Leader/Context Interaction and Theory Applicability
In every organization, good leadership is paramount. Excellent leaders are vital for the success of any business. Regarding leadership, many theories explain how leadership works, how to be an effective leader, and what makes a good leader. Moreover, managers have the luxury of selecting a good leadership style based on the group they are leading. Leadership theories are dissimilar to leadership styles. In general, leadership theories explain why and how specific individuals become leaders, and the rest of the population becomes followers. They focus on behaviors, traits, and qualities that can increase one’s chances of becoming a leader. Research has revealed that certain traits and behaviors are regarded as the most essential to leaders worldwide. Leadership theories encompass how leaders develop and leverage these qualities. At present, leadership theories are more formalized. As a result, they are easier to analyze and understand. This paper will contrast the two theories of leadership: the behavior leadership theory and the great man leadership theory.
The great man leadership theory states that some people inherently possess ideal qualities which differentiate them from others. Therefore, these traits and qualities play a crucial role in assuming leadership, authority, and positions of power (MSG, n.d.). This theory is based on two assumptions. First, leaders are not made; they are born (MSG, n.d.). As a result, they possess specific traits and qualities that are inherited. Second, great leaders usually rise when there is a great need for good leadership. Historian Thomas Carlyle is accredited with the birth of this theory in the 1800s (MSG, n.d.). According to Thomas, an excellent leader is gifted with unique and outstanding qualities that impress a large population sector and captures the public’s imagination (MSG, n.d.). The great man theory suggests that people in power deserve to be in that position since they possess a special endowment. Also, this concept assumes that these qualities and traits are evident across different groups. Therefore, this theory suggests that all great leaders possess similar traits, qualities, and characteristics regardless of their geographic location (MSG, n.d.). To summarize, this theory struggles with criticism; for instance, opponents proclaim that the qualities declared as essential to be a great leader are conventional masculine traits.
The behavior leadership theory, also known as the style theory, asserts that great leaders are not based on their natural attributes but their behavior (WGU, 2020). In general, this theory concentrates on the behavior of leaders. It assumes that qualities and traits possessed by leaders can be copied and learned by other individuals (WGU, 2020). Therefore, the behavior leadership theory denounces the assertion that leaders are born. This theory proclaims that leaders are not born great. However, they are created by learning behavior from other leaders (WGU, 2020). Typically, this leadership theory focuses on leaders’ actions. Thus, it proclaims that the best predictor of leadership success is observing how leaders act.
The great man theory serves as the earliest theory of eldership. It asserts that successful leaders are inborn (Madachian et al., 2016). Hence, great leaders are not made. According to scholars, great leaders are mythic, heroic, and step up when leadership is needed. This theory seeks to clarify that leadership is inherited and innate (Madachian et al., 2016). Also, leaders are genetically wired with powerful leadership qualities that set them apart from their followers and subordinates. This concept accepts that leadership can be inherent. Consequently, the great man theory is because successful leaders are born, not made (Madachian et al., 2016). In calamitous situations, great leaders step up to the occasion and steady the ship; for example, great leaders develop solutions during times of conflict. They might choose to engage in war or employ peaceful negotiations. Whichever path they take, it proves to be the right choice.
copy these actions and handle tasks as effectively as the other leaders.
Concerning the behavioral learning theory, it is applicable in a variety of situations. For instance, the field of project management can make use of this theory. Project managers organize, plan, and direct others in the mission of project completion while ensuring timeliness and budget restraints. Thus, a project manager is a leader in a project. A project manager could have copied the traits and qualities of any project manager to become a successful leader. A good project manager is not born. Instead, they learn the behavior and attributes of other successful project managers. In addition, the behavior learning theory also applies in a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) position. Generally, a CEO is tasked with overseeing the organization’s success. Moreover, they are the ultimate power in decision-making.
People in lower managerial positions in a company can learn the CEO’s traits and behavior, hoping to become successful leaders. For instance, the Chief Human Resources Officer can learn the actions of the CEO hoping to occupy this position in the future, for example, following the resignation of Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs in 2011, Tim Cook, the then Senior Vice President, was appointed as CEO (Beahm, 2019). Generally, Cook may have copied the traits and qualities of Jobs to attain that CEO position. Conversely, the great man theory applies in certain situations. A nation’s leadership
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