Leadership can be defined as a process by which one individual influences others toward the attainment of group or organizational goals.
Three points about the definition of leadership should be emphasized. Leadership cannot exist without a leader and one or more followers.
The scientific study of leadership began with a focus on the traits of effective leaders.
The basic premise behind trait theory was that effective leaders are born, not made, thus the name sometimes applied to early versions of this idea, the "great man" theory.
Many leadership studies based on this theoretical framework were conducted in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s.
Leader trait research examined the physical, mental, and social characteristics of individuals.
The two most famous behavioral leadership studies took place at Ohio State University and the University of Michigan in the late 1940s and 1950s.
These studies sparked hundreds of other leadership studies and are still widely cited.
The conclusion was that there were two distinct aspects of leadership that describe how leaders carry out their role.
Two factors, termed consideration and initiating structure, consistently appeared.