Leadership Theory Development

*This post was for an assignment in the Ph.D. program I am in.  The course is for Leadership Development

Leadership, like many things in the social and hard sciences, ends up in a sea of complexity (Burns, Shoup, & Simmons, 2014).  Nicholas Clarke (2013) asserts that complexity comes from leadership theories that become outdated but Burns et al. (2014) link this complexity as driven by several influences.  These first three contributors are Christ as creator, political science and business management.  Viewing Christ as creator has good cohesion with the Christian worldview that all things find their genesis in God.  This includes things now included in the social science, such as leadership theory.  The next two contributors, political science and business management, are both foundational as they are inherently linked with society’s needs.  First, the need to regulate relationships and, the second, to regulate trade.

The last contributions are outside influencers.  The Industrial revolution, according to Burns et al. (2014) was one of the greater change influencers of leadership theory development.  This is where the sea of complexity is closer due to the involvement of hard sciences.  The last contributor is the invited worldview of Christ as the basis for moral leadership, namely servant leadership.  As Clarke (2014) notes, leadership now has a larger focus on the social parameters involved in leadership.  Focusing on others then brings servant leadership into greater necessity when navigating the sea of complexity.

The power school of leadership, even though older, is still very relevant in contemporary society and within my organization.  Burns et al (2014) notes that this school focuses on seven power bases: position, expert, connection, reward, coercive, referent and information (p. 96).  Even in a postmodern world where authenticity seems to be a leadership requirement, the ability to wield power honorably is still appropriate.  Wayne Schmidt (2006) writes about four abuses of power: abuse of inspiration (over spirituality), abuse of intelligence (intellectual snobbery or insider information), abuse of influence (manipulation), abuse of investment (buying votes).  These are dangerous behaviors that leaders need to be aware of.

Lastly, servant leadership is a highly sought after leadership school within my organization that has primarily sacred purposes.  As Burns et al. (2014) notes, servant leadership focuses on establishing a moral standard for transformational development.  Servant leadership, building for transformational concepts, focuses on the growth of others through concern and empowerment to overcome obstacles.  This definition makes servant leadership development as it requires a degree of innovation for problem-solving and decision-making.  These two qualities are highly sought after in organizations that desire to remain effective in today’s changing society.


Burns, J. S., Shoup, J. R., & Simmons, D. C. (2014). Organizational leadership: Foundations & practices for Christians. Downders Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Clarke, N. (2013). Model of complexity leadership development. Human Resource Development International, 16(3), 135-150. doi:10.1080/13678868.2012.756155

Schmidt, W. (2006). Power plays. Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishign House.

%d bloggers like this: