My Preferred Leadership Theories and Why They’re Important
- Contingency Theory: This theory states that there is no single “best” way to be a leader. The most appropriate way to lead a group depends on specific situations. I like this theory, because I do think there are a wide variety of ways to lead a group and I’ve found in my own experience, the right path of leadership depends largely on the situation and the assignment at hand. It’s important to acknowledge there is not a ready-made leader mold to fit in order to be a leader. Anyone can be a leader, because there are so many different ways in which one can lead.
- Leader-Member Exchange: In the leader-member exchange theory, leaders develop personal relationships with each member. I think this aspect of the theory, because I have found knowing the people you’re leading in a personal sense can lead to the best results and creates a positive environment for all to work well together. However, there is an in group and an out group in this leadership theory, which feels very exclusive and is an aspect to the theory that I do not like. However, even with a dislike of that aspect of the theory, I feel relationships are essential to being an effective leader and is still an interesting theory to consider.
- Social Change Model: This leadership theory is probably my favorite, because it focuses on leadership as a process beginning with self, the group, and then society as a whole in order to make positive social change. This is the model that LEAD follows and I have found it to be quite effective in helping me develop my leadership skills and be more aware of where positive social change is needed. This model is helpful in any situation, because it doesn’t require a large leadership role to put into effect. The knowledge of self is important in any part of life, even just creating life goals. Being able to work in a group is necessary in any career or position held in life, regardless of whether you seem to be taking a leadership role or not. Finally, seeing where change is needed in society can best be done with the ability to know oneself and to work effectively in groups with others.
Further Leadership Research
Further leadership research could include peace studies leadership. A lot of the leadership theories focused on workplace situations or broadly could be applied to a variety of situations. However, I feel there would be something much more specified in regards to leading peace movements for large scale social change in such a way that would encourage better collaboration with people.
Even in general, further leadership research could be more specified on exact leadership positions held and situations that need to be dealt with. For example, I attended a Catholic leadership conference in early January which gave me a very specific set of leadership skills that I am unlikely to use in most other leadership settings. When I used to help coach basketball, my leadership style was very unique and differed greatly from even leadership positions I held at my high school. In this sense, I feel there is a lot of room for research in more specified fields of leadership that may not apply across the board but may end in the best possible results in specific situations. Most of this research would likely be based in already existing leadership theories, however some could potentially give rise to new leadership theories, especially some that may work better on a larger scale.