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The Value of Theory

March 7, 2010

Color Theory Mixture

From as far back as I can remember, the first “theorem” that I acknowledged in my memory was the “Pytagorean Theorem”. I overheard my grandfather teaching my older siblings the mathetmical “rule” or “law” of understanding between the relation of sizes of a right triangle. Theorems are different from theories. Theorems are “ideas, beliefs, methods, or statements generally accepted as true or worthwile without proof”. Theories are generally speculations & conjectures or “the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguised from its practice”. In the path of life, I’ve wrongly assumed that theory and theorems generally belong in the realm of science. I believed that theories do not have a place in activities which aren’t Physics, Chemistry, or Mathematics.
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Although I haven’t found too many “theorems” in the realm of knowledge outside of “hard sciences”, I have found many theories or bodies of bodies of principles which are useful in other realms. Just as guitar theory, or music theory applied to the guitar is useful for burgeoning guitar players, leadership theory is useful to know and to understand for burgeoning leaders. “The Leader Lab”, a website which claims to be a “community of resources dedicated to the advancement of leaderhsip theory” has started a pocket guide on leadership theory.
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In the first blog entry on the series titled “Intro to Leadership Theory“, the website claims that
“Leaders lack an understanding of leadership theory”
in response to so many books on the subject that claim to help readers develop a particular “leadership lack”.
The website will cover the following theories:
  • Trait Theory
  • Skills Theory
  • Style Theory
  • Contingency Theory
  • Situational Leadership Theory
  • Path-Goal Theory
  • Leader-Member Exchange Theory
  • Transformational/Transactional Leadership Theory
  • Servant Leadership Theory
  • Strengths-Based Leadership Theory.
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You can follow the series of articles on the website’s “theory” tag page. As of now, the contributors to the web site have written about the theories until “Path-Goal”. I personally haven’t gone through all of them. I will wait until the series is complete before reading the whole lot. If you come across another resource on Leadership Theory, please get in touch with us and let us know.
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