Leadership and Professional Development-Human Resource Assignment Sample



A critical reflective evaluation (3500 words) of one of the main leadership theories/frameworks
In so doing, students are expected to demonstrate understanding of a substantial body of academic and professional knowledge. In particular, critical engagement with the key areas of research philosophy and methods which underpin the leadership theory selected is required.
In addressing this assessment, a student would be expected to select a leadership approach such as Trait, Behavioral, Skill, Contingency, LMX, Charismatic, Distributed, Entrepreneurial etc., and critically assess the research which underpins it. Therefore, a student would be expected to trace out the development of the leadership approach selected by reference to the literature. As such, this assessment will cover many of the skills and competencies required of a student in the literature review in their thesis.


Executive Summary

This study sheds light on the importance of the variables of leadership approaches which can support the growth of business. Moreover, this study has focused on the process to revaluate the effectiveness of leadership style in order to motivate the workforce. Along with the approaches of contingency theory this study has discussed regarding both strengths and limitations of these theoretical approaches. Both the skills and competencies required to introduce a business or to take a risk have been presented. The examples of contingency leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Job and Jeff Bezos have been discussed along with their leadership styles.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 

2. Concept of leadership 

3. Management and leadership 

4. Critical analysis of Contingency theory 

5. Features of Contingency theory 

6. Contingency theory and its impact 

7. Strength and limitations of Contingency theory 

8. Contingency leaders 

9. Conclusion 

Reference list 


1. Introduction

Leadership refers to a significant function of an organisation that helps in maximising the efficiency in order to achieve certain organisational goals and objectives. A leader is expected to guide an entire organisation or a group of people to attain certain targets within a time period. In this study, I am intending to illuminate the impact of a flawless leadership style on an organisational management. On a more specific note, I have been focused to evaluate the influence of contingency leadership in terms of analysing every related factor and feature of it along with drawing real life examples of the leadership style.

2. Concept of leadership

Leadership is an ability of an individual to motivate and guide a group of people towards achieving a set of common goals. According to the views of Anderson and Sun (2017, p.77), leadership satisfies the construction of clarity in management through establishing the categorical distinctions to instruct and motivate a group of people. On a different note, I believe that leadership can be defined by acquiring the ability to inspire others. Effective leadership refers to be based upon a range of ideas and the capability to implement those at the correct point of time. Personally, I consider those ideas to be effective only when they are communicated with others in such a way that makes them more engaged in a process. As influenced by the views of Amanchukwu et al. (2015, p.15), leadership tends to involve a type of responsibility aimed at the attainment of particular goal by making a perfect use of the resources available. Hence, in my opinion, leadership can be considered as a process of influencing a community or organisational people for achieving a set of goals that work for betterment of society or an organisation.

3. Management and leadership

Leadership and management have long been associated in the sphere of an organisational function. These terms are often considered as synonymous. However, it is highly essential to understand that leadership has been an effective part of an organisational management (Bolman and Deal, 2017, p.36). Management typically refers to the management structure of an organisation while the managers act as the leaders of different management teams. According to the views of McCaffery (2018, p.27), being a crucial element of management, leadership specifically emphasizes on establishing an environment under which each and every employee gets an equal chance to excel and develop. Referring to this context, I believe that an effective and flawless leadership approach always works on the favour of both the employees and the organisation by fulfilling the requirement of both in a strategic way. This kind of leadership influences can be derived from formal sources such as provision of acquiring the managerial position of a particular organisation. In the opinion of Diamond and Spillane (2016, p.149), the choice of perfect leadership to be applied to the functions of an organisational management determines the level of success to be gained. Hence, I believe that leadership style needs to be carefully chosen based on the requirement of the organisational situation.

4. Critical analysis of Contingency theory

Effective leadership style is depended on the part of situational contingencies that actually indicate the nature of the tasks determining the certainties and uncertainties of it. This specific theory of leadership considers that the success of a leader lies on the ability to handle a situation. According to the views of Cunha et al. (2016, p.24), an organisation, leaders and HRM work together towards achieving certain goals. This type of leadership style actually analyses the effectiveness of a leader to be depended on two different factors. The first one is the personal style of the leader determining the nature of being task or relationship oriented. On the second part, it is the situation that controls the activities of leader. In my personal view, the personality of a leader matters the most as based on this instinct one can be able to make any fruitful decision required in a particular situation. As influenced by the views of Steinbach et al. (2017, p.1709), an impeccable contingency theory always tends to influence the activities of top management of an organisation. This theory believes that leadership actually depends on the part of four contingent factors that successfully take the leaders to perfectly perform a task. The four factors are the power of leader, the expectations of followers or subordinates, the organisational complexity and the uncertainty or certainty of a task. Hence, considering this, I believe this leadership style to be best effective in terms of developing a creative and versatile leader who is highly skilled to handle any kind of difficulties and situation. The relevant organisations can be highly benefited through this in terms of being able to overcome any emerging challenges. This theory of leadership basically holds the belief that different situational factors tend to interact with the behaviour and trait of a leader for influencing the effectiveness of leadership (Callofthewild.co.uk, 2019).

5. Features of Contingency theory

Contingency theory of leadership stresses on the fact that the effectiveness of a leader is very much depended on the part of matching the style of the leader with the demand of a particular situation. The theory has been developed by Fiedler who has emphasized the matter of a leader’s behaviour that needs to be adaptive based on the requirement of different situations. The contingency leadership style can be well described through three different perspectives in terms of being a complex combination of those factors.

  • Leader member relation

In this part, the acceptance of leadership has been measured by determining the fruitfulness of relationship between the hierarchy and the employees. In case the subordinates have a higher level of trust and confidence on the leaders, it is considered as the positive situation for the leaders. Hence, I believe that this trust and confidence can help the leaders to motivate the subordinates to a great level of extent. As influenced by the views of a Shao et al. (2016, p.135), the support from management and subordinates collaborates together to achieve a certain goal. In this part, I believe that leaders are needed to be respected by the subordinates in order to act most efficiently. This collaborative attitude can work best for employee motivation and employee engagement that eventually serves the purpose of leading an organisation towards success.

  • Task structure

It defines the clarity of a certain project or task. The relative aspects are concerned about the method of achieving the project success while focussing on the part of making the process easier to pursue. In more evaluative manner, it refers to the extent to which the responsibilities of the subordinates have been structured. According to the views of Vidal et al. (2017, p.27), the contingency theory has believed the fact that there is no perfect or unique leadership style that can transcend across any type of situation. Set on this background, I think that framing the task structure perfectly helps in overcoming the difficulties on the initial stage. In case everyone is aware of one’s responsibilities, it helps in minimising any other complexity to get arise regarding the in lined tasks. For example, this kind of leadership is basically important for small businesses to ensure survival and growth.

  • Positional power

It denotes the power and amount of authority that the leaders have in order to influence the productivity of the employees. It actually features the power to reward or punish an employee based on his work procedure. The positional power can be proved stronger in case the relation between employees and manager is good. This has made me evaluate that the positional power has the chance to be weak if the manager and employees do not share quality relation between them (Ramay et al. 2017, p.49). For example, sub contracted tasks or a matrix organisation can experience weaker positional power in the part of the designated leaders in the organisation. On the contrary, developing an effective relationship with the subordinates can be greatly favourable for a leader to exhibit the power over them. For such situation, different motivational and engagement programs can be greatly effective. It has been evident in the part of Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who has expected more from employees to bring the best out of them. The extra pressure on the employees has worked due to his task oriented nature and high positional power (Forbes.com, 2019).

6. Contingency theory and its impact

  • Leadership approaches

The contingency theory has been mainly concerned about the goal to be matched with the style of the leaders in a compatible situation. In this part, the style of a leader is needed to be assessed. It specifically can be executed through the Least Preferred Coworker Scale identified by LPC. High LPC score determines the leaders with better personal skills. Apart from that it identifies the leaders who rely on the part of relationship for accomplishing a task. I believe that because of this specific reason the leaders are called as people oriented. According to the views of Ramay et al. (2017, p.51), the leaders who intend to accomplish their goals by focussing on the position power and tasks are called task oriented. It has been noticed that task oriented leaders are more effective when the task structure is well framed along with having high positional power. On the contrary observation has led to the fact that people or relationship oriented leaders can best perform when the relationship between the leaders and subordinates is at their best form (Oer.missouriwestern.edu, 2019). Actually there are different other overlapping theories under the shade of contingency theory that eventually state a common aspect.

Path goal theory

Path goal theory has been an interrelated part of contingency theory that specifically focuses on the part in which the leadership behaviour can influence the followers to achieve certain goals of a particular group. In this part, I have experienced that four different types of behaviour have been identified that are directive, participative, supportive and achievement oriented. As influenced by the views of Thompson and Glasøhis (2015, p.529), this theory has one fact in common with contingency theory. Both of them have stated that the behaviour needs to be applied based on the demand of situation or according to the nature of the tasks. Hence, this is highly evident that both of the approaches share same context of leadership style.

Decision making theory

Decision making theory has stated that effective leaders are the ones who make decision judging the current situation. The situations are measured and assessed by the leaders thoroughly in order to determine how much support the team can provide to get adjusted to a leadership style. This theory has advocated that a support from subordinates matters a lot to accomplish a task (Rezaei, 2015, p.51). In this specific point, the contingency theory can be linked with it as both the approaches consider a common thread that effective leadership is based upon contingent of a particular situation, people and task involved with the entire process.

Situational leadership

Situational leadership approach has the most in common with contingency theory that particularly advocates of taking prompt actions based on the severity of a situation. According to the views of Storey (2016, p.36), a leader is always required to be adaptive in nature to react against different situation that eventually helps one to make a certain decision required. This approach has focused on four different behaviours such as selling, telling, delegating and participating. I believe both to be positioned on the same ground as both of them considers situation to be the most powerful factor based on which a leader is expected to react or make a perfect decision.

7. Strength and limitations of Contingency theory


The contingency theory has been widely accepted by different organisations because of its strengths while some of the drawbacks of the leadership approach have been noticed as well. The theory has huge numbers of advantages to generate an environment that can both identify the interest of employers and employees. According to the views of Boehe (2016, p.402), application of contingency leadership within an organisation can increase the flexibility of the management style. The flexibility has been derived from a groundbreaking fact that there has not been any specific way of leading others. It has successfully identified that different management style can be applicable to accomplish a goal. Various types of approaches are best effective in different situations based on the specific demand of it.

One of the most significant positive impacts of the leadership approach is that it has considered the value of employees. The opinion of employees matters the most under this approach that can lead an organisation to be fully functional at every level. As it relies on the relationship between leaders and employees hence, it can be most effective in motivating them while making them more engaged in the work process (Chow et al. 2017).

Apart from that, contingency leadership is predictive determining well defined method of evaluating LPC along with the situation.


The leadership theory has been identified to be limited in different dimensions. Some of the most significant limitations are its complex concept, inadequate literature to explain the process, difficult empirical testing and its reactive nature.

On the foremost point, the leadership style suffers from inadequacy of literature. Hence, I feel that organisations fail to have a proper guideline about the actions to take in a particular situation. It has been difficult for the organisations to apply it in a certain process.

Though the instruction of the theory holds a simpler view, at the time of practice the complexity of the theory can be realised. As influenced by the views of Netland (2016, p.2434), the actions to be taken against an unknown situation involves difficult analysis with multiple variables in multifarious dimensions. Hence, I feel managers tend to avoid the complex analysis in order to save the time. Precisely because of this, the leadership fails to accomplish a task or goal.

In the part of empirical testing of the particular theory, it has lacked acceptance because of the complex nature. The methodology involved for the testing demands of various factors under consideration. Hence, the procedure becomes difficult to apply in practical situation.

The particular approach has been reactive in nature. It has to work in assumption and take action against a particular situation. Under this leadership approaches, managers are responsible to handle the work environment in such a way that can further help in avoiding undesirable aspects of environment (Chow et al. 2017, p.151).

8. Contingency leaders

Social psychologists have started the search for situational variables which can affect roles of the leaders. According to Maak et al. (2016, p.490), the performance and satisfaction of followers depend on behaviour and skills of a leader. In relation to the contingency theory, huge range of situational variables can be identified. It can be mentioned that Mark Zuckerberg, the leader has focused mainly on product development. In order to expand the business globally, Zuckerberg centralised his efforts to track performance. Through the process of applying contingency leadership, he centralised company achievement and a huge number of facebook users regularly. He has maintained a high leadership power to manage the relationship with the employees by following both reward and punishment strategy. In contrast, he has utilised his power to draw attention of Sandeberg to fill the position of COO. These theoretical approaches have helped him to be focused on the certain task as per the aims and objectives to develop his organization. Mark was able to maintain the position of product developer while Sandeberg focused on operational activities of the company. Thus it can be analysed that Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook attempted to follow contingency leadership to match with the situation.

Steve Jobs and his leadership approaches in Apple can exemplify the contingency model. Based on the approaches of this contingency theory, Steve pushed his team for perfection to complete the entire task. Steve was respected and he knew that he had control over his organization. Along with his task related to leadership has helped Apple onto Fortune 500 of today. In order to do well beings of the subordinates, he followed the variables of contingency leadership. Steve applied these approaches while capabilities and potentials of the group need an efficient leader. In order to identify the position of leadership and to determine the role, Steve focused on contingency plan. This leader- match theory has helped Steve to match with the tasks to appropriate situation (Van Vugt and Grabo, 2015, p.480). Steve Job was a task oriented leader who has applied this theory due to his precise leadership based on appearance and product specifications. In order to mitigate the issues related to lack of support and consideration for co-workers, Steve Job not only helped the workers but also he wanted to get his products introduced in market. Through applying contingency theory, Steve Job wanted to change the entire world with innovations.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, followed a transformational leadership style with task oriented approaches. By following the principles of contingency theory, Bill Gates followed effective and contingent by matching his own style to a proper setting where he is operating. The task-oriented approach adopted by mainly focuses on the completion of tasks at hand. As per the contingency approach, Bill Gates possessed skills, behavior and traits that are required to be employed by leaders for communicating with their followers (Maak et al. 2016, p.490). Another famous entrepreneur, Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle shows characteristics of being a contingent leader, where he discusses changes with the employees with a patient and strategic approach. Being a follower of contingent leadership, Larry Ellison possessed an excellent approach for motivating employees in case o articulating company strategy and his visions towards fulfilling goals of the company.

Contingency theory can explore the ways through which situations can influence the style of leadership. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon has engaged his subordinates though he gives the business a direction. Based on four quadrant model, Bezos has supported, directed leadership. Based on the contingency approaches of leadership, he has given direction and power to the subordinates. Through applying these motivational skills, Bezos has employed coaching skills to the others. Through supporting the employees, Bezos has developed the skills of the employees. Based on the contingency approaches, Bezos has inspired the colleagues to deliver their best which can support to enhance quality of performance by the workers (Gonzalez et al. 2017, p.60). As a contingency leader, Bezos has allowed the workers to share their views and to participate in decision making. He has encouraged the participation and provided the employees facilities regarding the process of decision making, though delegating is allowed, he goes contrary to the expected outcomes of his leadership style. Depending on the approaches of contingency theory, it can be analysed that Jeff Bezos is also task oriented rather than relationship oriented like other contingency leaders. (Refer to appendix)

9. Conclusion

This report has analysed various aspects of different kinds of leadership styles. This report has presented the concept of leadership by analysing the importance of leadership style in management system. This report has focused on contingency theory which can define the relationship between leader and member. Structure of the tasks and positional power has been discussed by mentioned the names of high profile motivational leaders like Jeff Bezos, Steve Job and Mark Zuckerberg. Along with the support of other leadership theory, both the strengths and limitations of contingency theory have been presented. The task oriented features and the approaches of self confidence among the contingency leaders are able to support the development of teamwork. It has been analysed that the approaches to leadership by the contingency leaders can support efficiency of work. It can be concluded that moreover, these approaches of contingency leadership can help to make proper decision and enhance problem solving skill.

Reference list

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Four leadership styles

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