Project Management

Leadership Theories vs. Leadership Gut: Which Do You Follow?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Someone once asked me which leadership theory I used with my teams. I was a bit taken aback, so they went on to list off some to help me choose, like situational leadership and contingency. But I wasn’t confused because I didn’t know what they were talking about; I was confused because that’s not how I lead. I learned the theories way back when I first started leading people, but over the years I have developed my own style and approach that I don’t believe aligns with any specific theory.

When I explained this, they seemed shocked. They couldn’t believe that I thought I could be effective unless I was following one or more of the well-established theories. Well, that seems like a good topic to explore here!

The value of theories
If I’m honest, I don’t know how much impact the various theories of leadership have on my current leadership style. I was exposed to them when I was younger because they were covered as part of the various training and education programs I went through. If you have an awareness of something, then it likely has some impact on how you develop your style (if only subconsciously).

In particular, situational leadership was a popular theory when I was in the early years of my career—and I certainly try to adapt how I lead people based on the situation I’m faced with and the people I’m …


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"Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard of no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

- William Shakespeare

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