Contrary to that, various views of behavioral leadership believe that any leader can thrive by being able to pick up and use specified behaviors.
The behavioral leadership theory has a lot of applications. Specialists look at behavioral tendencies, after which they are further expounded, sorted, and characterized. Leaders can use the behavioral leadership theory’s evaluation standards to assess any skilled leader. According to this view, all leaders are adept at growing and improving due to embracing positive habits and putting them into practice in their profession (Muff et al., 2020). Behavioral leadership also encourages leaders to be conscious of their conduct and understand how it impacts the output and mood of their workforce. The ultimate objective is to determine which actions contribute to optimal organizational productivity and management and which activities result in low performance, demoralization, and other traits of underperforming companies.
Relational Leadership Theory
Relational leadership consists of the following five elements as principles:
These fundamental principles motivate a leader to act or produce a result. Grounded moral principles and conscientious decision-making practices are essential characteristics of relational leaders. Relational leadership styles employ values to create leadership behaviors. They guarantee that the leader displays actions that excite their teammates, enabling the team to feel integrated and promoting a sense of trust (Kinder et al., 2021). A relational leader frequently establishes the standard for how their team members should operate to accomplish their objective by leading by example.
A relational leader encourages inclusiveness, particularly when it comes to the thoughts and views of associates. Before introducing a modification or settling on a decision, a relational leadership style considers all inquiries and reservations that workers might have. It incorporates all employee viewpoints to determine what adjustments to adopt (Kinder et al., 2021). An inclusive CEO fosters a culture where every group member can contribute to the company’s success. The connector who enables those team members to contribute is the relational leader.
Giving team members the freedom to develop independent choices and express their thoughts and viewpoints freely is essential for being a competent relational leader. Workers should participate in collective decisions and be allowed to feel engaged (Muff et al., 2020). Offering workers this kind of control makes them feel like they are making a difference for the better, which may boost their enthusiasm and work efficiency.
Process orientation describes how a team interacts and works as a unit. Successful relational leaders recognize that the journey towards an objective is just as important as the destination (S. Jameel & Ahmad, 2020). A relational leadership style ensures that every team member is aware of their responsibilities, has a firm understanding of why they are there, and knows what must be done to accomplish the team’s objectives.
Being committed to each particular objective while still learning about the shared interests of coworkers is what it signifies to be purposeful. A relational leader can assist in determining shared aims, arranging them, and predicting how they will turn out (S. Jameel & Ahmad, 2020). All teammates are included in the effort of picturing a result by an excellent relational leader, which gives them a perception of inclusion, significance, and meaning.
Transactional Leadership Theory
Among the traits of transactional leaders are the following:
Emphasizing short-term objectives. Because output and performance are so important, managers must see gains immediately. Individuals accomplish their strategic goals more quickly with the aid of short-term targets.
Incentivizing framework, strategy, and guidelines. Here, leadership behavior is more about strictly adhering to organizational directives than creativity and original thought. Workers who deviate from this framework may receive a penalty.
A focus on effectiveness. Employees are required to put all their effort towards providing outcomes promptly because there is no leeway for originality due to the rigid framework.
Rewarding and chastising. Employees who fulfil company productivity objectives are praised courteously, whereas those who do not may face disciplinary measures.
Reactive. Transactional leadership tends to respond to issues upon lacking other alternatives instead of anticipating or preparing for problems.
Embracing order. This strategy also upholds that each individual is aware of their position within the power structure and does not stray from it to maintain order.
Micromanagement. Although not all forms of transactional leadership involve micromanagement, several argue that rigorous supervision is the best way to increase worker productivity and generate optimal performance (S. Jameel & Ahmad, 2020). This also applies to the general strategy for the manufacturing schedule.
Behavioral Leadership Theory
The preceding three studies serve as excellent examples of the concepts in this strategy:
The Leadership Studies at the University of Michigan
The strategy ignored the leaders’ circumstances and whether they changed their conduct over time by focusing entirely on behavioral leadership theory. The leadership research at Michigan University identified two groups of leadership behaviors: employee and job-oriented behaviors. According to the Michigan Leadership Studies, both employee and job-oriented leaders can be effective and provide exceptional results (Satish, 2021).
The Michigan leadership research implies that these two leadership traits are essentially unique, and a single individual cannot exhibit both forms of behavior. This is consistent with most behavioral leadership strategies (Satish, 2021). As a result, leaders are either production or employee-oriented. Successive modifications concluded that the two leadership philosophies did not have to be antagonistic. The study’s final finding was that leaders who prioritized their teams’ efforts while also emphasizing results ultimately had the highest output rates.
The Managerial Grid of Blake and Mouton
Based on their degree of care for individuals against output, executives can rapidly identify what leadership approach they adopt using the managerial grid. Human compassion entails giving workers and other participants the attention, understanding, and wellness they deserve (Satish, 2021). Care for yield, performance, and other factors are all a part of care for production.
In the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid, five management philosophies are depicted on a grid with the leader’s degree of care for individuals on the y-axis and respect for performance on the x-axis. Blake and Mouton’s managerial grid has five management philosophies: team, authority-compliance, middle-of-the-road, and country club management.
The Leadership Studies at Ohio State University
Scholars at Ohio State University aimed to determine how various leadership practices impacted leadership function. Two groups, initiating structure and consideration behavior, were created after it was discovered that numerous diverse behaviors that affected leadership performance could be accurately identified.
A group of leadership practices termed initiating structure aims to give a company direction and design. Elevated rates of initiating-structure behavior result in clearly defined roles, responsibilities, timelines, and supposition, which reduces worker uncertainty. Regarding connections and people’s well-being, consideration behavior falls within the area of leadership behaviors (Satish, 2021). Their consideration behaviors determine the leader’s level of compassion and attention to individuals.
According to the Ohio State leadership study, these two leadership traits can result in four possible results, or quadrants, with four distinctive leadership philosophies representing the conduct of the leader. The significant primary findings of the Ohio State Leadership Studies are that high consideration behavior and a high initiating structure are displayed simultaneously by the most capable administrators. Individuals can acquire that leadership skill.
Relational Leadership Theory
Improves team spirit: Empowering workers makes them feel important and appreciated in initiatives and business objectives. Team members develop into devoted executives with a stake in the organization to whom you may assign duties successfully.
Collaboration is developed: Workers work together in a relational leadership paradigm to achieve a productive organizational objective. Leaders can establish open responses and interaction to determine whether workers are doing tasks appropriate for their expertise.
Promotes transformation: Relational leadership creates a basis for team members to collaborate on a single objective, which helps speed up modification (Kinder et al., 2021). The team can envision higher shared goals by working to accomplish lesser shared aims.
Failing to understand the purpose and obligations of one’s position: Lack of awareness of the extent of one’s role’s duties as a relationship leader is one of the prevalent mistakes managers might undertake (Vriend et al., 2020). When this occurs, it may make it more difficult for them to manage their staff correctly.
Putting importance below immediacy: With so many activities to complete, individuals begin hurrying through them all without giving them enough thought or assigning the proper level of accountability.
Not planning for or adjusting to digital change: Leaders must continuously examine their surroundings to adapt their plans in a rapidly evolving world (Vriend et al., 2020). But many businesses fall short in this regard. They do not rapidly modify their strategy when the industry evolves or when rivals bring new goods and solutions.
Transactional Leadership Theory
It might be more economical: It is less probable that additional intermediaries will be required to assist direct workers and control company production when a firm or business uses an upper-edge strategy governed by tight policies and guidelines.
It is a beautiful method for achieving short-term objectives: Transactional leadership is a great approach to get matters progressing and keep them moving—to fulfil scheduled targets if timeliness is crucial to one’s production deadlines.
It encourages conditions in the workplace where recurrence is beneficial: Transactional leadership is an excellent technique to empower organizations of any size that depend on recurring output to satisfy production requirements. The smoother manufacturing operates, the more processes are simplified and optimized.
Worker motivational incentives may be insufficient: Industrious employees frequently receive bonuses, free lunches, days off, or other benefits. Such incentives may be viewed as average and do not always motivate workers to surpass their work potential.
The paradigm does not permit modifications: Never changing is one of the core principles of transactional leadership. Following such a rigid strategy can prevent a business from investigating a new approach that might result in better achievement.
There can be a great deal of demand on leaders to perform well: Transactional executives may have a heavy obligation at every stage due to a top-down leadership style that discourages staff participation.
Behavioral Leadership Theory
According to behavioral theory, the principle of leadership focuses on teamwork and care for others. By fostering individualized necessities and coordinating personal and organizational goals, it encourages collective judgment and the growth of teams.
It supports dedication and participation in achieving company objectives and aids managers in assessing how their management style influences their interactions with their teams (Satish, 2021).
This theory aids managers in choosing the best mix of many leadership philosophies and guiding them in how to act as a leader based on considerations for both individuals and performance.
The behavioral theory of leadership suggests various leadership philosophies. However, not every situation will suit a given stand of leadership. When investigators put serious effort into this, their presumptions did not appear to be supported (Arendt et al., 2019). While behavioral theories may aid in developing specific leadership behaviors in managers, they offer minimal direction as to what makes good leadership in various contexts.
There were several discrepancies and contradictions in the investigations. It was impossible to pinpoint the leadership approach that made one group perform better than another. As opposed to what was once believed, the policies that leaders can embrace are far more influenced by the individuals they interact with and the setting in which they operate. Most experts presently conclude that no single leadership approach is appropriate for any manager in all situations.
Outstanding social understanding, the capability to adapt to circumstances, inner qualities like consciousness and self-mastery, and most importantly, the aptitude to concentrate on the matters that deserve their concentration are all traits that great leaders are frequently praised for having. Everyone else would benefit from having these talents as well.
Relational leadership theory is essential to the study of psychology as patterns are needed to be established when drawing decisions by team members. Individuals under the direction of a relational leader exhibit creativity and innovation at each stage of generating ideas, concept propagation, and idea implementation (Kinder et al., 2021). Since the decision-making process is all-inclusive, patterns between the subordinates and executives relating with ease while debating the best way forward for the company are established. Hence it plays a significant role in the psychology of both parties.
Relationships between leaders and followers are the emphasis of transactional leadership. It is frequently applied to the interaction between teachers and pupils in educational settings. Learners must undertake assignments, projects, or tests, and if they do well, they will receive good grades or be able to pass. According to the behavioral leadership hypothesis, leaders’ effectiveness is determined by their behavior instead of their inherent qualities (Arendt et al., 2019). Behavioral leadership theory involves studying a leader’s deeds and habits in response to a particular scenario.
Being in the marketing industry, the particular leadership theory I can easily relate to is the relational leadership theory. This leadership approach works best for my colleagues and me because it significantly impacts staff engagement and improvement (Kinder et al., 2021). I consider relational leadership vital because it emphasizes developing productive relationships at work and using those interactions to strive toward a common objective. Knowing as much about relational leadership will enable me to assess its suitability for team leadership and communicate its tenets to my team.
Psychology’s primary goal is to comprehend human behavior. One could contend that psychology is lacking if race and variety are not discussed in terms of their influence and significance. According to psychologist Robert M. Sellers, “Before psychological science can legitimately assert that it comprehends a specific psychological concept or situation, it must encompass the complete variety of human encounters. It is crucial that the laws we create to govern human conduct are based on data that accurately reflects the diversity in human behavior,” (Vriend et al., 2020).
Including diversity-related topics in psychological study and practice is essential for this reason. People’s points of view and psyche are shaped by their various racial and cultural affiliations. Being a representative of the general populace is advantageous for people working in the profession of psychology (S. Jameel & Ahmad, 2020). A varied group of clientele who might not have previously considered counselling as consideration are given access to counselling by a mixed group of psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists.
Learning about leadership develops an arsenal of solutions that best prepare one for upcoming situations. They will become more adept at selecting, adjusting, and changing their strategy as the scenario requires if they can identify which method suits them best and which may be more suitable in particular systems. Individuals can utilize various leadership philosophies in combination with others because they cover or complement one another. For instance, while transformational leadership may enthuse staff members with a fresh perspective, somebody still needs to put a strategy into motion and carry out the necessary transactional tasks to reach their goal. Leaders who exhibit strong characteristics from any orientation are likely to perform effectively than those who are competent and skillful in just one. Added to the blends in later research are static and change-oriented leadership behaviors. Rather, I advise using a blend of the three aforementioned theories of leadership if one wishes to become a better leader. They have been incredibly helpful to me in my role as the CEO of my marketing firm, and I have no doubt that they would be helpful to others as equally.
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