Major Approach to Studying Leadership
Monday June 11th, 2012
Major Approach to Studying Leadership Leaderships’ definition eludes many scholars and researchers when they try to define what makes a good leader. Most can agree that four things must occur for consideration of a leader. First, a person must influence others. Second, there must be followers. Third, leaders become visible when a need for a unique response requires action. Fourth, leaders have a clear goal, know what to achieve, and for what reasons (Doyle & Smith, 2012). Literature over the past 80 years has narrow leadership into five major main theories: (1) trait approach, (2) behavior approach, (3) power-influence approach, (4) situational approach, and (5) integrative approach (Yukl, 2010). The researchers of the trait approach in the 1940s gave up the pursuit of discovering leaders traits because of a lack of exact data. They turn to looking at how leaders behaved. Several types of research and surveys pointed to two major categories (some reports had additional categories but there was always two major areas) or styles. These are task-oriented or concerns for task and people-oriented or concern for people. Task-oriented behaviors comprise of defining the roles of the followers, providing them instructions, looking for high levels of productivity, and behaving in ways that increase the performance of the followers (Carpenter, Bauer, & Endogan, 2009). Task-oriented styles also look for ways to organize followers and the activities that they do by achieving their objectives.
The task-oriented leader focuses on getting the work done. They define the work, the roles, the structures, the plan, the organization, and monitor it all. The benefit of task-oriented style ensures deadline completions. This benefit allows followers to be useful when