Leadership is a prominent topic in management with a growing body of knowledge derived from practice, theory and research.
The current state of knowledge is best described as different leadership approaches supported by a more or less strong body of evidence regarding their effectiveness. This way of understanding leadership from an Evidence-based Management point of view is in stark contrast to the simplified concepts promoted by many popular business books and articles. However, being aware of those leadership approaches, their strengths, weaknesses and limitations is the very basis to strengthen your management skills.
This "how to lead guide" provides you a concise overview of different leadership approaches and the available body of evidence regarding their effectiveness. You'll also find CQ Dossiers and journal papers with more information about each leadership approach in this "how to lead guide". However, please keep in mind that the body of evidence related to a specific business challenge is always an incomplete snapshot at any given point in time. This also applies to leadership.
There are at least as many definitions of leadership available as leadership approaches. From a management practitioner's point of view, leadership is all about interventions that target at influencing individuals, teams or an organization in a way such that
a common understanding of a desired future state is created,
the future state is committed by all relevant stakeholders,
the organization changes into to right direction such that the future state is achieved.
As a result, leadership knowledge is not only relevant for people who occupy a formal leadership position, but for all executives, managers and professionals who want to see boost their career and change the world for the better.
This CQ Dossier describes the qualities of transformational leaders and how they gain commitment to their vision and the mission of the organization. The paper draws on the main theories of transformational leadership to present the key behaviors that distinguish transformational leaders from transactional leaders.
Over the last ten years, researchers have focused on Transformational Leadership as being an effective leadership strategy to implement within public and private sector organizations. This CQ Dossier focus on Transformational Leadership and poses the question on when the theory is effective and ineffective for individual and organizational success
This CQ Dossier discusses the trait-based approach to leadership and reviews those personality traits that distinguish effective from ineffective leaders. The dossier also identifies key skills or competencies that are related to leader effectiveness and can be used by organizations for selection, promotion, and training.
This CQ Dossier focuses on the topic of authentic leadership which emphasizes the importance of leaders building honest and transparent relationships with their followers. The dossier describes the key component of authentic leadership and also describes how organizations can best identify and develop these behaviors in management.
Over the last two decades, there has been a range of theories to identify and understand behaviors that drive organizational effectiveness. Most recently, the model of complexity leadership has been proposed as an antidote to rigid, leadership theories that conform to the status quo.
This CQ Dossier describes the key components of implicit leadership theory. The dossier draws on research by Robert Lord and his colleagues to show how the assumptions that followers hold regarding what constitutes an effective leader can influence performance ratings.
This CQ Dossier focuses on the importance of relationships within the leadership literature. It describes the theories of leader-member exchange (LMX) and servant leadership to describe how effective leaders build quality and strong relationships with each of their followers to gain commitment to the organizational mission.
This CQ Dossier focuses on the dark or destructive side of leadership and utilizes a trait approach in understanding destructive leaders. It summarizes the main personality traits that categorize destructive leaders, including narcissism, psychopathy, hubris and Machiavellianism.
Most of the research on leader effectiveness has focused on the positive side of leader behavior. However, there is evidence that toxic leaders can seriously undermine organizational life through creating a climate of intolerance and incivility. This CQ Dossier describes toxic leadership and how this negative form of leadership can disrupt effective performance management.