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Published on January 30, 2022 8 min
Other Talks in the Series: Key Concepts: Leadership Theory and Practice
Hi I'm Dr. Robert N. Lussier, Professor Emeritus at Springfield College. I have more than 475 publications with 8,000 plus Google Scholar citations, with book sales exceeding 2 million copies including a leadership book that this presentation is based on. I'm also a visiting professor through my publishdonotperish (website). I go to universities around the globe to improve student and faculty ability to get published, see my website: publishdonotperish.com for more details. Now in this talk, I'm going to be discussing leadership theories.
There are basically three primary leadership theories that have changed over time and the leadership paradigm is a shared mindset that represents a way of thinking about studying, researching and understanding leadership. They began with the trait theory, then developed a behavioral theory, moved onto a situational theory and then they tried to integrate the three and called it an integrative approach. We're going to talk about the three theories and the integrative approach individually.
First they started with the trait theory in the early 1900's focusing on identifying the innate qualities and characteristics possessed by great leaders. They were looking at the individual as a leader. Some of the traits they were looking at were things like intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and it was based very heavily on personality because personalities do affect how we lead. Now, the applications of trait theory it determined traits that can help you to lead. Organizations do use personality assessments today to identify how individuals will fit within their firms and with specific jobs. Have you ever taken an assessment for a job? There was criticism of the trait theory. First of all, they could never come up with a universal list that all effective managers had. There were always exceptions to the rule. They decided, "We are never going to come up with a list. We have these great traits that help, there's no clear list." Secondly, it was not very useful for training and development of leaders because it's based on personality and it's difficult to change people's personalities. Third criticism that it doesn't tell you how to behave with the followers, it was only focusing on the leader. Although trait theory is still used today they took a paradigm shift or they went to the second theory of the behavioral theory of leadership.