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Leaders and followers Essay

Leadership has always been a subject of interest to scholars. The study of leadership has evolved over the past decades to include a more integrated approach. The main question that leadership studies seeks to answer is how leaders and followers interact to achieve desired goals of an organization. The theories of leadership, that is contingency, transformational and transactional theories, all have a consensus that there is definitely a relationship between the overall success of leadership and the follower-leader equation.

According to Avolio, emerging contingency models like Fiedler’s (1967) trait contingency model all connect different leadership styles to specific contextual demands that resulted in better performance. In some cases the nature of the follower in the leader-follower relationship. That is to say that the positive leadership results are the function of the fit between the leader’s traits, style and orientation to the follower’s maturity and situational challenges (Avolio, 2007, pg 26-27).

Enhart and Klein conducted a study which showed that followers scoring high on self-esteem and risk-taking were more likely to be attracted to transformational leaders. Therefore transformational theory argues that followers’ decision to follow a leader is usually an active process, based on the extent to which the leader is perceived as

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representing the follower’s identity and values.

Transactional theories on the other hand base the leader-follower relationship on a system of rewards and punishments such that over all performance depends on conditioning of workers using his rewards-punishment system. What is to note is that research has shown that there is a link between personality and transformational and transactional leadership styles, where extraversion is seen as the key trait for transformational leadership (Bono & Judge, 2004, pg 905).

The implications of these theoretical perspectives on organizations in general are broad and dynamic. While transformational theories stress the link between follower values and identity to the leader, contingency theory stress the importance of matching the leader’s traits , style and orientation to the follower’s maturity and situational challenges, transactional theories on the other hand stress on the need to have leaders use rewards and punishments to motivate followers (Northouse, 2009, pg 172).

OPD professionals concerned with developing and implementing a talent management and development strategies through an organization’s leaders have to take these theories into consideration. The best option would be to integrate these theories to come up with a system relevant to the unique situation of the organization that they are dealing with. Leadership theories influence the management of organizations. At The Home Depot the transactional theory has been applied.

Following the resignation of the then CEO Robert Nardelli, his successor Frank Blake, was given a conservative compensation package that was very heavily dependant on the success of the company. Again, based on the theories my relations with the leaders of the company may be based on my values and identity so that I may be drawn to leaders who best represent my values and identity. The leader-follower relationship is an integral part of any organization.

The nature of this relationship may vary depending on the situation, the personality of the followers, their values and identities and the leaders’ personality, style and orientation. There is a need for OPD professionals concerned with developing and implementing a talent management and development strategies through an organization’s leaders to integrate the available leadership theories in order to come up with a custom-made system for each individual organization. References Northouse, P. G. (2009). Leadership: Theory and Practice. California. Sage Publications, Inc.

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