Introduction traits in leaders who have been


Leadership in profit making and non-profit making organizations has been under study for the past one century. As a result, there have been various theories explaining effective leadership in profit and non-profit making organizations. Leaders have been defined as being individuals with lots of impacts on others to act in a manner that will ensure attainment of organization’s goal or objective.

However, there has been no enough information explaining the application of such leadership theories in business setting. In addition, the strength and weaknesses of contemporary leadership models have not been exploited fully. As a result, this easy critically demonstrates an application of my knowledge of organization management by synthesizing the information from different readings and class work into work and life experience in organization management.

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Primary Leadership Theories

According to Yuki (1994), “the main primary leadership theories used in profit and non-profit organizations are Trait Theory, the Behavior Theory and the Contingency Theory. Current leadership theories being researched are Transformational and Servant Leadership.” (Yukl, 1994)

Trait Theory: this theory assumes that people are born already having traits which are inherited from generation to another in their lineage. There are some traits which are suited for leadership while others are not. As a result, proponents of this theory try to differentiate different traits in leaders who have been perceived as being great.

They have tried to research on physical traits like the leaders’ height as well as psychological like temperament. At long last, their studies have proved the fact that there exist no universal traits of such leaders. However, there are some traits which were found to be of much significance for any leader. Such traits include “Adaptable to situations, Alert to social environment, Ambitious and achievement-orientated, Assertive, Cooperative, Decisive and Dependable,” ( 2011) among others.

On the other hand, the theory identifies various skills required by any leader in order to be termed as great. Such skills include, “Clever (intelligent), conceptually skilled, Creative, Diplomatic and tactful, Knowledgeable about group task, Organized, Persuasive, and socially skilled.” ( 2011)

Behavior Theory: it has been stipulated that, behaviors are significant for any leader. This is because; it has been assumed that, behaviors are very important as compared to physical characteristics or mental traits. Studies have found that “Two types of behavior correlate with great leaders, according to the theory: the ability to organize a task and the ability to express consideration for subordinates.” (Rowe 2007)

Contingency theory: according to this theory, the most significant quality of any great leader is his or her capability to respond to any contingency that he or she is faced with. Some of these significant contingencies include “respect level, kind of trust felt by workers for the leader, the level at which the leader can organize any task ahead of him or her, as well as the control over reward and recognition processes for his/her subordinates.” ( 2011)

Servant and Transformational Leadership Theory: this theory states that, “leaders who are transformational have the ability to impact their subordinates by being examples and much inspiration by him/her-self.” (Jago 1982) Such leaders usually motivate their subordinates to an extent that they end up performing above and even beyond their job stipulations.

Servant leadership on the other hand denies leaders the privilege position, by giving them a responsibility position. This gives them the responsibility of achieving best possible results for the organization they are working for, the subordinates as well as customers or clients.

Applications of Various Leadership Theories in Business Settings

There exist no single leadership theory that has been applied in business, but in case there is a single application of leadership theory, no matter the process, leaders have brought success in business. However, the difference comes in the processes under which one brings such success. Successful business operations depend much on leadership theories. Such theories have been applied in casting visions, motivating employees as well as positive change implementation.

Leadership theories like transformational and behavior theories have been applied directly in the development &management of corporate culture in any organization. In such a manner, such theories have been applied in training effective leaders in business operations to “produces productive systems, satisfied employees and a positive public image.”(Yukl, 1994)

Leadership theories like trait and behavioral theories have been used in the creation of highly productive as well as enjoyable business settings. This is based on the fact that, they have been in a position to bring up leaders who have the ability of defining “business’ vision statement, goals and standards the company will uphold.” ( 2011)

These theories have been used to fulfill the responsibility of encouraging both feedbacks as well as change implementation. Such theories have been addressing conflict resolution issues as well as making wise decisions concerning business environments.

Leadership theories have been very helpful in the process of identifying leadership types in business settings. Some of these leadership types include, “authoritative leaders, who operate solely, making executive decisions that are communicated to lower-management and implemented throughout the company.

Democratic business leadership relies on employee feedback and participation to make decisions and brainstorm.”(Jago 1982) Democratic leadership has copied more from transformational leadership theory by ensuring that business leaders are in a position of giving tasks to different teams, while still overseeing other tasks.

Leadership theories like trait, behavior, contingency and others, have shown leadership qualities like integrity, communication skills in business settings. Leaders having such qualities have been exceeding their expectations, apart from living up to the standards of their expectations. Business leaders have applied such qualities in effective communication both at personal and organization’s levels; they have also been in a position of foreseeing issues like success, apart from having the ability to plan for difficulties in advance.

Leadership theories have been applied in business particularly in the creation of “an effective organizational structure, satisfied employees and a positive public image.” (Jago 1982)This is based on the fact that, Leadership theories have been responsible for combining systems as well as policies that have been established in any business setting.

In one way or the other, apart from inspiring and guiding employees, employees have also find greater satisfaction as a result of “vision, direction and reward which produces purpose and fulfillment.” (Rowe 2007) Companies have used leadership theories in the process of creating public image. This has been due to well thought out external communication. Such theories have been in apposition of taking care of clients and ensuring healthy business relations.

However, it should be noted that, the application of leadership theories in business setting is a growth process which might require continual training as well as development through seminars, reading books as well as joining network accountability groups.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Contemporary Leadership Models

Contemporary leadership models have the ability of developing visions as well as inspiring followers to attain a certain goal. Managers following contemporary leadership models like transformational as well as charismatic models have the ability to lead passionately as well as enthusiastically.

This is because; the models have the ability to equip such managers with convincing power, hence they can convince their subordinates to accept changes that have been recommended. As a result, their subordinates remain committed to the completion of necessary work for organization transformation.

On the other hand, leadership models increases dependence on leaders. Though such leaders have the ability to attract followers that need inspirational along with energetic guidance, such followers might be convinced by leadership models to follow their leaders blindly. This is because; followers might place lots of emphasis on pleasing their leaders, other than attaining a long term objective.

Such models can also lead to abuse and misuse of powers. It is true that leaders following leadership models usually come out of risky situations as they usually inspire their followers to take chances that might lead to innovations and creativity.

However, such leaders may “use their powers to make positive impacts in organizations, some leaders exploit their totalitarian control by manipulating situations for their own gains. Subordinates may obey leaders without considering the long-term impacts as these leaders are so convincing and inspiring.” ( 2011)

Last but not least, such models are only based on theoretical statements, not putting into practice the real life managers as well as leaders undergo while undertaking their operations.


In conclusion, though there isn’t enough information explaining the application of primary leadership theories in profit and non-profit organization, this essay has provided at least some information concerning primary leadership theories used in profit as well as non-profit organization. It has also outlined how such theories have been applied in business settings.

Apart from addressing the strength of contemporary leadership models in day to day leadership strategies, the essay has also addressed their weaknesses. With is kind of synthesized information, organization leaders can achieve more in their organization, as compared to their job descriptions.


Jago, G. (1982). Leadership: Perspectives in theory and research. Management Science. 28(3): 315-336.

Rowe, W. (2007). Cases in Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. . (2011). Leadership – The Rise of Contemporary Leadership Theory. Retrieved on 04 August 2011 from:

Yukl, G. (1994). Leadership in Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.