Essay on Modern Leadership Styles

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Sewanee University of the South
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Leadership is the potential of a person to influence members of a group into achieving set goals and objectives (Chemers, 2014). There are various types of leadership behaviors that leaders can adopt depending on specific situations. The four main types of modern leadership styles are transformational, charismatic, ethical and servant leadership. There are differences in these behaviors, but they have many overlapping similarities. This paper will look at these modern leadership styles and culture and focuses on some minority leaders that have practiced these leadership styles in their leadership.

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Modern Leadership Styles Matrix

Modern Leadership Styles

Charismatic Leaders

According to Sajjadi & Mehrpour (2014), these leaders possess the following characteristics:

Good communication skills: Charismatic leaders have excellent communication skills enabling them to motivate other employees. Consequently, they can help employees through tough times and have them grounded when things are good.

Humility: These leaders believe in the value of their staff hence are ready to listen to them. They convince employees about their worth and contribution to the firm which help build loyalty from employees.

Maturity: Such leaders behave responsibly and in a mature way drawing from their wisdom and knowledge rather than mere showmanship.

Compassionate: These leaders are not only charismatic but also kind towards others. They show high integrity and honesty.

Substance: These leaders can walk the talk.

Confidence: Charismatic leaders are full of confidence such that they understand their abilities and never try to be someone else.

Good listeners: Such leaders have the potential to listen and pay attention with interest to whatever conversation they are engaged in. They never get distracted or fidget during an interview.

Self-monitoring: These leaders watch over themselves and portray an excellent image.

Self-improvement: Charismatic leaders understand the qualities that differentiate them from others and continually improve themselves over time.

Transformational Leaders

According to Northouse (2013), they possess the following traits:

Internal motivation: These leaders find motivation from within themselves, which drives them towards managing the company effectively to the right direction.

Real decision makers: Transformational leaders can make tough decisions without shying away from them. They align these decisions to the objectives, goals, vision and the values of the firm.

Check on personal ego: Transformational leaders do not allow their ego to get in their way. Hence they can put the needs of the company and those of others first.

Take calculated risks: Although anybody can take a chance, transformational leaders are known to take the right risk which in most cases result in a positive outcome.

Adaptability: These leaders can adapt to the changing business environment by seeking new ways of doing things.

Good listeners: Transformational leaders are always ready to listen and entertain any new idea from the employees. They are open to ideas from all levels of the firm because they believe that success comes from combined efforts.

Inspirational: Such a leader can inspire others around him or her to take up the challenge. Furthermore, they take the time to listen to others.

Proactive: These leaders make decisions rather than writing for others to make them and then they can react to them.

Visionary: A transformational leader is the one who is bale to set realistic mission, values, and vision for the company.

Excellent communication: These leaders efficiently and passionately communicate their vision so that everyone can buy into their ideas.

Courageous: A transformational leader possesses the courage to take new risks and make some tough decisions.

Ethical Leaders

Their traits according to Perumal (2013) are:

Fair: Ethical leaders are ever just and fair. They treat all employees equally without favoring anybody.

Respectful: These leaders also respect other members of the team. They listen to all members attentively, show compassion, value every contribution from others and show generosity when considering diverse viewpoints from individuals.

Honest: These leads are both loyal and honest hence they can build trust with followers.

Humane: Such a leader is also moral and focuses on things that are beneficial to all members.

Encourage initiative: Ethical leaders recognize employees for coming up with new ideas.

Lead by example: These leaders can walk the talk and be examples to their followers.

Value awareness: Ethical leaders communicate the values of the organization regularly to ensure that employees are aware of what is expected.

Do not tolerate ethical violations: These leaders uphold high values hence they do not tolerate anybody who violates ethics. They expect employees to do the right things at all times rather than just at their convenience.

Servant Leaders

According to Northouse (2013) the traits of servant leaders are:

Listening: The leader takes the time to listen intently to what other have to say.

Awareness: The leaders possess an awareness of the needs of the people as well as the business issues. Knowledge of peoples needs is necessary so that one knows how well to serve them.

Build trust: Servant leaders can build trust from employees.

Empathetic: The leader is empathetic to other members and strives to understand their needs. Typically, people desire acceptance and recognition for the exceptional abilities and talents they possess.

Persuasion: A servant leader has the power to persuade and influences others by convincing them instead of coercing them into doing things.

Conceptualization: The leader can look at the organization and any problems in a manner that is beyond the realities of every day.

Stewardship: Servant leaders are of the view that their primary duty is to serve others.

Commitment to peoples growth: Servant leaders are also committed to the growth of their employees.

Committed to building communities: The leaders will try and build communities within the firm to ensure that all staff is engaged in the matters of the company.

Values diversity of opinions: Such leaders will always seek different opinions before making final decisions.

Humility: Servant leaders act with humility, and they are always aware that they do not have all the answers to every problem.

Evidently, the traits of a transformational leader comprise most of the features associated with other types of modern leadership styles.

Culture and leadership

Cultural and social variations involving lived experiences of leaders and their followers do influence leadership in an organization. Apparently, there exist different lived experiences about culture, age, gender and discrimination within communities, more so, the minorities (Chin, 2013). In most cases, cultural affiliation dominates in most minority groups, which bars many leaders from different social communities. Men dominate most of the leadership positions in organizations. Notably, women trying to advance in the leadership posts and other minority groups struggle to obtain recognition. Additionally, race has been used to create political issues in minority groups.

Minority leaders and their leadership styles

This section focuses on four leaders who possess some unique leadership traits. These include Jack Welch, John D. Rockefeller, James Burke and Abraham Lincoln.

Charismatic leadership

Jack Welch was a charismatic leader serving at as the CEO of General Electric in the 1980s (Spahr, 2014). As a leader, he was able to develop positive relationships not only with his employees but also with the customers. Additionally, Jack communicated informally with the workers, which made them feel at ease when he was around and therefore, were motivated to work. However, he did lay off any employee whose performance was poor. His leadership brought pride and value to the company.

Transformational leadership

John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil, was a recognized transformational leader (Spahr, 2015). He was able to streamline the organization as it grew to guarantee the quality of kerosene. Notably, he was able to align his company with a single vision and then held the employees accountable for making the vision a reality.

Ethical leadership

James Burke is one of the influential moral leaders in history. He was able to build trust with the customers by acting ethically. One instance is during the Tylenol crisis that his company, J&J faced in 1982 (Martin, 2016). He ordered the removal of all Tylenol capsules from the entire country though he knew that this would lead to massive financial losses. He then came up with new ways of packaging products in the company, and instead of adding the cost of the loss incurred to the price, James made sure that company absorbed this cost.

Servant leadership

Abraham Lincoln is an excellent example of a servant leader. In his leadership, he considered the policies superior to the outcomes. His servant leadership was evident during the US civil war where he fought to preserve the union and free the southern slaves because he knew this would be of advantage to his people (Martin, 2016).

The need for diversity in organizational leadership

Workplace diversity is essential for every organization that desires to succeed. It provides the company with advantages on social, economic, cultural and political aspects. Having diversity in an organization portrays its understanding of values and the cultural differences among the people from different communities who may have different age, class, gender and physical and mental abilities (Chin, 2013).

Notably, allowing diversity to thrive increases creativity in the firm thus enhancing motivation, this leads to more productivity of employees. Consequently, organizations can overcome those issues related to age, class, and gender. Additionally, people can interact and learn different skills, languages, cultures and different abilities to handle clients. Consequently, organizations that do not encourage diversity to appear less attractive and less competitive which may have them achieve lower growth levels.


Leadership is at the core of the success of an organization. Different situations call for different leadership styles. The modern leadership styles, which include transformational, ethical, charismatic and servant leadership share much in common. With right direction and acknowledgment of cultural diversity, an organization can achieve its goal of success.


Chemers, M. (2014). An integrative theory of leadership. Psychology Press

Chin, J. (2013). Diversity Leadership: Influence of Ethnicity, Gender, and Minority Status. Open Journal of Leadership.Vol.2, No.1

Martin (2016, August 11). Ethical Leadership Guide: Definition, Qualities, Pros & Cons, Examples. Retrieved March 16, 2017 from (2016, June 27). Servant Leadership Guide: Definition, Qualities, Pros & Cons, Examples. Retrieved March 16, 2017 from, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE.

Perumal, R. (2013).Leadership Styles in an Organisation. Lap Lambert Academic Publishing.Sajjadi, A. & Mehrpour , M. (2014). New emerging leadership theories and styles. Technical Journal of Engineering and Applied sciences.Vol. 4. No.3

Spahr, P. (2014, Novemebr 25).What is Charismatic Leadership? Leading Through Per...

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