Leadership Schools

Leadership Schools

Develop the basis leadership models, and then discuss in more detail when studying the leader, the followers, and the situation. This is an overview of the evolution and development of leadership theories, principles and models that help us understand leadership better and how better to develop future leaders.

Hand out leadership schools.

Leadership Schools

School Timeframe Primary Themes

Historical Schools

Shaman 60,000-10,000BCE “He who knows”

Kings, Emperors 10,000BCe-1800CE Devine, Absolute Power

Plato 300BCE Philosopher Kings

Aristotle 300BCE The Virtuous Man

Machiavelli 1513 The Effectual Truth

Management Schools

F.W. Taylor 1911 Scientific Management

H. Fayol 1920s Managerial Functions

P.F. Drucker 1950s Management

Leadership Schools

Traits 1900 – Leader Characteristics

Great Man

Behavior 1940-1970s Leader Behaviors

Contingency 1930s- Tasks, Followers, Situation

Great Bang




Substitutes for Leadership

Charismatic 1960s Devine Gift

Transformational 1960s- Transcend Self Interest

Relational 1960s Leader-Follower Relations

Servant 1980s Meet Followers’ Needs

Strategic 1970s Strategic Decision Making

Authentic 2000 Truthful

Global 2000 Global Mindset

Biological 2000 Genetics, Neuroscience

I. Historical Schools

A. Shamans used their limited knowledge of science and the weather to rule people through “magic.”

Persian kings, Egyptian Pharaohs, Chinese Emperors were trained to be leaders – benevolent dictators.

Had bad emperor problem – live with it or kill him, but he is devine!

B. Plato – Philosopher Kings – bread, educated, trained to be leaders. Limiting the abuse of power by leaders has always been a major issue with leadership, and still is.

Plato tried by limiting consumption. Can’t keep you from getting wealth, but keep you from spending it so why bother.

C. Aristotle – the virtuous man – character, ethical, and the golden Mean to determine what is ethical – rash – brave – coward. Even trust must be balanced – trust but verify. Naïve – trust – cynical.

D. Machiavelli – The Prince, teleological, ends justify means, appear good but prepared to be evil when necessary. Lie, cheat, break word to achieve ends – free Italian state.

This was realistic – how leaders really were. Not how their PR directors portrayed them as descendants from the Gods like today.

II. Management Schools

No difference between management and leadership. Focus is on management.

Begins with Industrial Revolution, and development of large, complex business organizations in 19th C.

A. F.W. Taylor – (1911)

Scientific management – more engineering than management. People as machines.

Focused on optimizing worker productivity via tight controls. Design work effort to optimize output. The optimal size shovel. Similar to time and motion studies. Taylor is the father of Project Management.

B. Henri Fayol – 1916 seminal book. Six basic roles managers need to perform;







Go over Fayol notes. Managers role included: planning. Noted the importance of technical skills decline as you move up the leadership ladder.

C. P.F. Drucker – 20thC American management guru.

Many other management models; no difference between management and leadership. Leadership is one of the responsibilities of management. Leadership is not the focus of what leaders do.

III. Leadership Schools

A. Traits

Studied the characteristics of great leaders around the 1900s.

1. Great Man

Great Man – observed great leaders’ traits and compared with non-leaders. No theory of how they got these traits – born with them – or how their traits affected leadership.

Carlyle –

The history of the world is but the biographies of great men.

Ask: Are leaders born or made? Of course they are born, not hatched from eggs.

To some extent they are born; or at least certain characteristics and capabilities that produce good leadership are born and inherited:

IQ – inherited (if you are dumb, blame your parents). IQ does not improve much and it is important to leadership. However, other aspects of intelligence are also important, such as EQ, PQ, CQ, and SQ, and they can definitely be improved.

Being confident and a good speaker may be partly inherited.

Physical appearance and having a strong voice – born for the most part but you can improve and apply to extreme makeover.

Being tall (leader always sits higher than the rest) and stately, are definite leadership advantages.

George Washington was tall, but Napoleon was short (never got off his horse).

Many behaviors and traits are inherited or learned very early in life and are hard to change.

Many values and beliefs and cultural biases are formed very early in life from family, school, church and from early experiences and are hard to change.

While it certainly helps to be born with good mental and physical characteristics, your natural leadership ability can be improved significantly through study and practice.

But, it is like riding a bike – can’t just read about it – have to jump on and start peddling.

Actions you can take to become a better leader;

Seek leadership opportunities at work, school, social activities, and at home.

Seek feedback on your leadership style and effectiveness.

Take training courses offered at work

Learn something that will make you a better leader from each experience – good or bad.

Record and reflect on your experiences – AOR. Use your personal leadership development plan.

Take an active role in our team exercises. Use them to improve your skills.

Originally little more than hero worship.

2. Modern trait theories

A trait is a “distinguishing quality or characteristic.” some say a “genetically determined characteristic.” Traits are manifested in your personality.

Focus is again on the leader’s traits, personality characteristics – assertive, persistent, confident, agreeable, etc.

The goals are to identify the traits of leaders, make a list of these traits to see if people have these traits so they can identify future leaders.


Physical Personality Social

energy aggressive sensitive

weight friendly caring

height optimistic empathetic

appearance risk-taking extrovert

Problems with trait models

Correlations are weak (not stat. significant). Traits not correlated with effective leadership.

Could not identify any universal traits that characterized good leadership. Some great leaders have a trait and some do not. All great leaders are not empathetic for example.

However, two of the most important traits identified are:

Trustworthy – trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work. Trust requires being predictable, reliable, and accountable.

We trust people who are predictable, whose positions are known, who can be relied upon to do what they say, and who are accountable – take responsibility for what they do.

Leaders are also persistent – failure is just another learning experience. Never failed is a liar or he never tried, says Abe Lincoln.

Studies run linear regressions or linear combinations of traits.

But, relationships are not always linear – some aggression good but too much is not. The relationship is -curvilinear. Too much sun makes a desert.

Traits may be mediators not independent variables. E.g., being extraverted many effect your communications which results in better leadership (performance)

Importance of traits vary with the situation; are moderated by the situation – e.g., aggression good in one situation, bad in another.

Combinations of traits may affect the impact of particular traits on leadership e.g., being aggressive and caring may affect leadership differently than being aggressive and creative.

Traits may change when u become a leader – become more aggressive

Specific trait studies not in fashion today, but traits still have considerable value in studying leadership.

B. Behavior (1940 – 1970)

Trait models fizzled out, so researchers turned to studying leaders’ behaviors.

These behavior theories focus on what leaders do – on their behavior, and how their behavior towards followers.

1. Task/employee Orientation

Studies of leadership behavior at Ohio State and U of Michigan led to two basic leadership styles. Offer students clipboard or coffee cup.

Put on board

Task Oriented Employee Oriented

Ohio Initiating structure Consideration

Michigan Production oriented Employee oriented

Marx Clipboard Coffee cup

Task oriented are focused on the job – clipboard

Clipboards are task oriented decisive, autocratic, efficient, plan, sets targets, reward results. No time for small talk – too busy.

Employee oriented – focused on the employees – coffee cup

Coffee cups are participative, democratic decision maker, empower, and communicate. Make small talk, personal issues.

Which is best? Depends on the nature of work, followers, and the situation.

My article – strategy affects leadership style – employee oriented better with differentiation strategy, task oriented leadership style better with low-cost strategies.

As always, need to strike a balance, it is not one or the other. You can be both.

Developed the management leadership grid to measure whether you are task or employee oriented.

Assumed to be independent – you can be either or both. Probably semi-independent.

Put up 9-9 grid (Northouse, p. 77). Hand out grid.

This allows you to understand your behavior – your leadership style. It does not tell you which is the most effective. Again, that depends on the situation.

9-9 sound good, but it might not be. A 5-5 might be more effective in a given situation. Extremes of 9-1 and 1-9 probably not good in any situation. You want the golden mean as Aristotle said. The right balance. Too much courage is arrogance, too little is cowardice.

Like traits, there is no universally good style.

Do Northouse on p. 89. Put in PLDP and bring to next class.

2. Generic Behavioral Schools

All propose different levels of behavior that are more effective for leaders.

Three Levels of Leadership Model:

A very early behavioral model.

Beginning of transition from the study of management to the study of leadership

Level 1 leader; Focus on maximizing worker productivity (F.W. Taylor – Scientific Management – optimal shovel)

Focus on the physical attributes of the worker – on the body.

Level 2;

Focus on employee’s body and mind. Motivate workers to find betters ways to increase productivity.

McGregor’s theory X and theory Y come into play. X is lazy and must be coerced to work; Y can be self motivated.

Level 3:

Focus on aligning the worker’s VABEs – values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations – with the organization’s objectives to get greater commitment and productivity from the employees.

Level 3 leaders address the physical, mental and values of the workers – body, mind and spirit.

3. Jim Collins: Good to Great

Talked to GM, read book.

Developed the 5 Level behavioral model of leadership.

Studied 15 companies with outstanding financial performance. The companies were already good and went on to become great. Not so great today. These 15 companies had level 5 leaders,

Put the Collins behavior model on the board.

Level 1 – Highly capable. Contributes with knowledge and skills.

Level 2 – Contributing team member – works effectively with others

Level 3 – A competent manager, pursues companies’ objectives efficiently

Level 4 – Effective leader – vigorous pursuit of the vision

Level 5 – The Executive – builds greatness through personal humility and professional will. He does whatever it takes to succeed.

Level 5 leaders are self-effacing and reserved. They avoid the limelight, and they do not let their egos get in the way of good decision making. They are not charismatic.

Abraham Lincoln is Collin’s model of a Level 5 leader, not Lee Iacocca or Jack Welch or Bob Lutz (who was on the stage with Collins).

These leaders get the right people on the bus, get them in the right seats and then decide where to drive the bus. Does that make sense to you?

4. The Five Level R/P behavior Model

Put 5 level pyramid on the board.

A more advanced behavioral leadership model (Maxwell). Focused on why people follow you; linked to the leader’s source of power.

Also can call it the 5 R/Ps model

1.Rights/Position – people follow you because they have to because of your position. Your position in the organization gives you the right to lead.

2. Relationships/Permission – people give you permission to lead them; they follow you because of their relationship with you; because they want to.

3. Results/Production – people follow you because you get results; follow you because of what you do

4. Reproduction/People development – follow you because of what you do for them; you develop future leaders

5. Respect/Personhood – follow you because of your values; because of what you stand for.

There are many other behavioral models. Often hear that he/she is a level 1, 2, etc leader. but there is no empirical support for the impact of behavior on leadership performance.

Led to the same dead end as trait models.

C. Contingency School

Contingency theory was introduced to try to explain the failures of the trait and behavior schools.

Leadership is contingent on the characteristics of the tasks, followers and the situation you are facing.

1. Great Bang is a nascent contingency theory – the importance of the situation surrounding the leader is emphasized.

Globalization is the great Bang today.

A crisis – the situation – creates the need and opportunities for great leaders to step forward, and often they do.

Ordinary people, perhaps with latent leadership skills, step up to the plate during crises and do extraordinary things.

September 11 was a crisis in which ordinary people took on extraordinary leadership responsibilities.

The American Revolution was a Great Bang that produced numerous great leaders – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton.

Abigail Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson:

“These are the hard times in which a genius would want to live. Great necessities call forth great leaders.”

Indian revolution led by Gandhi – an ordinary person, until he got kicked off the train in South Africa.

Great bang today is globalization. We will look at its impacts on leadership down the road.

The great bang theory is very limited:

Does not tell us if leaders are born or made (some suggestion that they are made by the event)

Little analytical content

Why do great events call forth great leaders – or do they?

What are the characteristics of people who respond to crises?

Are they truly leaders or heroes? Do they have certain traits or skills that make them effective in a crisis, but not an effective leader in other situations?

2. Modern contingency theories

Contingency theories that explore the impact of the situation on leadership were developed in the 1960s and 1970s in part to explain the lack of empirical relationships among leadership traits, behaviors, and effectiveness. The impacts of leadership traits and behaviors on performance could be influenced (moderated) by the situation. The abilities, skills, goals, aspirations and behaviors of followers, and the characteristics of the tasks, the organization and to a lesser extent the external environment were all studied in contingency models, though the external environment is critical but not much studied.

Traits Performance







3. Diamond Model

This is an early contingency model. Leadership involves the interaction among the leader, others, the task or job, and the organization. More internal focus than 3 ring model.

The Diamond Model


Others Tasks


Leadership is seen as a process of interaction among leaders, others (employees, customers, etc.) the job/task to be done and the organization. This is the first real recognition of the role of the situation and the followers in leadership models, through great Bang implicitly included the situation.

4. Three Ring Model

I prefer the simpler, cleaner 3-ring contingency model of leadership.

Three Ring Model

Leader Followers


Leadership emerges from the interactions among the leader, follower and the situation.

5. Fiedler – a contingency theory based on the “favorability” of the situation. Favorability measured by the quality of leader-follower relationships, the structure of the task (well defined) and the leader’s source of power.

He found that in very favorable and very unfavorable situations, task orientated behavior was most effective, in intermediate favorable situations, employee oriented behavior was most effective.

Lead eff.

Unfav Fav

6. path-goal theory (1971)

Leader’s role is to define goals clearly for followers and show them the path to achieving these goals. When goals are clear and path is clear, employee oriented behavior is best, when path is uncertain, and goals not clear, task oriented is best leadership behavior.

So, the goals, and the path for achieving them both determine which leadership behaviors are most effective.



low high

Clear goals and path

7. Marx

While contingency theories of leadership recognize the impacts of numerous dimensions of the situation on leadership, industry structure, competitive position, core competencies, and other factors critical to leadership’s roles in formulating and implementing strategy are ignored.

Hand out Marx articles. ( effects of strategy on leadership, IA and CP on leadership, and size on leadership)

8. Substitutes-for-Leadership (1970s)

Another constituency theory. Substitutes-for-leadership theories, like other contingency theories, also developed in the late 1970s to help explain the lack of empirical evidence demonstrating the impacts of leadership traits and behaviors on effectiveness. These theories postulate that certain characteristics of the organization (e.g., group cohesiveness and norms), the task (e.g., highly structured, routine, intrinsically satisfying), and the followers (e.g., professionalism, training, experience) may lessen, substitute for, or negate the effects of leadership on performance (Daft, 2011; DuBrin, 2013; Hughes et al., 2009; Kerr and Jermier, 1978).

Need for


Low high


Examples of substitutes for leadership are government regulations (TACOM), unions, knowledge workers.

D. Charismatic

Transformational leaders are charismatic, but some study charismatic leadership as a separate leadership model. Charisma is Greek for “divine gift” a special gift given to a person by the gods, and from the Greek goddess Charis.

A charismatic leader has special power and influence over followers. It may be a trait – born with it – or a social construct –followers attribute charisma to the leader- charisma is in the eye of the beholder.

Charismatic leaders are great communicators. They use rhetoric to persuade people to their views. Hitler, Kennedy

This is described by Aristotle in Rhetoric. This is good to remember when you make any type of presentation.

The Aristotelian Triad for persuading people:


Personal Character/Credibility/Moral Character

Logos Pathos

Reasoned Argument Stir Emotions

Establish your credibility (trust), appeal to their reason, and appeal to their emotions.

ETransformational (read chapter 8)

Transformational leadership is the most studied leadership model today, the soup du jour, though it has more application to social, political, military, non-profits than to business where the focus is on profits.

This was originally transforming leadership that applied to non-business leaders (Burns).

It has spiritual overtones. It transforms followers unlike transactional leadership. It is like conversion, redemption, salvation, an epiphany. It raises the ethical values and aspirations of followers; followers transcend their own self-interest for the interest of the organization, and become more committed, loyal, and productive in contrast to transactional leadership – an exchange between leaders and followers – do the work I request and u get rewarded.

They idolize the leader.

Transformational leadership is defined by the 4 Is:

1.Idealized influence – creates strong emotional; bonds with followers – followers idolize the leader and emulate and follow her. Charisma is critical here.(Ethos)

2.Inspirational motivation – excite followers, followers become passionate and extremely motivated. Followers buy into the leader’s vision (pathos).

3.Intellectually stimulate – Leaders are intellectually superior (but not too much), creative, imaginative, innovative – they are mavericks. they challenge the status quo. (logos)

4.Individualized consideration – personal attention to each follower, familiar with each follower. Followers feel special, they feel they can realize their self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy. Napoleon did this. (ethos)

Measurement of a transformational leader:

MLQ – multifactor leadership questionnaire – measures the 4Is.

‘I go beyond self-interest for the good of the group (measures idealized influence)

I consider the ethical consequences of decisions (idealized influence)

I talk optimistically about the future (inspirational motivation)

Do these questions really identify transformational leaders?

Is transformational leadership good?

There is a downside to charismatic leaders:

Use great power over people for personal rather than social goals

Define their personal goals as the social goals – Louis 16, etat cest moi. Quadafi – “this is my country.”

Exploit loyal followers who are enamored with them and who do not question them. Jonestown (drink the kool aid), Hitler

Influence ends with the leader. There are no successors

They can polarize followers – create love-hate relationships. The Kennedys, Clintons

Does it apply to business – I think not so much. Business is focused on making money, not on great social causes, justice, etc. Charismatic leaders are M.L. King, Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela. Hard to name business leaders that are transformational.

Some business leaders are more effective than others in motivating and inspiring people, but I would not call them transformational. However, researchers have lowered the bar for transformational leadership to open the door for more research, but it is hard to tell the difference between transactional and transformational leadership as a result.

Transformational leadership is distinguished by extraordinary relationships between a (charismatic) leader and followers that lead to superior performance e.g., turning around a failing company. Charisma is not a personality trait per se, but a relationship between leaders and followers attributable in large measure to the leader’s personality. In contrast to transactional leadership that relies on tasks, rewards, and punishments to motivate followers (e.g., exchange and path-goal theories), transformational leadership is built on mutual trust, devotion, reverence and loyalty; goals that supersede self-interest; a compelling vision typically with high moral content; and exemplary personal behavior (sacrifice) by the leader that inspires subordinates (Bass, 1985; Hughes et al., 2009).

Transformational leadership, like personal leadership behavior in the Andrews model (1971), can have (powerful) indirect impacts on formulating and implementing strategy:

…. this study, as well as other research on charisma (and ‘transformational leadership’) highlights that executives do not affect their organizations only through their strategic choices. They also have impact through their influence over others, who in turn put forth effort and make choices affecting the organization’s performance. Thus it is important that our conception of executive activity extends beyond the realm of ‘Strategic Choice,’ to include ‘executive behaviors’….the daily actions of executives, particularly in how they interact with others, can have a major effect on organizational functioning and performance (Finkelstein et al., 2009, p.72).


The effectiveness of the leadership depends on the quality of the leader-follower relationships. LMX theory finds that high quality relationships lead to more effective leadership than low quality relationships. The leader’s relationships are different with the in-group and the out-group. Relationships are better with the in-group and the leader treats them differently – better.

Lead eff.

Out In

Are you in the in-group? Take test.

F. Servant

Emphasizes that effective leadership depends on meeting the needs of the followers. Harkens back to Cyrus the Great, and the shepherd analogies.

G. Strategic

Strategic leadership focuses on strategic decision making by the organization’s top executives (Boards of Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Executive Committees, and Divisional Heads) with ultimate responsibilities for formulating and implementing strategy (Finkelstein et al., 2009). The strategic leadership literature, like Andrews, recognizes the critical roles (top level) leaders play as both formulators and implementers of strategy, and that the decisions and actions of the leaders reflect their idiosyncratic experiences, motives, dispositions, tolerances for risks, and basic values:

.…the mainstay constructs of strategic management researchers – factors such as the environment, competitors, allies and the company’s resources – will provide us woefully incomplete explanations of company behaviors. Instead, we need to also consider, in an integral way, the biases and dispositions of the people at the top of the firm. In doing so, we will find that human factors – deriving from personality, experience, values, social connections, fatigue, envy, and so on – play a substantial role in affecting organizational outcomes (Finkelstein et al., 2009, p.4).

Strategic leadership recognizes the constraints imposed on strategy choice by the external environment, but does not give the structuralists a blank check. There is a substantial role for leadership in strategy, especially in ‘weak’ situations where external circumstances do not dictate a clear course of action because of uncertainty, ambiguity, or information overload: “….bounded rationality, multiple and sometimes incompatible goals, myriad options, and varying aspirational levels all serve to limit the extent to which complex decisions can be made on a techno-economic basis” (Finkelstein et al., 2009, p.44). Finkelstein, Hambrick and Cannella conclude “Depending on how much discretion exists, an organization’s form and fate may lie totally outside the control of its top managers, completely within their control, or more typically, somewhere in between” (Finkelstein et al., p. 26).

H. Authentic

Many theories are grapping some part of the leadership mastodon. Authentic focuses on being true to yourself in your leadership style, authentic – what you really believe, not faking it. Impacts are not much different from transformational leadership.

Authentic and other leadership theories (empathetic, servant, ethical) are “loaded” – the outcome is in the definition – ethical leadership is ethical and so it is good leadership because ethical is good. Authentic leadership is good because being authentic is good. They are in essence saying: good leadership is good.

Easy test – is unethical leadership good, is fake leadership good.

I. Global Leadership

Globalization has added new dimensions to strategy and leadership; made both more complex, raised new challenges to both the structural and managerial schools, and widened the gap between leadership and strategy. Importantly, globalization creates the classic ‘weak’ situation where the quantity, variability, uncertainty, and ambiguity of information test the limits of both the structural and managerial approaches to strategy. Structuralists search for more sophisticated planning tools that can cope with the heightened variability in the global, external environment. The managerial school emphasizes the leadership traits, behaviors, competencies, skills and ‘global mindsets’ needed to cope with the greater complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty globalization creates (Mendenhall, 2013). Both responses enhance the abilities of organizations to meet the challenges of globalization, but the strategic decision-making skills of leaders may be the critical competency that differentiates successful from unsuccessful companies in these ‘weak’ situations.

Note that researchers like to produce new models that create opportunities for more research, publications and tenure. Much of it is old win in new bottles. Servant goes back to Cyrus the Great over 2500 years ago.

J. Biological:

Biological studies – study genes, and neuroscience – brain waves and patterns – do leaders think about issues and problems differently from non-leaders. Very early, probably go no where.

Comments are closed.