Theories of Leadership

1. Determine two (2) leadership theories and two (2) leadership styles that support the definition of a public leader. Provide a rationale for your response.

Public leadership is defined as a position where a person directly guides or serves the public or a community or holds a public rank or position. They should have great communication and motivation skills so that they can inspire people and directly communicate with them in a way that people can share their concerns and interest. Public leaders should have resilience as a personality trait along with the tolerance level. They also should have the quality of thinking and analyzing critically and should have the capacity to work under pressure so that they can work according to the demand of the public, even in case of emergencies. Leading an organization is different than leading the public directly because leaders should have a place in the heart of the public to influence them and he should be liked among people for the smooth functioning of the society.

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According to the strength-based leadership theory, leaders focus on the strength of people that they are leading and help them to increase their productivity, efficiency, and success by strengthening their positive points. According to this theory, leaders believe that people have great potential to grow and they can achieve that by strengthening their positive points. They do not focus on weaknesses (Reis et al., 2020). It means that leaders motivate and support people by strengthening them. This theory supports the definition of public leadership because in that, leaders also directly support and motivate people to believe in themselves and participate in public welfare. According to servant leadership, the main objective of leaders is to serve the public or his employees. They focus on increasing the strength of their organization, rather than just personal strength or position. They listen to people and engage them in productive tasks which also reflect the main criteria of the public leadership where leaders have to connect to them. They engage people in productive tasks and help them to grow. The main focus of public leadership is the growth and development of society which in return strengthens his position.

There are seven basic leadership styles. The styles which favor the public leadership objective are the democratic style of leadership and the affiliative style of leadership (Anderson & Sun, 2017). According to a democratic style of leadership, the decision-making process is finalized by taking opinions of all the stakeholders that are getting affected by the decision, and at the same time, it encourages the participation of all stakeholders. Public leadership also favors the same design because they urge the public to participate and show their interests that favor the public interests and their welfare. They engage people in productive activities. According to the affiliative style, the major focus of leaders is on promoting harmony among the team or followers and they try to remove differences among their public. They also make sure that all people or followers are connected and have harmonious relationships. A similar style is observed in public leadership where they want to connect people. They also engage people in a collective and integrated community, in this way; they can ensure the collective growth of the public which is the main goal of public offices.

2. What are the differences, if any, between successful leaders in public, private, and non-profit organizations? Cite experiences and research to support your assertions.

The basic quality that all the successful leaders have is the honesty and the ability to influence people. People take inspiration from successful leaders and they do not have to rule over people, instead, people let them guide them. They also exhibit great communication qualities and confidence to show passion and commitment and inspire people through their integrity and honesty. Public leaders inspire people and connect them to form the collective community and their major focus is on the long-term benefits of the society. They do not work based on achieving short term goals, rather they focus on the long-term benefits and advantages of society. On the other hand, private leaders focus on achieving the short-term benefits by winning the short-term goals. Public leaders focus on building trust along with controlling the large public, on the other hand, private leaders majorly focus on building trust among their team because it is in their best interest. Public leaders focus on setting a thoughtful approach towards their goal with a less optimistic mind because they cannot expect success right away, on the other hand, private leaders adopt the approach that can help them to achieve results in short term and they work with a more optimistic approach (Haraguchi & Matsumura, 2019). Private leadership provides young leaders with an approach to learn, however in public leadership, experienced people generate more positive results. In a nonprofit organization, leaders need to have quick decision-making power that is a common trait with private leadership as well. They manage and lead the team for developing positive outcomes and their approach is in blend with the qualities of public and private leadership. The leaders in a nonprofit organization, however, have more responsibility and power because it is a voluntary sector where both paid and unpaid people work. They have to motivate them like in the public sector but they want to achieve results like in the private sector for quick and better results (Renz, 2016). It is observed in public departments that leaders want to connect directly with people by motivating them which is also seen in nonprofit leadership but nonprofit leadership, quick results are expected just like in private leadership. In private organizations, leadership develops trust among the team which is also a shared quality of every kind of leadership.

3. Some think leadership is a born ability. Some think leadership can be learned. Some think leadership is a product of a need or challenge. What do you think? Cite experiences and research to support your assertions.

There has been a lot of research and theories surrounding the question that if leaders are born or made. Born leaders are indeed more natural and they have a natural capacity of motivating and influencing other people. Their leadership can be more effective if they polish their skills because leadership can be taught through the process of practice and focusing on improving personal traits. The world has seen both born leaders and made leaders and made leaders are the ones who through practice and effective efforts make their way to the top. They focus on improving their abilities through hard work, intelligence, commitment, experience, dedication, skills, and qualities that set them apart from other people. Even if someone is born a leader but does not have the above-mentioned qualities, he will not be able to exhibit his leadership qualities to the full extent. Leaders can be made with time through the commitment and dedication to serving others. The basic quality of leaders is to inspire others and through hard work and continuous efforts, anyone can acquire the traits to inspire and inflame others. Leaders are the ones who can help people to learn and get inspiration in particular fields. The born leaders are natural and do not have to work as hard as the ones who are made leaders but it is also true that the ones who have worked hard to achieve something, they stick to it and they show more positive results. It is hard to argue that which leadership exhibits more positive qualities but it is true that both kinds of leadership can be effective if leaders exhibit the qualities of hard work, intelligence, commitment, experience, and dedication. Leadership is an art that can be learned as well if an individual exhibit all the other qualities and are at the right place at the right time.


Anderson, M. H., & Sun, P. Y. (2017). Reviewing leadership styles: Overlaps and the need for a new ‘full‐range’theory. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(1), 76-96.

Reis Neto, M. T., Avelar Ferreira, C. A., & de Araújo, R. N. (2020). Leadership theories and individual performance. Revista científica Pensamiento y Gestión, 47(47).

Haraguchi, J., & Matsumura, T. (2019). Endogenous Public and Private Leadership with Diverging Social and Private Marginal Costs.

Renz, D. O. (2016). The Jossey-Bass handbook of nonprofit leadership and management. John Wiley & Sons.

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