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Leadership theories by Mind Map: Leadership theories
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Leadership theories

Bolden, R., Gosling, J., Marturano, J., & Dennison, P. (2003). A Review Of Leadership Theory and Competency Frameworks Retrieved from    

Contingency or Situational Theory

Contingency-situational theories were developed to indicate that the style to be used is contingent upon such factors as the situation, the people, the task, the organisation, and other environmental variables

Theory Models

Fiedler's Contingency Model, There is no single best way for managers to lead. Situations will create different leadership style requirements for a manager., Three situations that could define the condition of a managerial task: 1. Leader member relations: How well do the manager and the employees get along? 2. Task structure: Is the job highly structured, fairly unstructured, or somewhere in between? 3. Position power: How much authority does the manager possess?

Hersey-Blanchard Model of Leadership, The developmental levels of a leader's subordinates play the greatest role in determining which leadership styles (leader behaviours) are most appropriate, Directing: The leader provides clear instructions and specific direction. This style is best matched with a low follower readiness level., Coaching: The leader encourages two-way communication and helps build confidence and motivation on the part of the employee, although the leader still has responsibility and controls decision making. Selling style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level., Supporting: With this style, the leader and followers share decision making and no longer need or expect the relationship to be directive. Participating style is best matched with a moderate follower readiness level., Delegating: This style is appropriate for leaders whose followers are ready to accomplish a particular task and are both competent and motivated to take full responsibility. Delegating style is best matched with a high follower readiness level., To determine the appropriate leadership style to use in a given situation, the leader must first determine the maturity level of the followers in relation to the specific task that the leader is attempting to accomplish through the effort of the followers.

Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s Leadership Continuum, leadership behaviour varies along a continuum and that as one moves away from the autocratic extreme the amount of subordinate participation and involvement in decision taking increases.

Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership Model, The action-centred leader gets the job done through the work team and relationships with fellow managers and staff, An action-centred leader must: • direct the job to be done (task structuring) • support and review the individual people doing it • co-ordinate and foster the work team as a whole

Great Man Theory

Born with innate qualities

destined to lead

Until the latter part of the twentieth century leadership was thought of as a concept which is primarily male, military and Western

Trait Theory

  Although there was little consistency in the results of the various trait studies, however, some traits did appear more frequently than others, including: technical skill, friendliness, task motivation, application to task, group task supportiveness, social skill, emotional control, administrative skill, general charisma, and intelligence.   Of these, the most widely explored has tended to be “charisma”.  

(It) draws on virtually all the adjectives in the dictionary which describe some positive or virtuous human attribute, from ambition to zest for life

Traits are hard to measure

acquire leaders through traits not skills

common to the military

No consistent traits were found in many studies

'some' or no traits did not mean you were a leader

Leadership skills & traits

Traits - Adaptable to situations - Alert to social environment - Ambitious and achievement-orientated - Assertive - Cooperative - Decisive - Dependable - Dominant (desire to influence others) - Energetic (high activity level) - Persistent - Self-confident - Tolerant of stress - Willing to assume responsibility Skills - Clever (intelligent) - Conceptually skilled - Creative - Diplomatic and tactful - Fluent in speaking - Knowledgeable about group task - Organised (administrative ability) - Persuasive - Socially skilled

Behaviourist Theory

  The results of the trait studies were inconclusive. Traits, amongst other things, were hard to measure. How, for example, do we measure traits such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, or diligence? Another approach in the study of leadership had to be found.    

This concentrates on 'doing' rather than personal qualities

Theory Models

focussed on human relationships

focussed on output & performance

McGregor’s Theory X & Theory Y Managers, A leader holding Theory X assumptions would prefer an autocratic style, whereas one holding Theory Y assumptions would prefer a more participative style

Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid, Five leadership styles, Country Club Management, Team Management, Organisation Man Management, Impoverished Management, Authority Obedience, Focuses on task (production) and employee (people) orientations of managers

The results of the trait studies were inconclusive.

Situational Leadership

leadership 'style' is flexible

leadership is specific to the situation

different styles at different levels in one organisation

Contingency Theory

a refinement of Situational Leadership

It identifies situational variables that predict the most appropriate/effective leadership style in a given circumstance

Transactional Therory

relational importance between leader and follower

mutual benefits of working together

rewards/recognition for commitment/loyalty

Transformational Theory

central concept is change

envisioning & implementing transformation of organisational performance

Early theories



Later theories


leadership in context of situations

Leaders and Followers

Servant Leadership

Doing real work in support of others instead of only the reverse

the leaders’ duty to serve his/her followers - leadership thus arises out of a desire to serve rather than a desire to lead

Following Leadership

Asking questions instead of giving answers

Providing opportunities for others to lead you

Becoming a matchmaker instead of a "central switch"

Seeking common understanding instead of consensus