Contingency Leadership Theory

High School ・Management ・APA ・4 Sources

Leaders are critical to the success of any firm. As a result, they must constantly reinvent themselves and bring out their best in order to inspire others to do the same. Leaders, as the cliche goes, are ""made, not born."" Leaders should analyze their progress and make changes by learning new concepts that will breathe fresh life into their leadership. This essay is based on the notion that leaders, including myself, underutilize the leadership concepts at our disposal and hence miss out on some substantial benefits. I investigate the significance of contingency, influence, and relational leadership theories to the leader and followers in achieving the organization's vision.

Contingency Leadership Theory

The contingency leadership theory proposes that a leader, when making use of their traits alone, cannot be effective unless they interact with factors in their environment (Daft, 2015). This theory argues that there cannot be a one size fits all approach to leadership. It is possible to find that the style that worked previously fails to accomplish the same when applied to a different situation. Effective leadership is as a result of the coordinated effort of skills and external experiences made by considering situational factors that are beyond a leader’s control (Vroom & Jago, 2007).

The contingency approach is critical because it offers flexibility. This trait enables the leader to navigate and adapt to different environments thus ensuring success. The leader has a chance to step back and diagnose a problem before making a decision about the leadership style to use. As Daft (2015) points out, a leader can adjust either the task or relationship behavior to deal with a contingency. For instance, if the leader notes that the problem lies with the followers, he or she can tap into the relationship behavior by providing support to the followers through empowerment, skill development, and building confidence. It promotes a good relationship between a leader and the follower. In this theory, it is paramount to identify the issue at hand and find a way to fix it through the application of appropriate leadership skills.

This leadership approach has caused a shift in the belief I once held that there is a perfect leadership concept that is useful in all situations. I have learned that it is, sometimes, necessary to respond to a situation in order to dictate a particular outcome. The approach lets me know that it is okay to intervene in the activities of my followers and provide direction rather than letting the situation deteriorate and come up with solutions later. This theory, when applied, can enhance my leadership experience through influencing the outcomes.

Based on the knowledge I have acquired the first thing to do when implementing this concept would be to diagnose the situations in the environment that negatively influence the expected outcomes. From this, I would know if they are caused by the task or the followers and act accordingly. The knowledge puts me in a better position to decide on the course of action by either helping my followers with a task or improving their performance through a better relationship.

Influence Leadership Theory

The influence leadership theory posits that a leader can use his or her position of power to bring change in the behavior of the followers and achieve the set goals. This approach depends on the relationship the leaders have with their followers and the type of leadership traits they possess. The desired change is accomplished when the leader maps out the vision and gives the details of how to achieve it in conjunction with the followers. Among the four influential leadership concepts, transformational leadership stood out for me. According to Daft (2015), transformational leadership involves a leader’s successful efforts to rally followers behind an organization’s vision to bring about change. The leaders inspire the followers to get behind the vision through motivation and empowerment so that they can bring forth the desired change and as a consequence, both parties undergo mutual transformation.

Transformational leadership is a valuable leadership concept because it fuels change and improves efficiency. This model enables the leader to work with the followers in such a way that he or she notes their weaknesses and helps to elevate them. The leadership concept removes the self-mindset from the followers and helps them to go beyond their boundaries for the benefit of the shared vision. As a result, the followers develop their set of leadership skills and in the future can be given leadership posts in the organization depending on their progress. Given the safe and interactive environment created by transformational leadership, followers are comfortable in the workplace and are free to be innovative and creatively solve problems. At the end of the day, the organization achieves its goals, and because of the satisfaction derived from freedom in the workplace, the turnover is minimal (Ziegler, 2015).

From this concept, I am convinced that I need to make room for freedom in my leadership style. This means allowing my followers to grow and develop their leadership skills as opposed to fitting them in a box where all they have to do is what is assigned to them. I have also learned that it’s beneficial to work in close collaboration with my followers so that I can point out their strengths and weaknesses and help them to develop further. For me to execute these ideas, the preferred step of action would be coming up with a particular vision and then monitoring the followers to determine where they fit in based on their strengths. I would also be open to ideas from my followers as I give them a chance to grow their decision-making skills.

Relational Leadership Theory

The relational leadership theories are dependent on the quality of the existing relationship between the leader and the follower. The two interrelate and discuss ideas on how to solve problems that arise in the workplace as they work towards company goals. In this leadership theory, both parties learn from each other as no one is deemed more knowledgeable than the other because they face different challenges. Through their individual contributions, regarding ideas, the two parties can come up with an all-round understanding of a problem at hand and find ways to solve it. Relational leadership is founded on mutual respect for each party. Servant leadership forms part of relational leadership theory, and as explained by Daft (2015) it involves allowing followers to develop into leaders instead of using leadership power to limit them. The leaders serve the followers through focusing on supporting their development.

Servant leadership is essential because it encourages ethical behavior from the followers (Keith, 2008). It incorporates the moral element in the workplace because servant leaders always apply integrity in their dealings. When the followers see this, they have no choice but to follow through as well since these leaders serve as their focal point. Servant leadership also promotes the growth of the organization. As the servant leader provides direction to the employees, they grow their capabilities and are better placed to play their role in fulfilling the vision of the company for both the customers and the shareholders thus leading to business growth.

Servant leadership has opened my mind to the concept of engaging with followers on their level to increase chances of success. I will be using this method to get ideas from my followers by encouraging them to consider the vital role they play in the success of the organization. They are not merely subordinates but their every act contributes to the bigger picture the management has. I have learned that when followers are limited, they can’t perform beyond the normal expectations. To ensure that the followers do much more than what is expected, and in the process grow their skills, I will put servant leadership into practice.

To implement servant leadership, the first thing I will do is to make clear my leadership intentions. Servant leadership is a sensitive style that doesn’t tolerate selfishness. The next thing would be to connect with the followers on an empathetic level to understand their challenges. I will also meet with the followers individually to assess their strengths, weaknesses and skill sets and chart the way forward regarding supporting their growth. Lastly, I will communicate to them my role as a servant leader; to serve them and provide support. This will allow them to come to me for anything they might need for the accomplishment of their tasks.


For leaders to be effective, they need to be knowledgeable and understand the leadership concept they can apply to glean maximum positive results from their efforts. Leaders should, therefore, be continuously involved in reinventing themselves so that they can be flexible enough to make use of the best concept for a particular situation.


Daft, R. L. (2015). The Leadership Experience (6th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Keith, K. M. (2008). The case for servant leadership. Westfield, IN: Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (2007). The role of the situation in leadership. The American psychologist, 62(1), 17-24.

Ziegler, R. (2015, Sep 7). The Importance of Transformational Leadership in Modern Society. Retrieved from

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