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Comparison between Successful Leaders in Public, Private, and Non-Profit Organizations

Comparison between Successful Leaders in Public, Private, and Non-Profit Organizations

Comparison between Successful Leaders in Public, Private, and Non-Profit Organizations

Theories of Leadership

Delores Blango

Dr. Derrick Tinsley

Strayer University

PAD 515

February 1, 2020


Theories of Leadership


Leadership is a skill in which an individual can guide others or an organization. It requires the leader to be motivating enough so that they can achieve a set objective. Leaders usually have a personality that draws others towards him or her. It is all about steering people in the right direction and ensuring that they remain focused on achieving the agreed goals (Silva, 2016). Additionally, it entails deciding on the group’s vision, sharing it with the followers, and ensuring that everyone has the information, knowledge, and skills for a triumphant accomplishment.

Definition of a Public Leader

A public leader is an individual that works in a public office in which he or she is supposed to serve the community. Additionally, public leaders such as the mayor are tasked with the responsibility of evaluating what the society needs and engaging in collective efforts, often geared towards ensuring that the community’s issues are addressed. There are various leadership styles and theories that support the definition of a public leader.

Leadership Theories

Contingency theory is one of the approaches that can support the definition of a public leader. The theory stipulates that the leadership style varies depending on the situation at hand. According to Dinibutun (2020), leaders should assess the situation and choose a method that will work best with the problem at that particular time. In defining a public leader, it is argued that the person must possess the ability to evaluate the community and understand the issues that it is facing. Similarly, the contingency theory claims that a good leader understands the needs of his followers and will select the best method to address the issue without any major setbacks.

Furthermore, Dinibutun (2020) explains that in Fiedler’s contingency model, a leader can either be task-oriented or relationship-oriented. While a task-oriented leader is concerned about the completion of tasks by ensuring that the subordinates exhibit high performance, a relationship-oriented leader is more interested in getting liked by the followers by developing a positive relationship with them. In this case, public leaders have to work towards ensuring that the employees within their office have to perform and provide positive outcomes and ascertain that the solutions help in developing a lasting relationship with the society and the peers.

Another of the theories that best defines a public leader is the behavioural model. The behavioural theory holds that a leader is described in terms of his characteristics, which are often developed over time. That is, a good leader should have the ability to interact well with the people, have ideas that help the smooth operation of the office held, and have the knowledge to achieve the objectives. Additionally, the behavior of a leader determines the degree of motivation, commitment, and satisfaction on the part of the followers (Nawaz & Khan, 2016). The rationale for this argument is that subordinates tend to be less motivated when the behavior of the public leader is wanting, and he has the tendency to ignore the issues of the community.

Leadership Styles

The definition of a public leader is primarily supported by the transformational leadership style. This method is focused on bringing change in an area in which a person is in charge. The strategy used by the leader includes motivating the employees to be innovative, creative, and hardworking with the aim of effectively causing change within an organization ( Choi, Kim, Kang, 2017).

Additionally, this style does not include micromanaging, whereby the leader only has to train his employees and then creates an environment in which they can be creative and contribute towards the accomplishment of objectives. A public leader is supposed to demonstrate authenticity in their work and be strong-willed. Situational leadership explains that it is expected of the employees to follow suit and utilize strategies that will help grow their organization and solve any problems that may arise.

What is more, is that transformational leadership emphasizes more on the need to have an ethical environment and to maintain high moral standards that should be emulated by the followers. Maintaining an ethical climate within the community is part of the definition of a public leader. That is, once one is entrusted with a public office, it is expected of them to deal with ethical issues such as corruption so that all members of the society have fair chances at the opportunities within the region.

Democratic leadership also supports the definition of a public leader. The method holds that a leader makes his or her decisions based on the input from the members of the team. A public leader works closely with people in society who have an understanding of what is happening in the community. He tasks them with the duty of determining the problems at hand providing solutions. As part of the process, the leader holds meetings with those that are part of his team to lay out strategies and decide on the way forward. This method ensures that even the lowest within the organization have an opportunity to air out their grievances and be hard. A public leader is required to encourage the exchange of ideas.

Comparison between Successful Leaders in Public, Private, and Non-Profit Organizations

There is a difference between successful leaders in public, private, and non-profit organizations. The public leaders are motivated by the need to cause a change in the society or the nation. However, the primary motivation of the leaders in the private sector is driven by the need to make profits and ensure that their organization survives in the economy. On the other hand, those in non-profit organizations concentrate on a select group of people, for instance individuals living with disability and work towards ensuring their plight is heard. Leaders in non-profit organizations rely on autocratic leadership style whereby the executive directors have strong connections with the donors and the community serves. While public leaders are keen on transformational leadership style, those in the private sector use transactional leadership which gets work done by motivating employees. For instance, bonuses the marketing team may be given bonuses when their efforts lead to an increase in sales.


Leadership is not a born ability, and neither does it resort from a challenge. I think that leadership is learned. That is, through enrolling in leadership causes, one could pick up a few traits that help in changing their behavior and equipping them with leadership skills (Pandya, Dirks, & Kwok, 2017). Additionally, leadership can also be learned by observing what others are doing. For example, a student interacts with the school principal, sees how he manages crisis and gets things done, and is eventually equipped with leadership skills.


Leadership includes ensuring that team members remain motivated towards the accomplishment of objectives. Leadership styles differ depending on the situation whereby different theories and methods are applied. The best leaders are made by having them learning leadership skills through training, observation, and participation.


Choi, S. B., Kim, K., & Kang, S. W. (2017). Effects of transformational and shared leadership styles on employees’ perception of team effectiveness. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal45(3), 377-386.

Dinibutun, S. R. (2020). Leadership: A Comprehensive Review of Literature, Research and Theoretical Framework. Journal of Economics and Business3(1), 44-64.

Nawaz, Z. A. K. D. A., & Khan_ PhD, I. (2016). Leadership theories and styles: A literature review. Leadership16(1), 1-7.

Pandya, T., Dirks, R., & Kwok, A. (2017). Leaders are Made, Not Born: A Leadership Development Curriculum for General Surgery Residents. Journal of the American College of Surgeons225(4), e154-e155.

Silva, A. (2016). What is leadership?. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly8(1), 1.

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