Major Theories In Peter Northouse's Leadership Theory And Practice Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Leadership Type: Essay Paper: #35750751 Related Topics: Theories, Theory, Personality Theory, Transformational Leadership
Excerpt from Essay :

Peter Northouse's Leadership: Theory and Practice takes on a number of salient theories regarding the formal academic and professional discipline of leadership. As such, the reader is given a comprehensive overview of some of the most meaningful and widely used approaches to leadership of contemporary and even historical times. On the whole, the book is well written and succinct. It may have benefitted from a greater usage of empirical evidence, although it is beneficial that there are several different authors and points of expertise utilized within this manuscript.

Most people would assume that the traits based approach to leadership is one which is largely immutable. On certain levels it is, as certain characteristic traits are endemic to individuals and are with them from early on in life. The best description of the traits based approach to leadership is that leaders use their natural attributes and aspects of their personality as the core reasons that followers should adhere to them. In The Five-Factor Personality model is referenced as a point in which readers can understand what sorts of attributes are considered part of one's personality and which affect this type of leadership. Moreover, the author concludes the chapter on attributes leadership by denoting that the most time-honored influential traits include intelligence, sociability, self-confidence, determination and integrity. There certainly appears to be a lot of validity to the author's framing of the trait based approach, and the leaders referenced within this section are pretty convincing examples of this style of leadership in action. It seems as though some of the traits referenced as the most ideal ones are subjective, such as integrity. What one person considers esteemed integrity in certain situations may not appear so in other ones, which introduces the difficult question of ethics.



One would assume that skills are also intractable, however they are not. In fact, the fact that leaders are able to acquire, hone and sharpen their skills is one of the best facets of this approach to leadership. In describing skill-based leadership, the author stratifies the sort of skills required into those that are technical and those based on relating well to people. There is an emphasis on the fact that one set of skills is largely inadequate without the other. Northouse outlines the Three Skills approach in which leaders monitor attributes, competencies and the outcomes of their skills. One of the most integral facets of the author's analysis of this type of leadership is the due emphasis he places on the combination of human and technical skills -- which is actually one of the most difficult things for a leader to do. However, one can learn both of these skills, which is encouraging.

Some might assume that style leadership theory is based on the particular preferences of a leader. However, the author quickly dispels such a misconception by describing this type of leadership as one which is essentially focused on the leader's subordinates. He denotes that the two main types of behaviors associated with leadership style include that which is relationship and task-based. However, it is key to note that the way one's followers respond and conceive of leadership plays a fundamental role in which sort of behavior a leader utilizes. Northouse buttresses his description of this approach to leadership with copious references to the University of Michigan and Ohio State studies. By far, the most elucidating aspect of the knowledge disseminated about this type of leadership is that it is partly determined by the capacities of one's followers. Such a fact is not discussed in leadership theory, nor thought about by leaders.

The most fundamental assumption one would have regarding the application of situational leadership theory is that it would apply to various situations. This assumption is predominantly true as Northouse's definition indicates. However, he chooses to explicate this type of leadership by utilizing the model advocated by Hershey and Blanchard. There is a degree of correlation between this type of leadership and that pertaining to style, since the two main behaviors, both taken and relationship elucidated in the latter are evinced in the former as either directive or supportive, respectively. The level of commitment and competencies evinced by one's followers play a large role in determining whether directive or supportive behaviors best apply to a given situation. This leadership theory is fairly easy to grasp, especially after reading the literature about leadership style. By placing these…

Sources Used in Documents:


Northouse, P. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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