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Evolution of Traditional Leadership Theories


Leadership and management have a long history of developing particular theories regarding technological context, social context, economic context, and other theoretical development systems. As leadership is a skill and quality, it develops day by day by providing some approaches and theories to practice in practical and professional life. In chronological perspectives, after servant leadership theory, Max Weber developed a very influential leadership theory that is Charismatic Leadership theory. Technological context includes the main field of economic perspectives, industrial management process, creating professional roles, to maintain business cultures and these types of area. This paper will demonstrate the evolution of traditional leadership theories.

Overview of the Methodology

In this paper, the author will emphasize on qualitative analysis of leadership and management theories and approaches. To explain the theories, the author also relies on the secondary data analysis method. To demonstrate the critical things, the author relies on some proficient international journals and published books. The author also emphasizes some desk reports, analytical journals and research papers to do an effective and critical evaluation of management and leadership theories.

Evolution of Traditional Leadership Theories

Leadership is the process of motivating the working situation of subordinates positively and leading the workers towards a target to attain within a particular time frame. From the very initial stage of the pre-industrial period, the leadership approaches and theories developed gradually.

Great Man Theory

The first appearance of leadership theory was around the beginning of the nineteenth century in between 1900 to 1930 AD. The first developed theory was the Great Man Theory. Great Man theory indicates that the leadership quality of a man or woman is not attainable by experience or practice but it indicates that the leadership quality is an in-born quality that a person got as a gift from God. In this way, those who got the leadership quality by in-born they are being separate from general people.

Participative Leadership Theory

The next leadership theory is the Participative leadership theory that was developed by K Lewin in 1939. This theory allows the teammates to give their opinion to decide by the leader and this theory also includes inclusive participation of the people.

The Behavioral Theory

The behavioral theory focuses on the behavior of the leader towards the people and this theory is the reverse of great man leadership theory as this theory indicates that leadership skill can be attained by the experience not in-born. This leadership theory became developed between 1960 to 1964.

The Contingency Leadership Theory

The contingency leadership theory is the most effective theory that indicates an effective leader can make his decision by analyzing the situation. When a leader is not able to face the situation properly, then he will not regard as an effective leader.

The Servant Leadership Theory

The servant leadership theory includes the collective interaction with the people in a group to attain a particular target. This theory also refers to maintaining diversity in the group and focusing on being an unselfish leader as well. In servant leadership theory, a leader led the team from the front by encouraging the people and by inspiring them. This theory is the reverse of the power-generating leadership style. The servant leadership theory was developed in 1970.

Charismatic Leadership Theory

Charismatic leadership theory has many positive and negative features that make the theory effective to apply in professional life as well as practical life. The charismatic leadership theory includes the higher confidence level of the leaders, the capability to influence the subordinates to gain positive changes, a charismatic leader must be visionary minded, a charismatic leader can present him in every situation to handle positively, and a charismatic leader can control the emotions of the subordinates to lead them towards the target.

Charismatic leadership theory also has some barriers such as charismatic leadership style is self or person oriented and need of power to apply in the professional career. As this theory is power practice-based, in this case, there can be an abuse of power in the practical field. In this theory, there is a lack of clarity of the leadership method. A charismatic leader can break the trust and faith of his subordinates in the road of his leadership journey as sometimes leaders need to apply power to reach the goal.

Ethical Leadership

Ethical leadership refers to that theory that follows by the full of stature and respect to the common beliefs regarding the moral and ethical perspectives of the subordinates in a team. In this way, the ethical leadership theory emphasizes the level of honesty of a leader, the tendency of being considerate about the situation, the level of clearer in terms of faithfulness. Ethics-based leadership also covers the basic standard and honor of a person of the society. In this theory, a leader cannot decide on the standard of the basic norms and values that inhabit a society. Ethical leadership theories have almost five principles that make heavy the ethical theory.

Among the principles, the first principle is to be respectful to the team members and colleagues. Secondly, try to build up a community based on ethical values. Thirdly to attain the goals it should be trying to work based on honesty. Fourthly to try of the show the justice manner to the peoples. And finally to serve the peoples having all of the ethical norms and values.

Entrepreneurial Leadership Theory

Entrepreneurial leadership theory refers to corresponding and putting in the motion to support the trend of participants. And who are became reformed by a particular target and vision to discover and unfold a strategic norm production. This theory includes generating long-term mutual relationships between the members. This theory also focuses on defining an effective power by the capacity and capability to impress other people. To emphasize setting a specific method of directing people positively. So, to motivate people by the charismatic way. To improve positive change in the society.

Prepared by: ATM Qutayba, Student, University of Dhaka

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