Leadership Models/Approaches

There are many models and theories of leadership. For example, the following models appear in the literature:

  • transformational leadership,
  • transactional leadership,
  • moral leadership,
  • constructivist leadership,
  • servant leadership,
  • cultural leadership,
  • primal leadership,
  • charismatic leadership,
  • adaptive leadership,
  • autocratic leadership,
  • authoritative leadership,
  • laissez-fair leadership,
  • situational leadership,
  • spiritual leadership,
  • servant-leadership, etc. (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002).










Some authors make difference between the old paradigm models and the new paradigm models of leadership. These new models relate to concepts such as ‘charismatic leadership' (Conger, 1989; House, 1971), ‘visionary leadership' (Sashkin, 1988), and ‘transformational leadership' (Bass, 1985).

Whereas earlier ‘old paradigm' models see leadership as a process, that

  • involves influencing others,
  • occurs within a group context, and
  • involves goal attainment (Northouse, 2007)

more recent definitions of leadership have highlighted the role of leader as ‘defining organizational reality' (Bryman, 1996). Other recent research interest has centred on relationships between leaders and followers, with some writers stressing the need to study ‘followership'. This has been argued as important, not only because all leaders are also followers, but also because modern notions of leadership place considerable emphasis on the power and importance of followers in ultimately legitimizing and enabling leadership. This last period saw the growth of attention to differences between ‘leaders' and ‘managers' (Kotter, 1990, cited in Alimo-Metcalfe and Alimo-Metcalfe, 2005).

Fisk (2002) highlights the fact that

the most enduring framework in recent time has been transformational leadership and its variants. As leadership models can often be viewed as cyclical in nature, with a new model replacing an older fad at regular intervals, it appears that the world of leadership should be poised to adopt a new model.








Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009