在特质理论之后，引入了领导行为理论。它提供了一种完全不同的领导者视角，并聚焦于领导者的社会、心理和生理特征。因此，它是从领导者那里了解有效的人际关系和人类行为的东西。因此，领导者定义自己内在的品质，而不是内在的东西。行为理论之所以重要，是因为它关注于领导者所拥有的特定行为。最重要的两个不同的行为研究中包括的任务导向型领导和以人为本的领导（Yukl et al，1999）。一方面，任务导向型领导侧重于组织的结构和组织遵循的程序。这种行为包括主动性、组织能力、澄清和收集信息等素质。以人为本的领导，另一方面包括关注人民内心需求的领导者。因此，他们倾向于通过强调人际关系来激励工作人员。
According to the word of the historian, Thomas Caryle, ‘The history of the world is the biography of great people.’ There have been a number of theories on leadership. One of the earliest theories of leadership is the Great Man Theory, proposed in the year 1840. According to this theory, only a man could have characteristics of the great leader. It assumed that the great man are born and the leadership quality is intrinsic (Bass & Stogdill, 1990).
The theory was disputed in 1860 by a professor Herbert who started that the leaders are due to social conditions.
Further, trait theory of leadership was proper in 1930-1940. This theory believed that the people who become good leaders are either born with the leadership qualities or they make themselves excellent with respect to a certain role. These qualities includes intelligence, sense of responsibility, creative view and other values. Thus, the trait theory of leadership largely focused on the analysis of the mental, physical and social condition of the person in order to identify different characteristics of a leader. But, there were certain negative things about this theory, hence it was rejected.
After the trait theory, the behavioral theory of leadership was introduced. It offered a completely different perspective of being a leader and focused upon the social, mental and physical characteristics of a leader. Thus it was something which understood the effective relationships and the human behaviors from the leaders. It is therefore defined that the leaders develop the qualities within themselves and is not something which is inherent. The behavioral theory was important because it focused on the specific behavior possessed by the leader. The two most important among the different behavioral studies included the Task oriented leadership and people oriented leadership (Yukl et al, 1999). On one hand, the task oriented leadership was something which focused on the structure of the organizations, the procedures which were followed with the organization. This kind of behavior consisted of qualities like taking the initiative, organizational abilities, clarifying and gathering of information. People oriented leadership, on the other hand includes the leaders who focus on the inner need of the people are satisfied or not. Thus, they tend to motivate the staff members by their emphasis on the human relations.