Almost all leadership theories to date are described within the context of an organization in which the relationship between leader-follower are key, thereby orienting leadership inward.
The three most recent leadership theories consciously recognize the importance of higher, moral values.
Transformational Leadership – an individual leader engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the followers, by raising followers’ level of consciousness about the importance of organizational values and goals. This allows followers to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the team or organization, and moving toward collaboration for higher-level needs (Downton, 1973; Burn, 1978; Tichy & Ulrich, 1984). Specifically, Brown (1994) speculated that transformational leadership is needed in an evolving technological society. Society is moving from controlled change to accelerated change nearly beyond control, meaning that attitude and behavior both require the attention of transformational leaders.
Authentic Leadership – a pattern of behavior that draws upon and promotes both positive psychological capacities and a positive ethical climate, to foster great self-awareness, an internalized moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency on part of leaders working with followers, fostering self-development. “Discovering your authentic leadership requires a commitment to developing yourself.” (George, Sims, McLean & Mayer, 2007).
Servant Leadership – Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid” – command and control. Servant-leaders, however, lead on the basis of shared power, put the needs of others first and help people develop and perform as highly as possible (Lao Tzu, 500; Greenleaf, 1970; Spears, 2010).