Effective Leadership And Contingency Theories

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Effective Leadership and Contingency Theories

Effective Leadership and Contingency Theories


Leadership is a concept used in many different contexts with an array of meanings. Accordingly, there is a lack of common understanding as to what leadership is and what constitutes good leadership. In fact, a Google search of leadership definition leads to more than 22 million results. The purpose of this assignment is to offer some clarity to the concept of leadership and provide a thoughtful discussion on leadership perspectives and models that can be identified as progressive and effective for both personal and organizational success.

Leadership is an important concept for professionals working in nonprofit organizations. The discussions in this assignment highlights how leadership is a process that takes place in all aspects of an organization, and professionals can influence leadership in the organization and the larger community from any level of an organization. To engage in leadership or enhance and demonstrate leadership skills, one must not be the CEO or a member of the board of directors. Anyone can engage in leadership through being a committed, engaged, and hard-working member of the organization who is in touch with and acts in line with the organizational purpose and values.

The term leadership, by its very nature, is laden with meaning often derived from the interpreter's varied life history. For some, this represents an internalized identity, shared processes, or civic engagement grounded in experiences as social activists, with developmental mentors, or from positive group experiences. For others, the term may elicit a more negative interpretation associated with abuses of power, positionality, or an impersonal focus on end goals. These interpretations are often the effect of socio-historical marginalization or negative encounters with those that inappropriately wielded influence. Both ends of this interpretive spectrum can also be found in the body of literature representing leadership theory. Contemporary theory, however, has attempted to reframe the term with a greater focus on moral discourse and social purpose, shifting away from previous theory that favored management, production, and authority. (Fiedler, 1964, pp: 149)

Understandings of Effective Leadership

In everyday language, the word leadership is used in a variety of ways, resulting in a myriad of quite different understandings of the same word. A few examples follow:

Position or rank: “The leadership of the organization is made up of six members.”

Status or market share: “The organization has leadership in the industry.”

Direction: “She provided leadership for the initiative.”

Skill or capacity: “He demonstrates strong leadership.”

Activity: “The group engaged in leadership.”

These different understandings can also be distinguished by something someone is (position), something someone has (skill), and something someone does (activity). These are three different concepts that are worth distinguishing. Another important distinction is the difference between leader and leadership, two concepts and terms often used interchangeably. Whereas a leader is a position or a person, leadership can be viewed as an activity. In addition, while a leader can engage in leadership, it is important to recognize that leaders do not always engage in leadership, and one need not hold the title ...
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