Four Main Approaches of Effective Leadership

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About this sample


Words: 1740 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Words: 1740|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Table of contents

  1. Transformational Leadership
  2. Charismatic Leadership
  3. Transactional Leadership
  4. Situational Leadership
  5. Organizational Climate
    Emotional Intelligence
  6. Conclusion

Leadership has been researched over the last five decades, resulting in the development of 65 classifications and 350 definitions with an emphasis on understanding the positive 'good' characteristics leading to the glamorization of leadership today. As a result, leaders are considered the saviors and heroes for organizations in crisis. Leadership is defined as a motivation strategy that inspires a group or team development to achieve a common goal. Effective leadership requires specific characteristics that differ from management. According to Kanungo, leaders provide vision and strategy; management implements that vision and strategy, coordinates and staffs the organization, and handles day-to-day problems. There are four effective  leadership approaches that explain the positive and negative properties of leader-follower dynamics. The four approaches are transformational leadership, charismatic leadership, transactional leadership, and situational leadership.

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Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership was first introduced by James Burns and the concept of the process in which “leaders and followers help each other to advance to higher-level morale and motivation.” The transforming approach creates significant changes in the life of people and organizations. With transformational leadership, this is an example of working towards the benefit of the team and organization. This management style creates value and positive change in the employees of an organization with the end goal of developing followers into leaders. According to Bass, transformational leadership occurs when leaders “inspire, energize and intellectually stimulate their employees” . With adequate training, managers can focus on the required techniques and qualities to adjust employees to become transformational leaders. This type of leadership focuses on the employee’s values, emotions, ethics, and long-term goals while assessing motives that can change an individual’s views of the leadership within the organization. Transformational leaders are excellent role models, where they inspire their followers with self-efficacy, believing they can go beyond expectations. The main contributor is Bernand Bass and Bruce Avolio, who developed and refined the theory of what transformational leadership consists of. This style of leadership is recognized in four components which are:

  • Individualized consideration: this is where a leader attends to each follower's needs, acts as a mentor to the follower, and listens to the followers' concerns and needs. The leader displays empathy and provides support for each individual situation. Keeping communication open and showing individualized consideration, this aspires the followers to contribute their talents to the workplace, which develops their key skills and behaviors.
  • Inspirational motivation: Leaders with inspirational motivation challenge their followers with high standards, communicate positivity about future goals, and provide meaning to the on-hand task. Followers need to have a strong sense of purpose whereas leaders provide purpose and meaning to drive their group forward. This encourages followers to invest more effort in their tasks and to be optimistic about their future and invest in their own abilities.
  • Intellectual stimulation: transformational leaders challenge assumptions, takes a risk, and solicit followers’ ideas. Leaders recognize followers through stimulation, creativity, and innovation, where they nurture and develop people who think independently. Employees are encouraged to use critical thinking when thinking independently.
  •  Idealized influence: these are role models for their followers because they engage in high standards of ethical behavior. These leaders are deeply respected by followers, who usually place a great deal of trust in them, where they provide a sense of vision and mission.

Transformational leadership is visible at all tiers of the organization. This type of leaders has close contact with their followers and display authenticity in showing their strengths and weakness within the organization. CEOs who are transformational leaders have a significant impact on the performance of their organization due to their image seen as positive role models whose behavior is recognized throughout all tiers of the organization.

Charismatic Leadership

This leadership style is recognized as encouraging particular behaviors by eloquent communication, persuasion, and force of personality. Charismatic leaders motivate their followers to achieve their goals or improve their objectives of the goal. These leaders have the distinct ability to divide and decipher a lack of effectiveness within an organization. With the traits of critical thinking, this acts as a key factor in finding ways to solve a variety of problems. Charismatic leaders act in a special way with their followers based on personal characteristics and specific behavioural types which include: strong role models for the adoption of beliefs and values in followers,

  • competent to followers,
  • articulate ideological goals with moral overtones,
  • communicate high expectations to followers,
  • arouse task-oriented movement in followers.


Transactional Leadership

The transactional style of leadership was first introduced by Max Weber in 1947 and expanded on by Bernard Bass in 1981. Transactional leadership focuses on the exchanges between the leader and the employee. This requires supervision, oversight, and performance-monitoring over employees. These types of leaders are task-oriented and focus on descriptive employee’s roles and task requirements by providing specified rewards and punishment based on performance results. This leadership style takes an outlook of a behavioral approach to leadership based on the rewards and punishments system. In transactional leadership, the exchange between the leader and follower consists of four dimensions which are:

  • Contingent rewards: with this method, leaders link the goal to rewards, explain expectations, provide needed resources, set equally agreed-upon goals, and provide numerous ways of rewards for successful performance. Transactional leaders set SMART goals for their followers to achieve.
  • Active Management by Exception: actively monitoring the work of their followers, watching for deviations from rules and standards and captivating corrective actions to avoid mistakes.
  • Passive Management by Exception: this method allows leaders to intervene when standards are not met, or the overall performance is poor and not as per the expectations. A punishment system may act as a response to unacceptable performance.
  • Laissez-faire: this is recognized as a free environment to a group where they have tons of opportunities to make decisions. Since the leader removes himself from the responsibilities and avoid making decisions for the group, which the group lacks guidance.

Situational Leadership

This leadership style has been developed and studied by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey. This type of leadership focuses on how a leader motivates and influences followers in situations. Leaders need to adapt their styles to understand the demands of their followers in different situations for this type of leadership to be successful. With situational leadership, the leaders must change their style, compared to the follower adapting to the leader’s style. Leaders evaluate and assess employees based on their competence and commitment to perform tasks. In situational leadership, there are two types of dynamics that are directive and supportive. Depending on the situation and the employees’ motivation to complete a task, leaders can adjust whether they are directive or supportive in accommodating the needs of employees. In 1985, the Situational Leadership II (SLII) model was developed to substitute Situational Leadership I (SLI). In comparison to the SLI model, four leadership styles of development were added, which are:

  • Directing: high-directive/low-supportive
  • Coaching: high-directive/high-supportive
  • Supporting: high-supportive/low-directive
  • Delegating: low-supportive/low-directive

For situational leadership to display an optimistic effect, leaders need to understand and determine where followers are on the developmental continuum and adapt the style of leadership necessary to match the level of commitment and competence in achieving a task.

Organizational Climate

Companies strive to recruit and retain decent quality leaders, which influences and create positive organizational environments. An organizational environment is also recognized as an organizational climate. Litwin and Stringer defined organizational climate as a set of measurable properties of the work environment that influences an individual's motivation and behavior directly or indirectly. In a positive organizational climate, employees are motivated, satisfied, or overly satisfied, high expectations, and display commitment to the company and its mission. The attitude and behavior of managers and the way an organization run have major effects on the employee’s outlooks and views, which creates an organizational climate. With the organization's climate positivity, this can increase financial results such as revenue growth, profits, and return on sales of the organization. The organization climate acts as an influencer on organizational success and effectiveness, where leaders with high emotional intelligence add value to managerial decision making. There are seven main organizational climates which influence employee’s behavior:

  • Structure: clear definitions of responsibilities and roles being completely organized.
  • Responsibility: the degree in which employees feel responsible for accomplishing their job
  • Risk: the willingness to take risk and chances of the ideas of employees
  • Reward: based on the quality of work, incentives are given to employees who display significant high performance in a company.
  • Warmth and support: a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages relationships with employees and managers
  • Conflict: maintaining good interpersonal relations and avoiding conflicts and disagreements
  • Expected approval: loyalty and pride towards the workgroup and organization

Do you think leaders are born or created? Some individuals consist of extensive leadership abilities compared to others; however, by improving specific skills and adjusting personal characteristics, anyone can be a leader. There are a few characteristics that are associated with and identifying an effective leader which are:

  • Communication skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Self-confidence
  • Job-relevant knowledge
  • Ability to motivate people
  • Analytical skills

With these characteristics being recognized, the CEO’s know exactly what they’re looking for in choosing effective leaders.

Emotional Intelligence

The characteristics listed above are recognized as noticeable qualities of a leader. However, emotional intelligence recognized as the key determinant of effective leadership in 1990, the term emotional intelligence was introduced by Salovey and Mayer where the cognitive ability was to understand, recognize and evaluate the meaning of emotions in order to reason and solve problems. Salovey and Mayer’s model is recognized as the ability model. Mayer and Salovey, emotional intelligence is defined with four categories: “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth”. When Goleman published his book, “EI why it can matter more than IQ,” emotional intelligence became popular with his performance-based model, which was based on five skills: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. The first three skills are recognized as personal capabilities, and the last two are recognized as social capabilities. Leaders with high EI consists of better management over employees to facilitate and improve their performance effectively. The emotional intelligence of leaders is associated with increased employee job satisfaction and “extra-role” behaviors.

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Effective leadership influences followers through persuasion to achieve common organizational goals. Leadership consists of four basic components which are: leadership includes goal attainment, leadership involves influencing followers, leadership occurs in group situations, and leadership is a process that is a transactional event that occurs between leaders and followers. With the development of leadership, the evaluation of effective leadership focuses on the leader-follower relationship, where the leader influences and motivates employees to achieve goal accomplishment of the organization.

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Four Main Approaches of Effective Leadership. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
“Four Main Approaches of Effective Leadership.” GradesFixer, 30 Aug. 2022,
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