This article begins with a review of leadership theories and tracks their evolution over the past 70 years from the “great man” notion of heroic leaders, through trait theories, behaviourist theories, situational leadership, contingency theory and on to transactional and transformational leadership. Each of these offers some insights into the qualities of successful leaders, but there has been a shift in focus from the generic characteristics and behaviours of the individual to a recognition of the importance of responding to different situations and contexts and the leaders’ role in relation to followers. The review concludes with an introduction to the notion of “dispersed leadership” and a distinction between the process of “leadership” and the socially-constructed role of “leader”.
The next section, on Leadership Models and Competency Frameworks, presents a range of leadership and management frameworks currently being used in organisations. These define the qualities required of people in leadership positions and help to inform the leadership development process. Seven private-sector, nine public sector and eight generic frameworks are discussed and web links to the full models included where available.