The impact of leadership on follower outcomes, such as individual satisfaction, group cohesion, and quality of performance, has been heavily researched. But what about the importance of follower traits and values to leader outcomes and performance? Although behaviorist Mary Parker Follest suggested in 1947 that organizational performance depended largely on leaders understanding and accommodating the needs of followers, this is a less-researched area of study in management (Chong & Wolf, 2010); however, it is no less important to the makeup of an effective organization.

In addition, in 1967, Fred Fiedler proposed a seminal theory of leadership he called the contingency model(Bons & Fiedler, 1976). Fiedler saw leadership behaviors and perceptions of followers as depending on contexts and situations. Subsequent theorists proposed that both leaders and followers were influenced by situational variables, and that these variables, in turn, ultimately affect the performance or the organization. What situational variables pertain to public and nonprofit organizations that would affect this leader-follower relationship and, ultimately, organizational effectiveness?

Leadership is about more than simply possessing particular traits and characteristics. It also is about how a leader’s traits and characteristics mesh with the values of followers and the complexities of the organizational environment.

For this assignment, review this week’s Learning Resources. Think about how leader characteristics, follower characteristics, and situational factors interact to influence leadership effectiveness. Then, identify challenges leaders might encounter when engaging in the leadership process.

The assignment: (3–4 pages)

Write a 3- to 4-page paper that includes the following:

  • An explanation of how the interaction between leader characteristics, follower characteristics, and situational factors influences leadership effectiveness.
  • A description of at least two challenges related to the practice of leadership based on your analysis of this interaction.
  • An explanation of how leaders might address those challenges.

Be sure to support your assignment with specific references to the resources and other current literature in the Walden Library. Use at least two scholarly sources from the library that were published within the past 5 years to support your paper.


Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks: CA: Sage Publications. .

  • Chapter 2, “Trait Approach” (pp. 19–41)
  • Review Chapter 3, “Skills Approach” (pp. 43–70)
  • Chapter 4, “Behavioral Approach” (pp. 73-92)
  • Chapter 5, “Situational Approach (pp. 95-116)
  • Optional Resources

    • Bennis, W. (2010). Art of followership. Leadership Excellence, 27(1), 3–4.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    • Bons, P. M., & Fiedler, F. E. (1976). Changes in organizational leadership and the behavior of relationship- and task-motivated leaders. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21(3), 453–473.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    • Chantel, C. U. (2007). What followers want from leaders: Capitalizing on diversity. Nonprofit World, 25(5), 15–16.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
    • Chong, E., & Wolf, H. (2010). Factors influencing followers’ perception of organisational leaders.Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 31(5), 402–419.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
 
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