Behavioral Leadership Theory: Being a Good Leader

There are many ways to be a leader, and no one way is the best. In fact, many different types of leadership styles can be effective in different situations. Behavioral Leadership Theory is one of the most popular frameworks for helping people learn about leadership. This article will give you the basics of what this theory is all about so that you can decide whether or not it’s right for your situation!

What Is Behavioral Leadership Theory

Behavioral Leadership Theory is a theory of leadership that focuses on the behavior of leaders and how they impact followers.

In the mid-1900s, Kurt Lewin developed a model for understanding leadership. Later on, an associate of his named Rensis Likert refined it in order to describe how leaders influence followers.

The two main components of this theory are:

  • The Leader’s Personal Attributes (e.g., intelligence, skills)
  • The Leader’s Behaviours (e.g., communication style)

The Leader’s Personal Attributes The first part of this theory focuses on the leader’s personal attributes. Specifically, it looks at how a leader’s intelligence, skills, and values impact their ability to influence others. It also considers what type of person they are (e.g., extrovert vs introvert).

Types of Behavioural Leadership

There are several different leadership styles you can use to influence your team. For example, you might be a big-picture leader who focuses on the overall direction and vision, or you may be more task-focused and direct employees in their day-to-day work.

While all of these styles are valid, it’s important to remember that they do not encompass every effective way of leading an organization effectively. You might think about which style suits your personality best before deciding on your approach; however, if you’re not sure what type of behavioral leadership will work for your organization or team members, some general guidelines can help guide this decision:

  • Some leaders are task-oriented while others are relationship builders. Knowing which one fits best will make it easier for everyone involved (bosses included).
  • If there’s too much focus on one aspect without equal consideration given to the other half (like trusting employees with little guidance), then mistakes will inevitably occur due to miscommunication between the parties involved!

Democratic Leadership Style

Democratic leadership is a style of leadership that involves the involvement of people in decision-making. This can be done through an informal consensus-building process or a formal process such as voting or surveys.

Democratic leaders make decisions with the input of others and are open to suggestions from their employees. They make themselves accessible to all employees, share information with them, and welcome criticism.

This style of leadership is very effective for environments that require a lot of creativity, innovation, and change. It also works well in situations where employees are highly motivated and have a high level of education. This is because it allows them to be involved in decision-making processes and makes them feel valued by the company.

Authoritarian Leadership

Authoritarian leadership is the most common type of leadership. It’s also the least effective. Authoritarian leaders want to control and dominate their employees. They have a “command and control” mentality, which means they believe they know what’s best for everyone, so they don’t ask for employee feedback or advice.

Authoritarian leaders don’t seek out their employees’ ideas because it would mean giving up some control over them.

Authoritarian leaders don’t show compassion, because they believe it makes them look weak and makes you question their decisions. They want nothing more than for their people to follow orders without question or hesitation because who knows better than them?

Servant Leadership Style

Servant leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on the needs of the people being led. These leaders make their primary interest in taking care of their followers and treating them with dignity and respect. In this way, servant leaders are able to motivate their teams by creating an environment where people feel safe and comfortable coming forward with ideas or issues they need help with.

Servant leaders do not use fear as a motivator for their staff. Instead, they inspire them through trust and confidence in one another’s abilities. Servant leaders act as stewards by managing resources carefully and responsibly, both those that belong to themselves personally, as well as those entrusted to them in their capacity as leaders (for example budgets).

They also work hard to ensure everyone feels valued within the group they lead. No matter if they’re high-performing employees or new team members who haven’t yet proven themselves but still deserve respect all the same!

See Related: 10 Proven Servant Leadership Characteristics You Can Build

Country Club Leadership

This type of leadership is all about taking care of employees. The emphasis is on caring and nurturing, not on getting production out of employees.

The leader wants to help his or her team succeed in any way possible. But they won’t push their members too hard if they are underperforming because they don’t want to see them get hurt or become unhappy.

The leader wants their employees to feel like they are part of a family, and they want to be loved and appreciated by those who work for them. This type of leadership is often seen within small businesses or organizations. Where people know each other well and have worked together for many years.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is a theory that suggests that the most effective leaders are those who have a vision for the future, inspire others to achieve it, and act as examples for their followers to emulate. In order to be this kind of leader, you need to:

  • Have a vision for the future
  • Inspire others to achieve that vision
  • Act as an example for those around you

Transformational leadership is a type of leadership that focuses on creating change within an organization. This type of leadership is often seen in large corporations. People may not know each other well, but they need to come together to achieve a common goal. The theory behind transformational leadership says that the most effective leaders are those who have a vision for the future, inspire others to achieve it, and act as examples for their followers to emulate.

See Related: Charismatic Leadership Characteristics and Examples of Great Leaders

Transactional Leadership

If you’re looking to be a transactional leader, it means that your focus will be on the task at hand. This type of leadership often leads to positive outcomes for both the employee and employer. A good example of this would be if an employee does something right like hit a sales number and then gets a bonus because of it.

Transactional leadership is effective when the leader and follower have a clear understanding of their roles. It works well in environments where leaders are focused on what needs to be done. And followers are motivated by rewards or punishments.

Laissez Fare Leadership

This style of leadership involves delegating tasks to your team members. And allowing them to decide how to complete the task. The leader also allows the team members to decide on the best way to achieve the goal. This is more of a hands-off approach as compared to other styles. The leader provides a clear vision and direction for his or her group/team by communicating what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and when it needs to be done for everyone to succeed in their mission or objective.

The leader must be able to trust that each member of the group understands what needs doing, why it needs doing, and when it will be done if he or she is going to have success with this method of leadership.

See Related: How to Be More Charismatic (21 Surefire Ways)

Task Orientated Leadership

Good task-oriented leaders focus on the task at hand. They avoid distractions and don’t worry about what other people are doing, what other people think or will say, or what other people will do.

They focus on the present and what they can change. The task-oriented leader is a doer, not a talker. He or she gets things done instead of waiting for others to do them. The task-oriented leader doesn’t worry about why something needs doing. But rather focuses on how it can be done to get results.

Impoverished Leadership Style

The impoverished leadership style is one of the most common poor leadership styles. This type of leader places little to no value on employee satisfaction and instead prioritizes productivity above all else. While this might seem like a short-term strategy that would yield results. This kind of “leadership” actually has long-term consequences for both the workplace and those who work there.

Workers in this type of environment are unlikely to feel motivated or inspired by their leaders. They may even be demoralized by their lack of personal growth opportunities or financial compensation. In addition to being emotionally unfulfilling and stressful, these types of workplaces can also be dangerous and not just physically! They may have high rates of employee turnover due to low morale among workers. Employees will likely leave immediately once given the chance.

See Related: Hierarchal Vs Flat Organizational Structure: Pros and Cons

You Can Use These Theories to Help You Be a Better Leader

You can use these theories to help you develop your leadership skills. Use them to determine what type of leader you are and how to improve, whether as a leader or a follower. You can also use it to understand other people’s leadership styles, allowing you to work with them more effectively.

Behavioral Leadership Theory is a great way for anyone who works in any kind of organization, from small businesses up to Fortune 500 companies, to improve their performance and enhance their careers.

So, how can you use behavioral leadership theory to become a better leader? Here are a few tips:

Tip #1: Listen Actively

Active listening is key to effective communication, and effective communication is at the heart of successful leadership. When you actively listen to team members, you show them that their perspectives, experiences, and ideas matter.

Tip #2: Set Clear Expectations

One of the most important things a leader can do is to establish clear and realistic expectations for their team. This involves acknowledging each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and breaking down tasks in a way that plays to those strengths.

Tip #3: Encourage Open Communication

Effective leadership requires creating a positive workplace culture that fosters mutual respect, trust, and open communication. This can be achieved through regular check-ins with your team members, facilitating team-wide brainstorming sessions, and creating a space where team members can freely voice their concerns and suggestions.

Tip #4: Adapt Your Leadership Style

Different situations may require different leadership styles. As a leader, it’s important to be flexible and adaptable when leading your team. For example, in a high-pressure situation, a more authoritarian approach may be needed. But, in a situation that requires innovation and creativity, a more laissez-faire approach may be more effective.

By adopting these tips, you can become a better leader and create a more productive and engaged team. So, start using behavioral leadership theory to your advantage today and see the positive impact it has on your workplace.


We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. Hopefully, you now have a good idea of how to be a better leader. If you want to take it to the next level, it’s worth looking at other theories such as situational leadership theory or transactional leadership theory. These are useful in that they allow you to customize your leadership style based on the situation at hand and the people involved.

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