Leadership Theories

The human relations and human factors approaches were absorbed into a broad behavioural science movement in the 1950’s and 1960’s. This period produced some influential theories on the motivation of human performance. For example, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs provided an individual focus on the reasons why people work. He argued that people satisfied an ascending series of needs from survival, through security to eventual ‘self-actualization’. In the same period, concepts of job design such as job enrichment and job enlargement were investigated.

It was felt that people would give more to an organization if they gained satisfaction from their jobs. Jobs should be designed to be interesting and challenging to gain the commitment of workers – a central theme of HRM. Classic theories were produced in the 1950s and 1960s within the human relations framework. By the 1970s most managers participating in formal management training were aware of: Theory X and Theory Y (McGregor, 1960); of Maslow and Herzberg’s motivation theories; and knew where they should be in terms of the managerial grid (Blake and Mouton, 1964).

These theorists advocated participative, ‘soft’ approaches to management. Interest in leadership increased during the early part of the twentieth century. Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished between leaders and followers, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill levels. While many different leadership theories have emerged, most can be classified as follows… There is a difference between beliefs values and attitude however they are all linked.

Our beliefs and values can have an impact on our attitude and behaviour. Beliefs are the assumptions we make about ourselves, about others in the world and about how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are. Beliefs tend to be deep set and our values stem from our beliefs Values are about how we have learnt to think things ought to be or people ought to behave, especially in terms of qualities such as honesty, integrity and openness which when people are asked what are their values tend to be the main values.

Attitudes are the established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the beliefs, values and assumptions we hold. How we respond to situation and our behaviour can reflect our attitude. However we can control our behaviour in away that does not reflect our beliefs and values. Which in order to embrace a diverse culture and behaviours as a successful manager we have to adapt out behaviour in a positive manner.