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“Great Man”
2. Trait
3. Behavioral
4. Participative
5. Situational
6. Contingency
7. Transactional
8. Transformational
What is theory?
a coherent group of tested general
propositions, commonly regarded as
correct, that can be used as principles of
explanation and prediction for a class of
phenomena: Einstein's theory of
relativity. Synonyms: principle, law,
“Great Man” theory
Great man theories assume that the
capacity for leadership is inherent – that
great leaders are born, not made.
 These theories often portray great
leaders as heroic, mythic and destined
to rise to leadership when needed.
 The term "Great Man" was used
because, at the time, leadership was
thought of primarily as a male quality,
especially in terms of military leadership.
“Great Man” theory
The great man theory of leadership became
popular during the 19th-century.
The mythology behind some of the world's
most famous leaders such as Abraham
Lincoln, Julius Caesar, Mahatma Gandhi, and
Alexander the Great helped contribute to the
notion that great leaders are born and not
In many examples, it seems as if the right man
for the job seems to emerge almost magically
to take control of a situation and lead a group
of people into safety or success.
“Great Man” theory
Historian Thomas Carlyle also had a
major influence on this theory of
leadership, at one point stating that,
"The history of the world is but the
biography of great men." According to
Carlyle, effective leaders are those
gifted with divine inspiration and the
right characteristics.
“Great Man” theory
Some of the earliest research on
leadership looked at people who were
already successful leaders.
 These individuals often included
aristocratic rulers who achieved their
position through birthright.
 Because people of a lesser social status
had fewer opportunities to practice and
achieve leadership roles, it contributed to
the idea that leadership is an inherent
“Great Man” theory
Even today, people often describe
prominent leaders as having the right
qualities or personality for the position,
implying that inherent characteristics are
what make these people effective
“Trait” theory
Similar in some ways to "Great Man" theories,
trait theories assume that people inherit
certain qualities and traits that make them
better suited to leadership.
Trait theories often identify particular
personality or behavioral characteristics
shared by leaders.
If particular traits are key features of
leadership, then how do we explain people
who possess those qualities but are not
leaders? This question is one of the difficulties
in using trait theories to explain leadership.
“Trait” theory
The trait theory suggests that individual
personalities are composed broad
 Consider how you would describe the
personality of a close friend. Chances are
that you would list a number of traits, such
as outgoing, kind and even-tempered.
 A trait can be thought of as a relatively
stable characteristic that causes individuals
to behave in certain ways.
“Trait” theory
The trait approach to personality is
focused on differences between
 The combination and interaction of
various traits forms a personality that is
unique to each individual.
 Trait theory is focused on identifying and
measuring these individual personality
“Trait” theory
Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory
 In 1936, psychologist Gordon Allport
found that one English-language
dictionary alone contained more than
4,000 words describing different
personality traits.
 He categorized these traits into three
Cardinal Traits
Traits that dominate an individual’s whole life,
often to the point that the person becomes
known specifically for these traits.
People with such personalities often become
so known for these traits that their names are
often synonymous with these qualities.
Consider the origin and meaning of the
following descriptive terms: Freudian,
Machiavellian, narcissism, Don Juan, Christlike, etc.
Allport suggested that cardinal traits are rare
and tend to develop later in life.
Central Traits
These are the general characteristics
that form the basic foundations of
 These central traits, while not as
dominating as cardinal traits, are the
major characteristics you might use to
describe another person.
 Terms such as intelligent, honest, shy
and anxious are considered central
Secondary Traits
These are the traits that are sometimes
related to attitudes or preferences and
often appear only in certain situations or
under specific circumstances.
 Some examples would be getting
anxious when speaking to a group or
impatient while waiting in line.
“Trait” theory
While most agree that people can be described
based upon their personality traits, theorists continue
to debate the number of basic traits that make up
human personality.
While trait theory has objectivity that some
personality theories lack, it also has weaknesses.
Some of the most common criticisms of trait theory
center on the fact that traits are often poor predictors
of behavior.
While an individual may score high on assessments
of a specific trait, he or she may not always behave
that way in every situation. Another problem is that
trait theories do not address how or why individual
differences in personality develop or emerge.
“Behavioral” theory
Behavioral theories of leadership are
based upon the belief that great leaders
are made, not born.
 Rooted in behaviorism, this leadership
theory focuses on the actions of leaders
not on mental qualities or internal states.
 According to this theory, people can
learn to become leaders through
teaching and observation.
“Behavioral” theory
Behavioral psychology is a theory of
learning based upon the idea that all
behaviors are acquired through
 Conditioning occurs through interaction
with the environment.
 According to behaviorism, behavior can be
studied in a systematic and observable
manner with no consideration of internal
mental states.
 There are two major types of conditioning:
Classical Conditioning
Classical conditioning is a technique
used in behavioral training in which a
naturally occurring stimulus is paired
with a response.
 These techniques are also useful in the
treatment of phobias or anxiety
Operant Conditioning
Operant conditioning is a method of
learning that occurs through rewards
and punishments for behavior.
 Through operant conditioning, an
association is made between a behavior
and a consequence for that behavior.
Examples of Operant Conditioning
We can find examples of operant conditioning at
work all around us. Consider the case of children
completing homework to earn a reward from a parent
or teacher, or employees finishing projects to receive
praise or promotions.
In these examples, the promise or possibility of
rewards causes an increase in behavior, but operant
conditioning can also be used to decrease a
behavior. The removal of an undesirable outcome or
the use of punishment can be used to decrease or
prevent undesirable behaviors. For example, a child
may be told they will lose recess privileges if they
talk out of turn in class. This potential for punishment
may lead to a decrease in disruptive behaviors.
“Participative Leadership” theory
Participative leadership theories suggest
that the ideal leadership style is one that
takes the input of others into account.
 These leaders encourage participation and
contributions from group members and
help group members feel more relevant
and committed to the decision-making
 In participative theories, however, the
leader retains the right to allow the input of
“Situational” theory
Situational theories propose that leaders
choose the best course of action based
upon situational variables.
 Different styles of leadership may be
more appropriate for certain types of
“Contingency” theory
Contingency theories of leadership focus
on particular variables related to the
environment that might determine which
particular style of leadership is best suited
for the situation.
 According to this theory, no leadership
style is best in all situations.
 Success depends upon a number of
variables, including the leadership style,
qualities of the followers and aspects of the
“Transactional” theory
Transactional theories, also known as
management theories, focus on the role of
supervision, organization and group
 These theories base leadership on a
system of rewards and punishments.
 Managerial theories are often used in
business; when employees are successful,
they are rewarded; when they fail, they are
reprimanded or punished.
“Transactional” theory
This theory of leadership was first
described in by sociologist Max Weber,
and further explored by Bernard M. Bass
in the early 1980s.
Basic Assumptions of
Transactional Leadership
People perform their best when the chain
of command is definite and clear.
 Workers are motivated by rewards and
 Obeying the instructions and commands of
the leader is the primary goal of the
 Subordinates need to be carefully
monitored to ensure that expectations are
“Transformational” theory
Relationship theories, also known as
transformational theories, focus upon the
connections formed between leaders and
Transformational leaders motivate and inspire
people by helping group members see the
importance and higher good of the task.
These leaders are focused on the
performance of group members, but also want
each person to fulfill his or her potential.
Leaders with this style often have high ethical
and moral standards.
The Components of
Transformational Leadership
Intellectual Stimulation – Transformational leaders
not only challenge the status quo; they also
encourage creativity among followers. The leader
encourages followers to explore new ways of doing
things and new opportunities to learn.
Individualized Consideration – Transformational
leadership also involves offering support and
encouragement to individual followers. In order to
foster supportive relationships, transformational
leaders keep lines of communication open so that
followers feel free to share ideas and so that leaders
can offer direct recognition of each followers unique
The Components of
Transformational Leadership
Inspirational Motivation – Transformational
leaders have a clear vision that they are able
to articulate to followers. These leaders are
also able to help followers experience the
same passion and motivation to fulfill these
Idealized Influence – The transformational
leaders serves as a role model for followers.
Because followers trust and respect the
leader, they emulate the leader and internalize
his or her ideals.