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The Leadership Theories: Pros and Cons


The ongoing debate around the issue of whether leaders’ skills and traits are innate or acquired has been at the center of experts’ discussion. However, research suggests that although individuals might be born with a set of personal characteristics contributing to their leadership potential, one can learn and develop necessary skills using multiple approaches (Iordanoglou, 2018). The situational leadership theory, the path-goal theory, and the five-factor personality models might illustrate a leader’s role as a set of skills that can be acquired.

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The Situational Leadership Theory


Leadership is flexible and adaptive; styles and approaches differ depending on the personnel’s characteristics and the organization; “follower development level is a crucial moderator of the relationship between leader behavior and efficiency” (Thompson, G., & Glaso, 2018, p. 574).

Pros and Cons

The advantage of this theory is that it enables followers’ effectiveness prioritization and provides a leader’s flexible decision-making depending on a situation and the anticipated results; the disadvantage is that it meets short-term needs rather than long-term ones.


When managing a stressful situation, a CEO might direct employees instead of delegating tasks.

Theory Utilization

The theory might help adjust various leadership styles to the requirements of particular situations to achieve desired goals.

The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership


According to this theory, “leadership behaviors as a source of inf1uence, can change the attitude, motivation, and behavior of an individual subordinate” (Farhan, 2018, p. 17).

Pros and Cons

The advantage is that a leader continuously learns and motivates the team; the disadvantage is that the team greatly depends on the leader.

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An executive officer monitors the process of the team’s work on a project being in constant connection with them.

Theory Utilization

This theory can help increase employee motivation via supportive and directive styles of leadership.

The Five-Factor Personality Model


The model defines neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness as the most essential traits of a leader (Ozbag, 2016).

Pros and Cons

The advantage is that the model allows for determining what personality traits are good or bad for an effective leader. For example, openness to experience contributes to a leader’s success; neuroticism does not provide positive results in different situations (Hassan et al., 2016). The disadvantage of the model is that it is limited in the number of traits and does not include other important characteristics vital for leaders’ performance within an organization.


The dominance of extraversion as a leader’s personality type implies an inspirational style of leadership. It means that such a person would perform best when practicing a supportive or directional leadership style.

Model Utilization

The model might be used to assess one’s personality against their inclination toward a particular leadership style. The placement of a personality on a particular spot in the continuums of each of the five traits allows for evaluating the consistency between personality and used leadership style. This information can be used for further improvement of particular practice areas or the development of leadership skills.


Leaders’ skills and traits play an important role in their leadership styles and the overall performance at their position. People can develop their attributes to achieve positive results. The application of the analyzed theories and models can help in validating the most effective leadership approach.

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Farhan, B. Y. (2018). Application of path-goal leadership theory and learning theory in a learning organization. Journal of Applied Business Research, 34(1), 13-22.

Hassan, H., Asad, S., & Hoshino, Y. (2016). Determinants of leadership style in big five personality dimensions. Universal Journal of Management, 4(4), 161-179.

Iordanoglou, D. (2018). Future trends in leadership development practices and the crucial leadership skills. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 15(2), 118-129.

Ozbag, G. K. (2016). The role of personality in leadership: five factor personality traits and ethical leadership. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 235, 235-242.

Thompson, G., & Glaso, L. (2018). Situational leadership theory: a test from a leader-follower congruence approach. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 39(5), 574-591.

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