Leadership is defined as the ability to influence a group of people and direct them to achieve goals. Leadership is a process which occurs in the context of a group and involves attainment of goal. This source influence can be informal or formal such as manager or a supervisor. Informal leaders are non-sanctioned and do not have designated position in the organization. Today, organizations and businesses need strong leaders for effective working. Leader in an organization creates a vision or formulates goals and challenge the current status quo.
Leadership has been studied from several perspectives. The trait theories of leadership emphasize on certain characteristics and traits of the leader. According to trait theories, extraversion and conscientiousness are important characteristics of a leader. Another important trait is empathy or high emotional intelligence. “Great man theory” of leadership assumes that leaders are the people with special qualities. Behavioural theorists believe that certain specific behaviour distinguishes a leader from non-leaders. Ohio State Studies are the most detailed and comprehensive set of leadership theories. It identified two independent dimensions of behaviour: initiating structure and consideration. Similarly, University of Michigan survey research centre identified two behavioural dimensions and gave two categories of leader: employee oriented leader and job oriented leader.
Based on the above mentioned studies, Blake and Mouton developed a managerial grid. It focused on two styles, concern for people and concern for production. According to this grid, there can be 81 leadership styles. The contingency theories of leadership focus on the importance of situation on effective leadership. Fred Fiedler gave the first detailed contingency model. He said that effective performance of a group depends on the match between leadership style and situation. He developed Least Preferred co-worker questionnaire (LPC) to identify leadership style. Other contingency theories include situational-leadership theory, path goal theory, and leader-participation model.