Essay on Leadership in Criminal Justice: Attracting Subordinates and Improving Performance

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1680 Words
Date:  2022-12-27


In the criminal justice field, leadership skills are significant for the proper running of different departments. Leadership is a personal ability that influences and coordinates others. In the criminal justice system, leaders must have the power to attract subordinates and others in higher rank through the inner influence. The leaders are also able to alter the actions of other people and improve the overall performance to achieve the goals of the judicial system (Northouse, 2018). The theories of leadership what makes a competent leader and ways which people can lead to a corporation. Situational, behavioral, and skills are the major leadership theories that have been put forward to offer guidance to aspirin and current leaders. The situational approach suggests that leaders adopt certain styles depending on the situation at hand. In this case, no single approach is used to solve all problems in an organization as different events need diverse decision (Clawson, 2006). Other theories emphasize that leaders should possess certain qualities and skills for them to lead others. The skill theory emphasizes that leaders must possess human, technical and technical skills to lead others. Behavioral theory suggests that leaders acquire the ability to influence others as a learning process. The behavioral and skill theory is not as effective as a situational theory because they suggest that certain fixed qualities should be applied when solving problems in an organization. The comparative paper explains the effectiveness of situational theory over behavioral and situational theory.

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Situational Theory

Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey developed the leadership theory which explains that leaders make actions depending on a situation at hand. The approach indicates that no fixed style of leadership is effective in all events in organizations as some require immediate decisions that take a few seconds, unlike others that require negotiations from other leaders (Pratap, 2016). The methods leaders use to take actions are not constant from one event to another. According to the situational theory, the most competent leader changes the leadership approach to suit various events and solve problems differently. Moreover, an effective consider several aspects before using certain criteria to solve problems. These factors include the type of work, nature of workers, among other aspects that may enhance efficiency in the workplace. The approach also suggests that diverse events lead to the development of leaders. Moreover, it recommends that leaders should choose to make certain decisions after considering the situational variable and any selected style may be successful. The developers of the situational approach proposed four basic leadership styles. These include telling (S1) where leaders say what and how to do a task. The selling (S2) style involves the participation of both the leaders and followers. In this style, the leaders sell the opinions and ideas to the followers who may choose to or not to buy them. The third style of leadership is the participating (S3) where leaders allow the followers to make most decisions in an organization without much intervention (Pratap, 2016). The last style is (Delegating S4) the members make most decisions and are also responsible for their outcomes.

In my personal experience, I have come to realize that this is the most effective theory of leadership because I use it to solve most issues in schools such as dealing with friends and team members. For example, during group discussions I make people cope with each other in different situations whey disagrees violently. Letting every member know that he/she has equal rights in a group is the most important thin as some try to dominate without giving others a chance to contribute. On two or three instances, I have used the situational theory to stop people from committing crimes in the neighborhood. When I complete my degree course, I aspire to secure a job with an in an investigative corporation but lack the personality traits of a successful leader hence I will utilize the situational style to solve problems at hand differently. The approach will help lead my co-workers in investigating fighting crimes, unlike the behavioral and skill approaches that emphasize the need to possess qualities and skills to lead others. Although these theories provide opportunities for learning abilities, the situational theory is effective because employees are given a chance to prove their capabilities even if they do not portray them during the interview (Pratap, 2016).

Behavioral Theory

The behavioral theory emphasizes that a person's behavior determine his/her leadership abilities. Derue et al. (2011) explain that although leadership abilities are not inherent, they can be learned in class or through life experience. This is the approach applied in most organizations to select workers because the managers believe that competent workers are those that display the leadership qualities during the interview. The shortcoming of the style is that it does not allow people to improve their leadership quality by hiring them in a firm since it is fixed on behaviors of people. Griffin and Moorhead (2011) explain the two classes of the behavior theory as developed by Ohio State University. The research proved that there are behavior leaders that are strongly linked and they include the consideration (People Oriented) and starting Structure (Task Oriented) leaders.

The task-oriented leaders focus their performance on the organizational structure, control, and operating processes. They concentrate on motivating workers and only emphasize the behaviors that concentrate on the initiation, clarification, organization, and information collection on tasks and processes (Griffin & Moorhead, 2011). On the other hand, the people-guided leaders concentrate their actions on making sure people's inner needs are satisfied. The leaders focus on human relation to inspiring the workers and hence only concentrate on the task and attain the results using various means such as encouraging, observing, mentoring and listening to employees. Although the behavioral approach is an organization it is not effective because it demands leaders to possess certain behavioral skills. However, the approach also confirms that anyone can be a leader when provided with training and the proper environment for leadership abilities.

Skills Theory

Robert Katz developed the skills theory of leadership in 1955 that explain the abilities of an effective leader. The theory suggests that a leader should assume significant skills such as human, conceptual, and technical to make decisions in a company. The human skills are the personal abilities to cooperate with other workers such as understanding behavior, motives, attitude, and feelings human resources leaders use to relate with workers and improve their productivity. An effective leader must understand assistants, peers, and supervisors. These skills make leaders understand and influence others (Guerrero & Rowe, 2013).

Technical skills are personal talents in a specific field which may be acquired through training. In this case, the leader has to comprehend the rules, regulations, and all the operating procedures within the company. The skill is applicable in lower, middle, and senior levels of management (Guerrero & Rowe, 2013). The last type of ability is the conceptual skills which are useful in the establishment of objectives and vision of the corporation. When utilizing these skills they are able to motivate workers and improve their work performance. Skills approach was developed after the realization that trait theory had several shortcomings, for instance, it does provide room for improvement of the non-leaders. The skills theory outline five significant skills that leaders should demonstrate and they include competencies, career experiences, personal attributes, environmental influences, and personal outcomes (Abolrous, 2010). The skills theory is similar to the behavior approach because it also assumes that leadership is not inherited. It also assumes that any person can learn and develop a particular set of leadership skills. The main emphasis of the theory is the abilities that make leaders effective. Unlike the behavior theory, the skills theory is used in several ranks of the judicial departments. However, not every person possesses the technical, human, and conceptual skills that the approach demands. For instance, I believe that I do not have all these qualities hence if an organization assesses them during an interview I would fail despite the fact that I can lead others effectively using the situational approach. I plan to improve my leadership skills with time after learning from my supervisors and subordinates. Although the skills theory is not the most effective in solving problems, I will use the skills and learn the three basic abilities such as human, technical and conceptual which play a major role in the definition of an effective leader.


There are three major theories of leadership that define how leaders should make decisions in a criminal justice system. They include the situational, behavioral, and skills theories which can be used to make actions. Although the skills and behavioral approaches have received credit from many people they do not work in all situations. The situational approach emphasizes not only on the behavior or skills of a leader but also on the situation at hand. I believe that it is the most practical since leadership is influenced by circumstances and an effective leader should act according to the different needs. However, the approach suffers from the assumption of the qualities and behavior of the leader does not play a role in decision making. The theory ignores the fact that some skills and behavior help the leaders to attain the objectives of an organization. Therefore the situational approach is effective because employees are given a chance to prove their capabilities even if they do not possess the behavior and skills of a leader.


Abolrous, H. (2010). The skills approach. Leadership and Invitation. Retrieved from

Guerrero, L., & Rowe, W.G. (Eds.). (2013). Leadership skills approach. Cases in Leadership. (pp. 81-86). Retrieved from

Griffin, R., & Moorhead, G. (2011). Organizational Behavior. Nelson Education.Northouse, P. G. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.Pratap, A. (2016).Theories of leadership. Retrieved from

Derue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Wellman, N. E. D., & Humphrey, S. E. (2011). Trait and behavioral theories of leadership: An integration and metaanalytic test of their relative validity. Personnel Psychology, 64(1), 7-52.

Clawson, J.G. (2006) Level Three Leadership Getting below the Surface. 3rd Edition, Pearson, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River.

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