In the past few years there has been a noticeable increase our countries appetite for training, self-help, and literature on the subject of leadership. Books and programs taken from the theories and practices of coaches, athletes, chief executives, and even Charles Shultz's animated character, Snoopy are abundant in every bookstore and coffee shop in America. While leadership is not a new concept, it is certainly being promoted as an essential factor in our business cultures and personal lives. This analysis of leadership takes a look at some of the classical models and theories and compares them to contemporary approaches. (Vroom 2008)
In discussing leadership and management, the term authority brings an interesting aspect to the conversation. Authority, according to Barnard (2006), is subjective and objective in nature and is ineffective in specific instances. He further states, "It is so ineffective that the violation of authority is accepted as a matter of course and its implications are not considered." In today's society, we drive faster than the posted speed limits because a few miles over is deemed acceptable. As sinners, we continually break the laws set forth in the Ten Commandments. The point Barnard makes is that "which specific laws will be obeyed or disobeyed by the individual citizen are decided by him under the specific conditions pertinent." In this setting it is called individual responsibility. By disobeying the laws of the church we are subjected to moral responsibility (p. 163). What about public opinion? (Santora 2007)
As quoted in Barnard (2006) from the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, "Whether authority is of personal or institutional origin it is created and maintained by public opinion, which in turn is conditioned by sentiment, affection, reverence, or fatalism" (p. 164). The implications of authority to leadership are just as critical as motivation and decision-making. In general terms, without public support, leaders will have a difficult time accomplishing the mission and vision of the company. If the leaders can't effectively communicate the mission and vision, then subordinates might feel the rhetoric is inconsistent with the organizational views. Jesus even submitted to a higher authority (Luke 22:42) but paid the ultimate price to change public opinion and to give mankind salvation.
This idea of situational influence is seen in the Contingency Model and to some extent in the normative and prescriptive models of leader behavior. One of the earliest leadership theories is the Contingency Model, which takes into account the leaders personality and the situational aspects that affect behavior and performance (Fiedler, 2006). Personality varies between relationship-motivated and task-motivated leaders. Situational favorableness is the degree that the situation gives the leader control and influence. In other words, the less control a leader has, the more stressful the decision will be. The outcome of the leaders performance is contingent on the personality/situational mix, which implies that some leaders perform better in certain situations but poorly in others. In choosing leaders with certain behaviors, it is necessary for the executive management to evaluate the position with the ...