June 21, 2024

Leadership Theories and Style

Leadership Theories and Style

This post on ‘Leadership Theories and Style’ was written after reading “Leadership Theories and Style: A Transitional Approach,” by Russell, E. I found Situational theories as the most important leadership theory in today’s global economy. Below is how I find the aspects of this theory to describe leadership.

Leadership Theories

For decades, many researchers, philosophers and professors have spent time studying leadership. Therefore, there are several leadership theories available (Leadership-Central ,n.a.). On the other hand, most organizations look for ways to develop leaders that can help the success of their organizations in the long term. However, the availability of many leadership theories is an issue (Russell, 2011). Such different leadership theories and styles make it difficult for organizations to choose the best one that can help the growth of the organization through their leaders (Russell, 2011). After reading the paper “Leadership Theories and Style: A Transitional Approach,” I found Situational Theories is most important in today’s global economy.

Situational Theories

In situational theories leadership, it hypothesizes that there is no best leadership style. Instead, according to this theory, the leader decides the most effective leadership according to the task to be carried out (Russell, 2011). Situational leadership theory is also referred to as the Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory, due to the contribution of Dr. Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard in developing this theory (Cherry, 2020). In Situational Leadership Theory, we can find four different leadership styles that are telling, selling, participating and delegating (Russell, 2011).

Telling (S1): In this style, the leader tells the subordinates about what to do and how to do it before beginning a project. Once subordinates know how to do it by gaining more experience and knowledge, the leader may shift to another approach (Cherry, 2020).

Selling (S2): In This style leaders and followers are involved. Leaders “sell” their ideas to the followers expecting ‘’buy’’ group members to their process (Cherry, 2020).

Participating (S3): In this leadership style, the leader doesn’t offer many directions. Instead, he expects the team members to participate and come up with better ideas that help make better decisions (Cherry, 2020).

Delegating (S4): In This approach, the leader doesn’t involve much. However, the leader allows the team members to make decisions by taking more responsibilities (Cherry, 2020).

The aspects of this theory that best explain its ability to describe leadership

In Situational leadership, a relationship-oriented approach is used by the leaders and therefore it is known as a flexible approach. With four different approaches, this theory encourages collaboration among the team members which is vital for the success of any organization (IMD, 2021). Situational leadership style allows leaders to adapt to current, past or future situations with the most suitable leadership strategy which encourage them in facing challenges successfully.

On the other hand, situational leaders are good communicators whom they can easily connect with their subordinates. This aspect helps to identify the maturity level of the subordinates and plan for any training and development programs as necessary (IMD, 2021). This leadership style helps to motivate the employees and as a result, productivity can be improved which is a necessity for today’s business organizations.


Leadership is important for the success of business organizations. Today, there are several different leadership theories and styles available. However, organizations need to understand and choose the best leadership style for their organizational growth considering its employees and strategies. On the other hand, situational leadership is people-oriented and suits leaders who look for facing challenges by being adaptive to the situation.


Cherry, K. (2020). The Situational Theory of Leadership.  Very Well Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-situational-theory-of-leadership-2795321

Leadership-Central. (n.a.). Leadership Theories. https://www.leadership-central.com/leadership-theories.html#axzz4clkUEVG7

Russell, E. (2011, September 8). Leadership theories and style: A transitional approach. General Douglas MacArthur Military Leadership Writing Competition.

Disclaimer: This post was created using a paper written as part of the MBA program.

Also read:  Situational Theory of Leadership

Amila Gamage

Amila Gamage is the founder of Sihela Consultants and Builtlogy digital magazine. Her experience in the construction industry is over 17 years specializing in contract management. She is also an ACLP certified trainer in Singapore and conducts workshops and training sessions on related topics.

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