What Makes a Great Leader at American Income Life?




American Income Life - What type of leadership theory do you subscribe to?

American Income Life – What type of leadership theory do you subscribe to?

We recruit to find the next great leader. As I ask American Income Life managers all the time, “who was your best hire?” The correct answer is that you haven’t found them yet. If you feel you have found them, you get complacent, just like records are always made to be broken…the next great leader is still out there.

Leadership styles and theories can be effective in different shapes and forms. I have always stated that a great leader at American Income Life looks behind them and sees an army following…if not, the leader has to look at themselves in the mirror and ask “why”. I read an article titled Leadership Theories: The 8 Major Leadership Theories by Kendra Cherry where she had some interesting ideas about great leaders broken down in 8 types…..

1. “Great Man” Theories:

According to this point of view, great leaders are simply born with the necessary internal characteristics such as charisma, confidence, intelligence, and social skills that make them natural-born leaders.

Great man theories assume that the capacity for leadership is inherent – that great leaders are born, not made. These theories often portray great leaders as heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed.

2. Trait Theories:

Similar in some ways to Great Man theories, trait theories assume that people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Trait theories often identify particular personality or behavioral characteristics shared by leaders.

If particular traits are key features of leadership, then how do we explain people who possess those qualities yet are not leaders? This question is one of the difficulties in using trait theories to explain leadership as, interestingly, many people possess characteristics associated with leadership yet do not seek out roles or positions as leaders.

3. Contingency Theories:

Contingency theories of leadership look at the situation at hand to determine the best style of leadership. It states that not every leadership type is best in a given situation. That leader’s success is derived from many variables, including leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation.

4. Situational Theories:

Situational theories state that great leaders choose the best course of action based on situational variables. This means they have the understanding that different situations call for unique styles of leadership based on their surroundings.

As an example: in a situation where the leader is the most knowledgeable and experienced member of a group, an authoritarian style might be most beneficial. In other instances where group members are skilled experts, a democratic style would be more effective.

5. Behavioral Theories:

In contrast to the “Great Man” theories, behavioral theories of leadership are based on the belief that great leaders are made, not born. This leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders, not on mental qualities or inherent states. In other words, people can learn to become leaders through instruction and observation.

6. Participative Theories:

Participative leadership theories suggest that the ideal leadership style is one that takes the input of others into account. Through this, leadership benefits most through collaborative effort with those around the leader. These people encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members feel more active and essential to the decision-making process.

7. Management Theories:

Management theories, also known as transactional theories, focus on the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. These theories base leadership on a system of rewards and punishments. Managerial theories are often used in businesses such as sales and customer service. When employees are successful, they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded.

8. Relationship Theories:

Relationship theories, also known as transformational theories, focus upon the connections formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people by helping employees see the importance of the task. These leaders are focused on the performance of their workers, but they also want each person to fulfill his or her potential. This Leadership style often comes with high ethical and moral standards.

As all of these types of leader types can be effective, which one do you relate to most? If people aren’t following you as a leader, then you have to go back to basics and figure out why. Using these different styles and theories, you should identify the style of leader you are to become the most effective American Income Life SGA you can be!!!

About Steve Kafkis

Steve Kafkis is the Vice President of Field Operations for American Income Life. Find him on Google+

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