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The Four Factor Theory of Leadership

A Foundation of Good Leadership

The four factor theory of leadership was borne from researchers David Bowers and Stanley Seashore.

If someone asked you to say what the basics of good leadership are, what would you tell them?

Perhaps you’d use phrases like “having integrity,” “inspiring people,” “leading from the front,” and a whole range of other phrases besides.

Good leadership involves many different attributes, but there are common factors that link many of them.[video width=”1280″ height=”720″

In this article we’ll look at the Four Factor Theory of Leadership, a classic model that defines four basic dimensions of effective leadership. We’ll then think about how you can use these dimensions with your team.


About the Theory

Researchers David Bowers and Stanley Seashore developed the Four Factor Theory of Leadership in the mid-1960s, and published it in 1966.

The four factors are:

Providing Personal Support

– Helping people value themselves and their work, so that they can develop a sense of self-worth.

Encouraging Teamwork (“Interaction Facilitation”)

– Encouraging people to establish close, collaborative, successful working relationships with one another.

Focusing on Goals (“Goal Emphasis”)

– Inspiring people to feel enthusiastic about and committed to shared goals, and motivating them to want to perform well.

Helping People Work Effectively (“Work Facilitation”)

– Helping people meet goals by supporting them, and by providing resources, materials, or knowledge. 


You can use the four factors as a solid base when building your leadership skills. Bear in mind, however, that you’ll need to learn much more than this if you want to be an effective leader. These four factors get you started with leadership, but you can develop your skills much further.

To find out more information on leadership skills and leadership and management courses, please have a look here.


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