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Running head: BEHAVIORAL THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP 1 Behavioral Theories of Leadership Name Date Institution Behavioral Theories of Leadership Introduction Leadership is the ability of an individual to guide and influence other people in establishing and achieving goals. It could also be described as the art of being able to make sound but difficult decisions. For a leader to be considered as an effective leader, they need to exhibit qualities such as level-headedness, strong communication skills, innovative or creative thinking, and resilience in challenging times, and management skills. There is no standard definition for leadership because people define leadership differently depending on the context with which they are being led or they are leading. Several theories have attempted to define leadership as well as why some leaders fit this position. The behavioral theory of leadership is an example of these theories, which focuses on human behavior as the foundation of this leadership. This essay will detail what is meant by the behavioral theory of leadership, the types, advantages, and disadvantages of this leadership. However, I will first establish the main difference between management and leadership because the two concepts are often confused with each other. The Distinction between Leadership and Management These two terms are mistaken to have the same meaning because they tend to have overlapping functions. However, these words mean different things thus they should not be interchanged. An individual in leadership often offers direction through coming up with the vision of the organization and telling their subordinates about this vision whereas an individual in management delegates responsibility and authority and lays down the structure of the business operations (Bush, Bell, Middlewood, 2019). Besides, management pays attention to controlling, planning, directing, organizing, and staffing whereas leadership is a major part of directing. Secondly, leadership is proactive whereas management is reactive. This means that leadership evaluates and perceives an individual as possessing the capability and potential of unmeasurable things. This simply means that leadership focuses on the future and the performance of an individual, particularly if their full potential is extracted. On the other hand, management evaluates or measures individuals by their present performance, records, and names. Nonetheless, these two should be integrated with an organization to ensure a new direction is set as well as resources are used efficiently to ensure that they achieve their goals. The meaning of Behavioral Theory of Leadership Formerly, people believed that leaders are naturally born. This belief was mainly influenced by The Great Man Theory, which stated that good leaders were born with inborn leadership skills (Cherry, 2018). However, when a person is a good communicator from childhood, it does not mean that they would make good leaders. Over time, this theory received numerous criticisms leading to the rise of the behavioral theory of leadership, which then changed the game. This theory emerged in the 1950s from the behaviorism movements. Several behavior scientists tried to recognize numerous behavioral patterns in leadership styles through studying the behaviors of different leaders. The Behavioral theory of leadership is based on the argument that leadership capability is not inherent but rather can be learned. As Knippenberg (2018) presented, it is based on the idea that an individual’s behavior can be adjusted to ensure that this individual responds specifically to a specific stimulus. Instead of looking at their inborn characteristics, the behavioral leadership theory focuses on the activities of a leader by observing how they respond to challenging situations and then relating significant behaviors with successful leadership. Effective and excellent leaders exhibit the ability to adjust their behavioral style as well as select the appropriate style for every situation. The Different Styles of Behavioral Leadership The first style of behavioral leadership is people-oriented behavioral leadership. In this type of leadership style, leaders pay attention to behaviors, which enable them to satisfy the needs of the individuals that they govern as well as those that they interact with, for instance, clients, employees, or supervisors. They are mainly driven through interpersonal communication and connection. This behavioral leadership style enables leaders to build strong relationships with their subordinates thus motivating them to increase their performance. This leadership style supports behavior that relates to mentoring their subordinates, rewarding success, supervising the progress of the people that they lead, and encouraging collaboration. Secondly, there is task-oriented behavioral leadership. In this type of leadership style, leaders focus on achieving objectives and setting goals. These types of leaders excel in well-structured environments and they usually display authoritative behavior. Rather than paying attention to the daily developmental process, task-oriented leaders are mostly focused on the results of the team. The behaviors that are usually exhibited by such leaders include obtaining relevant information, initiating projects, clarifying instructions, and organizing processes. On the other hand, the dictatorial behavioral leadership style is where a leader value results rather than the people that they lead. This type of leader directs immense pressure to their subordinates to achieve results regardless of the conditions that they are in. While this type of behavioral leadership is characterized by a high success in achieving quality results, they are also a potentially high rate of turnover that results from the dissatisfaction of employees under this style of leadership. Besides, there is also a high rate of burnout. The behaviors that constitute a dictatorial leadership style include ignoring feedback, setting fixed deadlines, achieving short-term results, and disregarding excuses. The next style of behavioral leadership is participative leadership. This is where a leader strives to involve the people that he is leading in decision-making (Indeed, 2021). These types of leaders prioritize feedback, collaboration, and active communication. in this leadership style, the leaders have a clear comprehension of the weaknesses and strengths of their teammates to enable them to assign a task to them accordingly. Besides, the opinions and voices of every person are respected and heard. Participative leadership is characterized by delegating tasks to teammates, facilitating team meetings, an open avenue for suggestions, and constructive feedback. There is also an indifferent behavioral leadership style. In this type of leadership, a leader fails to prioritize the communication and interaction with the people that they are leading. Besides, these leaders oversee the progress of the team from far and fail to contribute their efforts to these activities (Indeed, 2021). Their primary focus is on personal advancement and success. However, since this leadership style comprises minimal cooperation from the leader, it is considered highly ineffective. The behaviors exhibited by such leaders include self-preserving, evading questions, procrastinating, and assigning forces tasks to their subordinates. Lastly, another behavioral leadership style is opportunistic leadership. In this type of leadership, a leader selects several behaviors that they have identified from previous styles. They then adapt and adjust their style of leading to fit a specific situation. Moreover, this type of leader is characterized by being goal-oriented and employing whichever methods or strategies that they think are perfect to achieve their goals (Indeed, 2021). For instance, an opportunistic leader would take up dictatorial leadership style when they are approaching a deadline or take up participative leadership style when they have enough time to meet their deadlines. The behaviors that are exhibited by this leadership style include reinforcing their standards to achieve success, inconsistency, opportunism, and chasing their goals regardless of how much they would cost. Arguments in favor of Behavioral Theories of Leadership The first advantage of this theory of leadership is that it addresses the main questions on the leadership model of an organization. For instance, several points could be addressed by such theories when a leader demands that his subordinates cooperate on different tasks in several departments or when these teammates are persistently involved in making appropriate decisions to encourage backing on tasks. Therefore, if there is a delay in the delivery or completion of the work, the behavioral theory of leadership could explain why there is this delay and the people that are responsible for the delay. Secondly, the behavioral theory of leadership helps in identifying the manager’s leadership style. Ideally, these theories do not examine capabilities or traits but rather behaviors. For instance, the trait theory focuses on how employees and managers have attributes such as being alert to changes in their surroundings and being able to adapt to these changes and how these attributes qualify them to be effective leaders. Therefore, by executing behavioral theories of leadership, we can be able to determine how a manager would react to different events. For example, if a leader makes decisions concerning the organization without consulting his subordinates, this can be identified as an autocratic leadership style. Arguments against Behavioral Theories of Leadership The first disadvantage of these theories is they are learned through a long process and this process usually takes time. Regardless of the position that an individual holds in an organization, whether employee or leader, analyzing some behaviors, which fit different scenarios is a matter of trial and error. Therefore, a leader should be able to put himself or herself in a specific environment to undergo the test (Indeed, 2020). Besides, they are required to understand that monitoring their behaviors is worthy. This process is usually lengthy because these tests need to be done repetitively to ensure that the conclusions are accurate. Secondly, while these theories might help managers adopt specific leadership behaviors, they offer less guidance on the constituents of effective leadership in several events. In an ideal world, leaders are subjected to unpredictable events, which demand them to respond effectively to be able to come up with strategic solutions. This poses a limitation to the behavioral theories of leadership. After all, while they provide a map on how a leader should react effectively to various conditions, they would not offer guidance in all situations because they are unpredicted. Every day, leaders are faced with different situations that require them to come up with solutions that the behavioral theories of leadership cannot provide even when learned exhaustively. Thirdly, personal biases might affect the decision of a manager since they are required to respond to different events differently and make independent decisions (Indeed, 2020). This limits the behavioral theory of leadership because while it might teach an individual to respond or adjust their behaviors in a certain way in response to an unexpected event, the leader would succumb to personal bias while deciding on the solutions or the response to this unexpected event. Conclusion In conclusion, behavioral theories of leadership offer guidance on how leaders should execute their duties and demonstrate effective leadership. The preceding paragraphs have highlighted various components of behavioral theories, from what it means to the types of behavioral leadership and the arguments in favor and against it. Overall, these theories are essential because they help provide a map of how a leader would respond to different situations. References Bush, T., Bell, L., & Middlewood, D. (Eds.). (2019). Principles of educational leadership & management. Sage. Cherry, K. (2018). How Does the” Great Man” Theory of Leadership Hold Up? Indeed (2021). What is Behavioral Leadership theory? Definition and Types of Behavioral Leadership. Retrieved on 12th September 2021 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/behavioral-leadership-theory Indeed (2020). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Behavioral Theories of Leadership. Retrieved on 12th September 2021 from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/behavioral-theories-of-leadership Knippenberg, D. V. (2018). Leadership and identity.