Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Theory X and Theory Y Leadership

I am a Theory Y leader. I believe that ruling with fear is an old construct that can be situationally useful and I understand that there are some that respond to an autocratic style of leadership. On the whole I believe that Theory Y leadership promotes a healthier environment for subordinates and the quality of work is higher as is their commitment to the job. I believe that people many times project onto others their beliefs; if someone does not like work and needs to be coerced to work they may believe that others will feel the same and use an authoritarian style of leadership (Theory X). I can attest to this projection theory, and as I know that we are all different, however, I would like to believe that others take pride in their work as I do, or have that potential under a nurturing, motivational, empowering, participative leadership style (Theory Y) to enjoy what they do and have a desire to do it well. I believe that the style of leadership one uses is a reflection of their psychological developmental roots and the attachment theory which creates a balance between attachment and exploration (Avolio & Yammarino, 2002). The blending of genetic origins and childhood experiences begins to form personality as well as emotional and leadership development (Avolio & Yammarino, 2002). Avolio and Yammarino (2002) posit that secure and avoidants seek out leadership roles. I believe that even though leaders may use several types of leadership that the one each leader would claim as their preferred method or style would reflect upon whether they fit into the secure (bold in explorations, relying upon themselves and others) which would fit with the Theory Y form of leadership or avoidant (no confidence that they will get what they need, tend to be self-sufficient without support and devalue attachment behaviors and feelings) which would fit closer to the Theory X.


Avolio, B. & Yammarino, F., (2002). Transformational and charismatic

leadership: The road ahead. Retrieved September 17, 2008 from

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