What has history taught us about Leadership?

What has history taught us about Leadership?
February 3, 2021
Author: Amir Baddour
Source: Rasd

On the topic of engaged workforces, leadership attributes that effect high performance is a key variable discussed in management literature. One might ask, is fear a good motivator? What do employees expect from their leaders? and what is the most efficient leadership styles?

Throughout history, the concept of motivation has evolved constantly:

1- In 1943, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow made famous by his five-tier model of human needs. He elaborated on physiological needs, safety and security, belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization for a motivated workforce.

2- In 1947, sociologist Max Weber created the concept of transactional leadership where he placed focus on supervision and organization, he emphasized on careful monitoring of subordinates.

3- In 1950, an American management professor Douglas Mc Gregor formulated the Theory X & Theory Y in his book The Human Side of Enterprise. In his book Theory X individuals are resistant to change and therefore leaders need to motivate them, while Theory Y individuals are described as innately motivated and therefore a leader’s task is to merely direct their efforts.

4- In 1969, behavioral scientist Paul Harvey and business consultant Ken Blanchard created the situational leadership theory outlining four leadership styles corresponding with leaders’ responsibilities are to use each style depending on each subordinate’s level of maturity.

5- In 1973, the concept of transformational leadership was developed by Sociologist James Downton, and it was later expanded by a pioneer of leadership studies James Burns in 1978. Burns emphasized on the ability of leaders to encourage, inspire, and motivate employees to innovate and create change that will help grow and shape the future success of a company.

6- In 1985, an American professor who is a founding director of Center for Leadership Studies Bernard Bass, expanded the works of Max Weber and James Burns by suggesting that leadership can simultaneously display both transformational and transactional approaches.

What we witnessed throughout the years is that the most complete way to understand leadership is to view it through the transactional and transformational lens.

We can conclude that leaders are people who value order, structure, and focus on reward systems while also being individuals that can through empathetic and considerate leadership; motivate, inspire, encourage, and drive change.

Fear is not a good motivator and being a source of fear is not a successful strategy for effective leadership in the long run.

Learn more about transactional and transformational leadership with Rasd Leadership Consulting.

Sources: irmbrjournal, Business Balls, Florida Tech Online, Sophe Conference