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      • An Overview of Leadership Models

        A leadership model provides a process or framework for learning, applying, and adapting leadership for given groups, organizations, or situations.

        For more than 150 years, researchers and thinkers have developed and proposed theoretical models of effective leadership.

        I am grateful to James Scouller, an expert coach, thinker, and writer on leadership, for the contribution of most of the technical content on this article, and for the collaboration in editing it and presenting it here. Aside from what follows here, Scouller's expertise in leadership theory is evidenced particularly in his 2011 book "The Three Levels of Leadership", which I commend to you.

        Very many different models have been proposed, which has created a lot of confusion - especially for students seeking to learn, and for new leaders seeking to lead effectively.

        This section aims to summarise the main types of leadership models in a way that can more easily be understood and applied.

        As with any big collection of complex ideas, it is helpful to categorize and create sub-groups, which is the approach you will see below.

        Categorizing the different models into sub-groups makes them easier to absorb, compare and understand.

        The different types of leadership models

        Trait-Based

        The oldest type of thinking about effective leadership. Logically, 'Trait-Based' leadership models focus on identifying the traits of successful leaders.

        Behavioural Ideals

        'Behavioural Ideals' leadership models concentrate on what researchers believe are the most effective behaviours as a leader. The notable model in this category is Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid.

        Situational/ 
        Contingency

        'Situational' (or 'Contingency') leadership models are based on the idea that the leader's actions should vary according to the circumstances he or she is facing - in other words, leadership methods change according to the 'situation' in which the leader is leading. This category includes most notably: Kurt Lewin's Three Styles modelTannenbaum and Schmidt's Leadership Continuum modelthe Fiedler Contingency modelHouse's Path-Goal theoryHersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership® model; and  Bolman and Deal's Four-Frame model.

        Functional

        Functional types of leadership models focus on what the leader has to do. Unlike the Behavioural Ideals approach, Functional leadership models do not suggest ideal ways of behaving, nor do they match behaviours to circumstances like Situational/Contingency theory. Instead, Functional leadership models focus on the action areas that a leader must address to be effective. The most notable Functional models are John Adair's Action-Centred Leadership and  Kouzes & Posner's Five Leadership Practices.

        Integrated Psychological

        The Integrated Psychological leadership model is so called because it integrates the thinking behind the four other leadership models sub-groups, while also addressing the leader's inner psychology, which tends not to be considered in other more traditional or conventional types of leadership models. James Scouller's Three Levels of Leadership model arguably pioneers this category. Scouller's model can be regarded as a relatively new view of leadership.



        • Trait-Based Leadership Models

          The oldest type of thinking about effective leadership. Logically, 'Trait-Based' leadership models focus on identifying the traits of successful leaders.
        • Behavioural Ideals Leadership Models

          'Behavioural Ideals' leadership models concentrate on what researchers believe are the most effective behaviours as a leader. The notable model in this category is Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid.
        • Situational/Contingency Leadership Models

          'Situational' (or 'Contingency') leadership models are based on the idea that the leader's actions should vary according to the circumstances he or she is facing - in other words leadership methods change according to the 'situation' in which the leader is leading. This category includes most notably: Kurt Lewin's Three Styles model; Tannenbaum and Schmidt's Leadership Continuum model; the Fiedler Contingency model; House's Path-Goal theory; Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership® model; and Bolman and Deal's Four-Frame model.

        • Functional Leadership Models

          Functional types of leadership models focus on what the leader has to do. Unlike the Behavioural Ideals approach, Functional leadership models do not suggest ideal ways of behaving, nor do they match behaviours to circumstances like Situational/Contingency theory. Instead, Functional leadership models focus on the action areas that a leader must address to be effective. The most notable Functional models are John Adair's Action-Centred Leadership, and Kouzes & Posner's Five Leadership Practices.
        • Integrated Psychological Leadership Models

          The Integrated Psychological leadership model is so called because it integrates the thinking behind the four other leadership models sub-groups, while also addressing the leader's inner psychology, which tends not to be considered in other more traditional or conventional types of leadership models. James Scouller's Three Levels of Leadership model arguably pioneers this category. Scouller's model can be regarded as a relatively new view of leadership.
        • End of Course Quiz

          An end of course quiz to test your progress through the Leadership Models course. If you are interested in taking your leadership and management knowledge into an internationally-recognised qualification, visit our partner Accipio's site here

        • Additional Resources

          Additional resources, quizzes and videos to aid you in your Leadership Models training and to support the information available to you across this course.