How do people become leaders? Leadership is a topic of interest in social psychology and there are a number of theories that attempt to explain different aspects of leadership. Do certain qualities make people great leaders, or do situational factors play a role? Are leaders born, or is leadership a skill that can be learned?
There are a number of different theories to explain how people become leaders.
Photo courtesy Sanja Gjenero
Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished between leaders and followers, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill level. Despite the wide variety of leadership theories, most can be categorized under one of eight broad outlooks. Learn more about these major theories of leadership.