Contemporary Leadership Theories

Cite this article as:"Contemporary Leadership Theories," in The Business Professor, updated April 9, 2020, last accessed October 22, 2020,


What are Contemporary Approaches to Leadership?

He most widely-recognized, contemporary approaches to leadership include:

  • Transformational Leadership – The transformational leadership approach highlights the importance of leader charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration as methods of influence. Its counterpart is the transactional leadership approach, in which the leader focuses on getting employees to achieve organizational goals.
  • Leader-member Exchange – According to leader-member exchange (LMX) approach, the unique, trust-based relationships leaders develop with employees are the key to leadership effectiveness.
  • Servant Leadership – Recently, leadership scholars started to emphasize the importance of serving others and adopting a customer-oriented view in leadership; another recent focus is on the importance of being true to oneself as a leader.
  • Authentic Leadership – While each leadership approach focuses on a different element of leadership, effective leaders will need to change their style based on the demands of the situation as well as using their own values and moral compass.

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