Leadership is centrally defined as having the ability to guide and direct others. Leaders provide direction and are focused on a specific set of objectives to meet a goal. Kendra Cherry (2012) examined eight theories of leadership:

(1) Great Man theory-leaders are born rather than made; in other words, people came to this earth with leaders’ qualities. Based on the text, “These theories often portray great leaders as heroic, mythic, and destined to rise to leadership when needed. “(Cherry, K. 2012).

(2) Trait Theory-inherited leadership qualities from biological constructs; People have leadership DNA; you can not learn them. In the text, “Trait theories often identify a particular personality or behavioral characteristics shared by leaders. For example, traits like extroversion, self-confidence, and courage are all traits that could potentially be linked to great leaders.”Cherry, K. (2012).

(3) Contingency Theory-environmental-based leaders use multiple styles; People cater to other personalities to know which leadership style to use. The reading states, “Good leaders can assess the needs of their followers, take stock of the situation, and then adjust their behaviors accordingly.”(Cherry, K. 2012).

(4) Situational Theory-the ability to guide based upon specific issues; they used a kind of guidance for different problems. The author states, “Different leadership styles may be more appropriate for certain types of decision-making.” (Cherry, K. 2012).

(5) Behavioral Theory-the process of learning to become a leader through teaching and observations; They watched and studied others similar to mentorship.

(6) Participative Theories-allowing members to participate in leading concepts; they allow others to join them in their leadership roles. Based on the text, “These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members feel more relevant and committed to the decision-making process.”

(Cherry, K., 2012).

7) Management Theory-supervision style of guidance and development. They tell others what to do through directions.

(8) Relationship Theories-connections between leaders and followers. They are very close to their followers, which helps them to lead them.

The leader I choose is Martin Luther King Jr; according to the text, “Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr.; January 15, 1929 — April 4, 1968) was an African American minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, inspired by his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi.”

Martin Luther King Jr. took the trait, The position, and the style approach; people like him because he was charismatic, authoritarian. His purpose was to betterment others; he had a high calling, which made him a martyr.


Cherry, K. (2012). Leadership theories: Eight major leadership theories.http://psychology.about.com/od/leadership/p/leadtheories.htm (Links to an external site.)

Most Influential Leaders of the 20th Century. Retrieved from: http://www.the-top-tens.com/lists/most-influential-leaders-20th-century.asp (Links to an external site.)



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