Leadership is a means of directing. It is the ability to influence a group towards the achievement of goals. It is the human factor that helps a group identify where it is going and then motivates it towards its goals. According to Drucker, "Leadership is the lifting of man‟s visions to higher sights, the raising of man's performance to a higher standard, the building of man's personality beyond its normal limitations.”(1954).
Aristotle may be said to be a proponent of The Great Man Theory as he is quoted as saying, “Men are marked out from the moment of birth to rule or be ruled.” This theoretical perspective was developed further by historians who studied the lives of respected leaders for clues to their greatness but it has never become part of mainstream organizational psychology. The major assumptions are leaders are born and not made and great leaders will arise when there is a great need. Stogdill is one the main scholars of trait theory approach to leadership. Two of Stogdill's surveys established certain traits which were consistent of leaders. These surveys took place from the 1930s-1950s.Behavioural theory was developed by the scholars from Ohio State University during 1940-1950‟s. The study was conducted to understand “what behaviors make the leaders effective?”Similar research was also conducted at University of Michigan and Harvard University.
The Managerial Grid was modified by Robert R Blake and Anne Adams McCanse. and it was named as Leadership Grid. Leadership Grid is an approach to understanding a leader‟s concern for results (production) and concern for people. Kurt Lewin and colleagues did leadership decision experiments in 1939 and identified three different styles of leadership, in particular around decision-making. These are Autocratic, Democratic and Laissez-faire. Rensis Likert identified four main styles of leadership, in particular around decision-making and the degree to which people are involved in the decision. Situational leadership theories in organizational studies are a type of leadership theory, leadership style, and leadership model that presumes that different leadership styles are better in different situations, and that leaders must be flexible enough to adapt their style to the situation they are in.This was developed by Hersey and Blanchard.
The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership was developed to describe the way that leaders encourage and support their followers in achieving the goals they have been set by making the path that they should take clear and easy. Relationship theories (also known as “Transformational theories”) focus upon the connections formed between leaders and followers. These leaders motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher good of the task. Transactional leadership is based in contingency, in that reward or punishment is contingent upon performance. Management theories (also known as “Transactional theories”) focus on the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. The Four Framework Approach, Bolman and Deal (1991) suggest that leaders display leadership behaviors in one of four types of frameworks: Structural, Human Resource, Political, or Symbolic.