Leadership Effectiveness: Components and Theories


The roles and functions of a leader have been studied in various academic books or research articles. Moreover, much attention is paid to such an issue as the effectiveness of a leader. In this context, the term effectiveness can be described as the ability of an individual to use his/her personal influence over other people in order to achieve shared goals (Ciulla, 2004, p. 13). This question can be better understood by discussing various theoretical frameworks that can throw light on different aspects of leadership. For instance, one can mention such models as situational leadership theory, transformational theory, servant leadership theory, and authentic leadership theory. To a great extent, these models can supplement one another because they can show what kind of strategies people can adopt in order to gain the trust of employees, shape the attitudes, and achieve organizational objectives. This is why they should not be overlooked.

Situational leadership theory

It is possible to mention situational leadership theory. According to this model, leaders should modify their behavior depending on the tasks that they need to accomplish (Northouse, 2012, p. 99). Therefore, they should not follow only one style of interacting with followers. For instance, this professional can act like an autocratic person who wants the employees to follow each of his/her instructions. However, he/she can also empower his/her followers and enable them to take independent initiatives. Moreover, this person can often provide emotional support to workers and explain why a certain objective should be achieved. Overall, a leader should focus on factors as the urgency and importance of a task (Northouse, 2012, p. 119).

Overall, the idea of adaptability is worth considering because a leader cannot act only according to a single pre-determined pattern. Such an approach can result in a lack of adaptability, and it is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided (Blanchard, Fowler, & Hawkins, 2005).

Moreover, one has to admit that there are situations when even a democratic leader has to impose his/her opinions on other people. Nevertheless, this theory is not suitable for explaining possible inconsistencies in the behavior of a leader. For instance, a leader, who continuously changes his/her behavior, can be perceived as a person lacking integrity. Additionally, employees may not easily adjust to a person who easily changes his/her leadership styles. Apart from that, the excessive focus on the nature of a task or an objective can make a person disregard ethical principles. The main problem is that situational leadership theory does not show how to avoid these pitfalls.

To some degree, this model contradicts the idea of transformational leadership theories according to which a person should act as a coach or a mentor. However, this individual should not act as a commander. This is one of the details that should be considered. Overall, the idea of adaptability can be applied to real-world organizations. For instance, one can speak about international companies in which senior executives or department managers need to focus on a variety of tasks that differ in terms of importance, scope, urgency, or complexity. Moreover, this method can benefit a leader who may interact with the representatives of different cultures. This professional should be able to change his/her behavior.

This model enables a person to understand that leadership efficiency is related to the ability of a person to adjust to the changes in the internal and external environment. This attribute enables a person to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives. This is one of the details that can be singled out.

Transformational leadership theory

Additionally, it is possible to examine the main premises of the transformational leadership theory. This model is based on the idea that a leader should be regarded as a role model by the followers. This individual should shape their attitudes or values of employees (Kouzes & Posner, 2003, p. 23). This theory includes several important elements that are worth considering. For instance, one can speak about intellectual stimulation (Northouse, 2012, p. 213).

It means that a manager should enable employees to search for creative and innovative solutions to existing problems. Overall, this approach can make a worker more motivated. Furthermore, one can speak about the development of a vision that can become appealing to a person. Finally, it is critical to focus on the development of a vision that will be understandable and appealing to the supporters.

On the whole, this approach lays stress on the relations between leaders and their followers. However, this theory has several limitations. In particular, this model may not be suitable for coping with routine tasks that provide little room for creativity or innovation. Additionally, this model may not be relevant when a leader has to cope with an urgent problem. Under such circumstances, this professional may not empower his/her followers. Overall, this theory offers an idealized description of a leader. The main problem is that people do not often reach such standards. These are some of the limitations that should not be overlooked by business administrators who want to study leadership from this perspective.

To a great extent, this framework is connected to authentic leadership theory, which also emphasizes the need to act as a role model. Yet, this theory is not fully compatible with the situational approach to leadership in which a specific task should be the main priority of a business administrator. The transformational approach is particularly suitable because it helps a leader build an organization in which employees are committed to the goals identified by the management.

This model suggests that an effective leader is able to increase the motivation of followers without relying only on financial rewards or punishments. The authority of this individual is not derived only from his/her position in the organizational hierarchy. More likely, it originates from his/her expertise or emotional intelligence. This is one of the distinctions that can be identified. Moreover, this individual can prompt other people to achieve professional growth. These attributes are important for increasing the sustainability of organizations. This is why the transformational theory of leadership should not be overlooked by students or practitioners.

Servant Theory of Leadership

Servant leadership theory can also offer many thought-provoking questions to students. In particular, according to this model, a leader should first concentrate on the needs of his/her followers. Moreover, this professional should focus on such qualities as commitment, empathy, emotional intelligence, and so forth (Blanchard & Cathy, 2002). These attributes are important for people who review the notion of leadership from a religious perspective (Blanchard, 2006).

This is one of the aspects that can be identified. Yet, there are some problems related to this framework. In particular, by following the principles of this theory, a leader may fail to cope with some urgent tasks that are critical for the sustainability of a task. Moreover, such a person is not always able to resolve conflicts, which are also a part of the workplace environment. One can that this theory is closely related to the transformational approach. In both frameworks, communication between employees and leaders plays a critical role. In turn, this model runs contrary to the situational model of leadership according to which a person should focus primarily on a certain task, rather than interpersonal relations. These are some of the main differences that can be distinguished.

Overall, this theory can be of great importance to people who work as business administrators. This approach can be applicable to many real-life challenges faced by business administrators. For instance, these people need to find ways of motivating workers. Moreover, these people should be able to determine whether a worker struggles with emotional difficulties. Overall, this theory is particularly relevant to people working in organizations in which a separate employee can bring much value to a company. For example, one can speak about software and technology companies, law firms, football clubs, and many other organizations.

This strategy can help leaders make employees more committed to the goals of the company. In particular, one can say that the servant theory of leadership is applicable to the needs of various businesses. This is one of the details that can be singled out.

Overall, this theory can throw light on the notion of leadership effectiveness. In particular, people who run organizations should help workers perform to their best capacity. Therefore, this person should have a variety of competencies, such as listening skills or emotional intelligence. They can enable a person to remove various barriers that undermine the performance of a team. This is why theory is important for the effectiveness of a leader and the performance of the organization. These are the main aspects that can be identified.

Authentic leadership Theory

Finally, it is possible to mention authentic leadership theory, which is also of great interest to business administrators. This model is based on the premise that a leader should lay stress on such aspects as openness and integrity in order to gain the trust of followers (Blanchard, 2006). Such people are usually ready to recognize their strengths or weaknesses. Additionally, the supporters of this approach emphasize the importance of consistency since a leader should demonstrate that he/she has certain underlying convictions that continuously guide his/her actions. Furthermore, this individual should demonstrate that he/she evaluates the actions of other people according to the same standards. These are the main elements of authentic leadership theory.

Nevertheless, it is possible to express some concerns about this approach. In particular, this model does not show how the behavior of a leader can change depending on the nature of the task. Additionally, this theory does not fully explain how this person should interact with employees who may represent different cultures and age groups. In other words, this model does not incorporate the notion of adaptability. This is one of the short-comings that should be considered.

Overall, this model is similar to several theories that have been discussed before. For instance, one can speak about the transformational approach and servant theory in which the personality of a leader is one of the critical elements. In particular, much attention is paid to such a quality as integrity, which is necessary for proper interaction with the followers. Nevertheless, this framework is not fully compatible with the principles outlined in the situational theory in which goal-orientation is more important.

To some degree, the principles of this theory can be applied in various organizational settings. This approach can be particularly suitable at the time when a leader only begins to interact with people who may eventually become his followers. By displaying such qualities as openness and consistency, he/she can secure their loyalty. This approach can be useful when a leader has to work on such a task as team-building. Therefore, this approach has distinct practical applications.

This theory can also give a person some insights into the concept of leadership effectiveness. For instance, according to this model, integrity is critical for the successful exercise of personal influences over other people. Furthermore, consistent behavior can actually make the leader’s arguments more convincing. Therefore, these qualities are important for the efficiency of organizational leaders. These are the main details that can be identified.


On the whole, this discussion indicates that leadership effectiveness has several important dimensions. Moreover, various theoretical frameworks can help a person identify various components of this concept. For instance, one can speak about adaptability, consistency, ability to motivate followers, emotional intelligence, and empowerment of workers. Each of these attributes is critical for the ability of a leader to achieve short-term and long-term objectives. The theories that have been discussed offer a set of methods that can be used to increase leadership effectiveness, and none of them can be rejected. In turn, the main task is to find a way of reconciling various models. These are the main arguments that can be put forward.

Reference List

Blanchard, K., & Cathy, S. (2002). The Generosity Factor: Discover the Joy of Giving Your Time, Talent, and Treasure. Boston, MA: Zondervan. Web.

Blanchard, K., Fowler, S., & Hawkins, L. (2005). Self Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Self Leadership. New York, NY: William Morrow. Web.

Blanchard, K. (2006). Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time. New York, NY: Thomas Nelson. Web.

Ciulla, J. (2004). Ethics, the Heart of Leadership. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group. Web.

Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2003). Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others. New York, NY: Jossey-Bass. Web.

Northouse, P. (2012). Leadership: Theory and Practice. New York, NY: SAGE Publications. Web.

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