Behavioral Theories of Leadership

Behavioral theories of leadership:


The behavioral theories of leadership take a slightly different approach than the trait theories. The most important assumption underlying the behavioral theory is that  the leaders can be made. It tries to show that not all are not born leaders but there are particular behaviors that can be learnt to become leaders.  So, this would mean that people can be trained to become leaders. In this regard, the behavioral theories also sound common sense because if it was not true, there would not have been leadership programs churning out leaders. So, people can get leadership training to start leading others. This is how many have become leaders simply by emulating the more successful leaders. There are specific skills that may be learnt to lead. The behavioral theories have in this way provided a better perspective on leadership by showing that leadership is not meant only for specific people but that anybody can be a leader given that he can properly demonstrate leadership behavior. It shows leadership in a more positive light and helps us take a more open minded approach towards leadership.  However, the emphasis of the behavioral theories is on behavior and skills.


The behavioral theories have linked leadership with behavior. They show that leadership rather than being based on specific traits is based on behavior that can be clearly defined and learnt.  Behavioral theory also showed that leaders mainly had two types of behavior. The first type of leaders showed concern for people and the second was mainly concerned with production.  Since these behaviors can be learnt, it is not always essential that people had all the specific traits that were related with leadership to be considered leaders.  These behaviors are to be learnt and people can learn them for the others. Early research has also shown that leaders could remain concerned for both people and production. However, the behavioral their had also been successful to a limited extent. The other theories that followed like the Skills theory, the Situational theory, the Path goal theory penetrated deeper into the theory of leadership and how people became successful leaders.