But if we look into history, we see leaders arise in all kind of places and all kind of status stature, from the rich to the poor, from the smart to the less smart without their ancestors or parents having been great leaders. Further, we see plenty of evidence that the children of great leaders e.g. Kings and Queens can be poor leaders. The bottom line is that there is no evidence that leadership comes in the form of gene and the continued belief that leadership has particular biological origin is a superstition. Though we see that certain groups tend to generate leaders e.g. political dynasties, this is because of the way in which the children are raised rather than a biological blessing.
For us, the most interesting approach is to consider leadership as a social phenomenon i.e. an organized pattern of behavior exhibited in social groups. We prefer this approach because we think it is the most useful as it focuses on what leadership actually does (the technical term is ‘complexity leadership’). The idea is that leadership is a particular behavioral pattern that is exhibited by an organization to ensure its continued viability. In other words, leadership is a set of activities that any social system (e.g. organization, team, community, country, city etc.) must continuously perform in order to ensure its continued survival and success. These 3 activities are as follows:
- Creating clear descriptions of what should be happening i.e. goals & vision.
- Influencing people to work together to achieve the desired outcomes.
- Preserving the unity and integrity of the community in the face of challenging change.
IN SUMMARY, we believe leadership is not about how you are born, it’s about how individual and groups organize their patterns of behavior to describe what a better future looks like, how they influence each other to work together to create that better future, and how they work to preserve the unity of their community in the face of challenging change.