Leadership Theories

Leadership theories
The earliest theory termed intentionally “Great Man” was based on the belief that leaders are exceptional people, born with innate qualities and destined to lead. The use of the term 'man' was intentional since until the latter part of the twentieth century, leadership was thought of as a concept which is primarily male, military and Western. I think we can safely assume EYPs will be a mixture of both sexes and that few will be born destined to lead.
This basic theory was quickly developed into the identification of a list of traits or attributes which could then be isolated and that people with such traits could then be recruited, selected and installed in leadership positions. The problem with these “Trait Theories” was that no consistent list of traits could be identified. Some leaders had certain traits but the absence of them did not necessarily mean the person was not a good leader.
Stodgill ( 1974) devised a list of the main leadership traits and EYPs will certainly need to display many of these traits if they are to be successful leaders but if any are missing does that mean they would ultimately fail? The answer is almost certainly no and as traits are very difficult to measure we have to examine more complex theories.
The focus then highlighted behaviour - leading the theorists was McGregor (1960) with his X/Y Behaviour Theory which related a leader’s beliefs and assumptions to output and performance. Theory X leaders prefer an autocratic style whilst Theory Y leaders prefer a more participative style. Most managers fall someway between X and Y on the continuum and it was always assumed that a more effective manager would be nearer Y than X however it has now been evidenced that output and productivity remains relatively similar wherever a leader/manager sits on the scale even though staff may feel more fulfilled.

Blake and Mouton (1964) took this a step further with their Managerial Grid which graphically compared a concern...