Leadership theories, Leadership styles, Attributes of a good leader Abstract

Leadershiptheories, Leadership styles, Attributes of a good leader


Thisresearch has examined the most significant leadership theories,styles of leadership as well as characteristic of a good leader.First, the most significant leadership theories will be examinedusing various literature reviews. The most significant theories ofleadership highlighted include autocratic/authoritative,participative, trait theories, behaviorist theories, andtransformational leadership. Finally, this paper has examined somecharacteristics of a good leader. This research found out that thedemocratic style of leadership is the most prevalent in today’sbusiness environment that is dynamic and competitive. Thus, it isvery significant for companies to keep up with the regular changesand hire individuals with the most effective managing abilities. Forthis reason, managers require to know how to manage effectively anduse the suitable style of leadership, for improved performance.Essentially, this research has found that an outstanding leaderexhibits factors that can influence others and accomplishorganization goals and objectives.

Leadershipis a basic and significant management function that can be developedthrough training, education and experience. The style of leadershipis a primary concern because of its effect on subordinates whoseproductiveness improves with specific leadership styles. Thisresearch is significant and demonstrates the behavior of a goodleader. The main purpose of this research is to review how leadershipcan be analyzed using respective leadership theories and leaderscharacteristics. Leadership interest has increased throughout thehistory of humans, with formal theories of leadership having emergedrecently. While early theories of leadership focuses on somepersonality traits that make certain individuals suitable forleadership roles, subsequent theories centers on other variables forinstance skills and situational factors. Using the literature review,this study intends to explore leadership theories embraced by mostmanagers namely autocratic/authoritative, participative, traittheories, behaviorist theories and transformational leadership. Onthe other hand, leadership styles analyzed include democratic styleor participative leadership, authoritative leadership, situationalleadership, transactional leadership and transformational leadership.Finally, this paper analyzed some characteristic that makes a goodleader such as empowering, visionary, sensitive, motivating andcommunicating.


Intheir article Schyns et al. (2011, p. 399) states that teachingstudents about implicit leadership theories is vital and will help tospread the socially shaped perceptions (Schyns et al. (2011, p. 399).Alternatively, Malos (2012, p. 413) identified the most importantleadership theories that include Great man theories that assumeleadership is natural and not manmade. These theories assume thatgreat leaders are exceptional individuals born and destined to lead.The Great man term was used intentionally as many thought leadershipas a concept primarily associated with men. Secondly, traitleadership theories are made up of assumption that individualsinherit some traits and qualities to help them best suited inleadership roles. Trait theories identify certain personality orbehaviors traits shared by leaders. However, it is hard using traittheories to explain how certain individuals possess leadershipqualities but have not become leaders. Situational theories, on theother hand, suggest that leadership is an approach that focuses onsituational variables that predict the most effective style ofleadership (Malos, 2012, p. 414).

Alternatively,behaviorist theories concentrate more on what leaders can do insteadof their qualities. Using these theories different behavior patternsare observed and then categorized as leadership styles. Thesetheories assume that great leaders are manmade, and individuals canlearn how to lead through teaching, as well as observations.Participative theories suggest that the best style of leadership isthat which considers other people’s input into account.Participative leaders encourage contributions from other groupmembers, and this makes them feel relevant in the process of decisionmaking. Malos (2012, p.418) noted that transactional leadershiptheories are also known as management theories and focus onsupervision role, performance of both the organization and the group.These theories are based on assumptions that certain leaders mayinspire subordinates to apply extra-ordinary efforts in order toattain company’s goals. Lastly, transformational leadership theoryor relationship theories center on the relationship between leadersand their subordinates. For this reason, transformation leaders focuson group members’ performance and attempt to inspire and motivatethem in order to fulfill their potential. In additional, leadersusing this style of leadership usually have high moral and ethicalstandards (Malos, 2012, p. 418).


McCleskey(2014, p.117) suggests that the style of leadership is characterizedby the leader’s personality, behavior, how he communicates andguides others towards attaining both organizational and personalgoals. The first category of leadership style is the autocratic stylealso known as authoritative leadership. This style is characterizedby coerciveness and uncompromised managers that give orders withstrictness. An autocratic leader uses his position to influencerewards and force subordinates to comply with orders. Therefore,authoritarian leaders employ control as the main strategy to manage.Their behavior is not questionable, and they decide alone. As amatter of fact, subordinates’ contributions in the process ofdecision making is not considered with their consent is unnecessaryfor all decisions in the organizations. Particularly, managers setemployee’s tasks, and no flexible space is left for initiatives anddecisions. Therefore, this research found that in view ofglobalization, this type of leadership is ineffective as subordinatebecome independent, knowledgeable and competent (McCleskey, 2014,p.118).

Onthe other hand, the democratic style or participative leadership ischaracterized by sharing of decision making between the leader andthe subordinates. In this type of leadership subordinates’participation in the organization’s process of decision making issignificant. Moreover, subordinates consent must constantly beobtained before any changes in the organization get implemented. Infact, a participative leader is friendly and discusses with thesubordinates work-related issues, their intentions and give time tosubordinate to air their ideas and opinions. In this type ofleadership subordinate opinions and suggestions submitted to themanagement are carefully considered and put into practice. On theother hand, interpersonal relationships are reinforced andencouraged. This style of leadership is perceived as effective in themodern organization where decision sharing with the group members isfavorable. Transactional leadership is a popular style based oncontingency assumptions that reward or punishment is used to motivatepeople in their performance. Therefore, a transactional leaderattempts to come up with clear structures that define subordinaterewards for following the required orders. On the other hand, aformal discipline system is put into place and punishments arewell-understood. This style of leadership assumes that with the bestchain of command social system work best (McCleskey, 2014, p. 122).Transformational leadership is based on assumptions that peoplefollow individuals with a vision, passion, and inspiration.Transformational leaders are charismatic and seek to transform byutilizing every opportunity to inject enthusiasm and energy intoothers. This type of leaders creates trust in their followers usingtheir personal integrity which is a significant part of them andtheir vision.

Situationalleadership is a concept that shows how leaders match their leadershipstyle to a given situation such as a crisis where a swift decision isrequired. Situational leaders use this style of leadership to respondto the requirements of a certain situation. However, in this style ofleadership other variables such as the culture of the organizationand group member characteristic are significant (McCleskey, 2014, p.121).

Attributesof a good leader

Leadershipis significant for things to get done in any organization howeverthe traits of a good leader determine the subordinates will tofollow. The character of a leader is a personality aspect thatgoverns an individual’s ability to select certain behaviorsresponse. According to Singh et al. (2012, p. 11)aninvestigation done to review subordinates perspectives regardingcharacteristics of best and worst supervisors found that the mainattribute of a good leader is visionary. Visionary leaders areknowledgeable, self-assured, rewarding, empowering, inspiring andrewarding of their subordinates. Secondly, this investigationdemonstrated that leaders that show care and concern towardssubordinate are good bosses. A good leader treat their subordinateswith dignity and respect at all times and situations. Moreover, ashow of humility is a characteristic of a good boss where they listenand take the blame instead of becoming arrogant and overbearing. Agood and effective leader empowers their subordinates instead ofmicromanaging them. As a result, this fosters learning, creativity,growth and effectiveness (Singh et al., 2012, p. 11).

Thirdly,an effective leader is sensitive and support interpersonalinteractions among the subordinates. A good boss is a good listenerof employees’ ideas and opinions and help to clarify their will.Traditionally, leaders with communication and decision-making skillsare highly valued. Leaders following this policy enhancecommunication between managers and employees. Empathy is anothertrait of a good leader. This characteristic is portrayed in a leaderwho tries to empathize with and understand others. The most effectiveleaders are skilled, empathetic listeners and accept as well asrecognize other people’s special and unique spirits (Singh et al.,2012, p. 13).

Additionally,a good leader regularly communicates with subordinates about theirmission and vision in order to keep everyone focused. A true leaderis often visible, and communicates with employees more face to facethan using a written word to ensure everyone is abreast with thehappenings in the company. Another significant factor of goodleadership is motivation. Motivation of employees is crucial since itleads to greater willingness to work along with higher productivity.Good leader should be influential and inspiring since this abilitycan flow to others. Effective leaders should have a strong characterwith qualities such as courage, integrity, pati4cne and self-control.Finally, charismatic is another attribute of a good leader. Acharismatic leader is self-confident, influential and magnetic (Singhet al., 2012, p. 11).


Inconclusion, a mystery still exists why some leaders are moreeffective than others. Generally, how an organization effectivelyachieves its goals and objectives depends on the leadership style.Leaders are highly tasked with making change in the organizationhappen. This paper has analyzed the theories of leadership and stylesand how a good leader should treat their subordinates. Leadershiptheories discussed include the great man theories that assume leadersare heroes born and destined to lead. On the other hand, the traitleadership theories assume leaders. Situational theories focus onsituational variables while behaviorist theories use differentobserved behavior patterns. Finally, participative theories considerother people and encourage contributions from other group members.Leadership styles discussed on the other hand include autocraticstyle, transactional leadership transformational leadership andsituational leadership. In summary, leadership can be defined byability to motivate, collaborate and manage others. Therefore, a goodleader has a balance between behavior, traits, abilities, power andsituational aspects.


Malos,R. (2012). TheMost Important Leadership Theories. Lecturer PhD., Faculty of Economics, Eftimie Murgu University ofReşiţa, România.

McCleskey,J. A. (2014). Situational, Transformational, and TransactionalLeadership and Leadership Development.Journal of Business Studies Quarterly.5, 117-124.

Schyns,B. Kiefer, T. Kerschreiter, A., &amp Tymon, R. (2011). TeachingImplicit Leadership Theories to Develop Leaders and Leadership: Howand Why It Can Make a Difference. Academyof Management Learning &amp Education.10, 397–408.

Singh,P. Nadim, A. &amp Ezzedeen S. (2012). Leadership styles and GenderAn extension. JournalOf Leadership Studies,5, 5-7.