Different leadership theories have developed throughout the years. For decades, there have been source of numerous studies on the theories of leadership. The developments of leadership studies over time have created many different theories of leadership. The history of modern scientific approach to leader can be divided into three general eras. The three main theoretical frameworks have dominated leadership research at different points in time.
These included the trait era from late 1800s to mid-1940s, the behavioral era from mid-1940s to early 1970s, and the contingency or situational era from early 1960s to present. According to Nahavandi, the trait era commonly believed that leaders, by virtue of their birth, were born to lead others. Because the trait era did not yield the expected results, researchers turned to behaviors, rather than traits, as the source of effective leadership. The behavior era emphasizes what an effective leader does and how they perform. Even before the behavior era’s lack of success in fully explaining and predicting leadership effectiveness became evident, researchers were searching for a more comprehensive approach to understanding leadership. That’s not until the early 1960s; Fred Fiedler developed a leadership research that refocused from simplistic models based solely on the leader to more complex models that take a contingency point of view. The contingency era puts forth that the personality, style, or behavior of effective leaders depends on the requirements of the situation in which the leaders find themselves.
Although each era has made distinct contributions to the understanding of leadership, the early theories that are the foundations of modern leadership address either the way leaders use resources or the relationship between the leader and the follower. While many different leadership theories have emerged throughout the years, one of many major theories that was addressed in this week’s literature are; the Contingency Model, the Normative Decision Model, the Path-Goal Theory, the Substitutes for Leadership Model, and Leader-Member Exchange Model. The Contingency Model assume that the leader’s style is determined by internal traits and therefore difficult to change, the Normative Decision Model relies on decision-making styles that are assumed to be learnable, the Path-Goal Theory proposes that the leader’s main function is to remove obstacles in the subordinates’ path to allow them to perform their jobs and to be motivated and satisfied, the Substitutes for Leadership Model explores situations in which a relationship between the leader and subordinates is not needed and is replaced by individual, group, and organizational factors, and Leader-Member Exchange Model focuses on the dyadic relationship between a leader and each follower and proposes the concept of in-groups and out-groups as the defining element of that relationship. Through all these different changes improved leadership practice by expanding different views of leadership, a deeper look at the different styles that you can use, and leading to the board acceptance and establishment of the concept of contingency in leadership. Leaders often need to adapt their style to fit a specific group or situation, and this is why it’s useful to gain a thorough understanding of different theories. These ideas are being employed in public organizations and non-profit organizations by helping leaders determine and establish values, culture, communication, building relationship, creating goals, and employee motivation. Whether is a public organizations or non – profit organization such as government agencies, healthcare industry, education industry, or non-profit organizations, these ideas directly influence leaders and their effectiveness in leading their employees. In addition, these ideas also help create a combination of and match between the leader and the leadership situation in organizations.