The success of an organization is dependent on the leadership and management qualities of the individuals heading them. Leaders are people who possess behaviors and abilities that influence their team players to accomplish the organization's objectives (Lussier, 2015). Leadership is defined by the capacity to motivate, and influence others to contribute to the success of an institution. Among the notable leadership approaches that define leadership is the behavioral approach theory (Lussier, 2015). This paper examines this approach, its merits and demerits and how it applies to sports situations.
The behavioral approach emphasizes on the behavior of the leader. It differs from other leadership approaches, like traits approach, that emphasizes on the leaders personality and capability (Chemers, 2014). The behavioral theory emphasizes more on how the leaders act. It focuses on the action of the leader towards their duties and towards their followers. In a sports situation, the behavioral approach is composed of two kinds of behavior; the relationship behavior and the task behavior. If for instance the leader is a coach of a sporting team, for example, a basketball coach, it would refer to the relationship he/she has with their team plays and the approach he takes towards achieving the club's goals and targets (Chemers, 2014). Task behaviors influence performances and the efficiency of objectives accomplishments while Relationship behaviors help the team players to feel comfortable with themselves and with the sporting situation and challenges they are facing.
There are two main advantages of the behavioral theory. First, the theory supports the opinion that the art of leadership and outstanding leadership qualities are developed through experience (Dinh, 2015). This is different from such theories like the skills approach theory that proposes the notion that leaders are innately born. This theory steps away from these arguments and suggests a different outlook. It sees leadership as possessing a characteristic that can develop over time and through experience, reach expert level. According to this theory, learning is continuous and so is development and, thus, a leader becomes better each day as they continuously learn how to handle both their task and their followers in the correct manner (Dinh, 2015). Taking the basketball example, the leader learns from the losses and challenges they face during their matches. How they handle such losses and the players, some of whom may have contributed to the losses, determines whether they will succeed as coaches or not.
Secondly, behavioral approach holds that leadership is a behavioral learning process that enables leaders to see past their current individual mistake and focus on improving for the future (Dinh, 2015). The theory has helped overcome the stereotype that some people are born leaders, and others are not. The approach guarantees success to hard work and commitment. Learning from past mistakes and blunders has helped leaders overcome the fear of processing and achieving their goals (Dinh, 2015). A coach sporting a team learns the behavior of their task and their team players and defines means to encourage and influence better results in future.
However, there are two significant limitations of this approach: The most striking one is the fact that there is no any guarantee that when people learn the behaviors and practices of their followers, they will be able to perform properly and bear results (Lussier, 2015). It would be easier to learn these behaviors but understanding what to do with them may be more challenging. A coach may learn the actions of his players but to translate these into quality results may be a bigger problem. Another weakness is the issue of cultural and situational contexts of behavior (Lussier, 2015). There are behaviors that cannot be directly linked to anything and such situation can be confusing for a behaviorist leadership approach.
Behavioral approach is among the most successful leadership approaches at the disposal of any leader. In a sporting situation, the behavioral approach comes in handy since the leaders in this category lead a group of people with diverse personalities. Studying the behavioral aspects of this group of people can be helpful in attaining the organizations goals and objectives.
Chemers, M. (2014). An integrative theory of leadership. Psychology Press. Dinh, J. E., Lord, R. G., Gardner, W. L., Meuser, J. D., Liden, R. C., & Hu, J. (2014). Leadership Theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 36-62.
Lussier, R., & Achua, C. (2015). Leadership: Theory, application, & skill development. Nelson Education.
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