Behavioral Leadership

Definition

The study of the actions, or behaviors, that define a leader is known as behavioral leadership.  First developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in 1964, this theoretical approach to understanding leaders creates categories of styles, which are aligned with the actions the leader may take, or the methods they use to reach their goals.

Explanation

Behavioral models are different than situational theories, which are focused on the application, and effectiveness, of leadership styles to the different operating environments found in the workplace. Since behavioral leadership places emphasis on the actions of the leader, it is better at describing transactional leadership than transformational leadership styles.

Behavioral leadership will attempt to explain why a type of leader exists.  A bureaucratic leader is someone that is empowered, and gives orders, because of the office they hold in a company.  Situational leadership examines how various styles can be effective under different workplace conditions.  For example, a coercive leader works best when a company turnaround is needed.

Related Terms

situational leadership, transformational leader, transactional leaders