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I just read a post on LinkedIn titled "What Leadership Was And What It Has Become" refering to an article of the same title on leadertoday.org. Although it has some good points, it espouses that business today is too complicated for one person to be a leader and advocates that the future will be that of "leadership groups" that replace leaders.

I can only say after reading the article that it misses what is the core of true leadership. Leadership is not and never will be a "group" activity. I can think of nothing more chaotic, difficult and unpredictable as war. Yet I think of Colin Powell, Norman Schwartzkopf, Dwight Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, all great leaders and though they had others with which they worked and consulted, they lead - alone. Even the two individuals mentioned in the article, Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, never practiced "group leadership." They lead their respective organizations. There was never any doubt who lead Apple or The Walt Disney Corporation.

Leadership always will be an individual thing. Great leaders are cognizant of the abilities of those they lead and are able to gain much from their teams, but ultimately, they provide the leadership, not the group, not the team. Can you imagine our president (any president) abdocating leadership to a "leadership group?"

I have never subscribed what the author describes as the romantic vision of a leader and neither do those people who are recognized as great leaders. Read Colin Powell's book on leadership. You won't find anything resembling a "macho leader" who grabs control or a "leadership group." Leadership is not about control or being heroic. It is about being courageous and confident in one's abilities. It is about, among other things, solving problems, motivating the team to succeed, understanding the goals, and making desicions that are often very difficult.

Here is a link to the original article: http://leadertoday.org/articles/leadershipwas.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&goback=.nmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1.gde_1076847_member_149031343

I'd like to know what others think. Is the future of leadership a group activity?

Posted on: August 29, 2012 06:39 PM | Permalink

Comments (26)

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I would say that probable certain activities can be done in a group, but at the end of the day, there still need to be a single leader to set the direction and lead. Try having a group of people holding a rope and have them start pulling in all directions; you will create a mess and people will start falling. Now, get only one to pull while the rest just holding on to the rope and follow; you will make progress though not necessary in the right direction, but at least the group moves.

Great piece, on Individuality in Leadership, Harian!
As a graduate of PMI's Leadership Institute Master Class (LIMC) and keen follower of Leadership myself, I have read a lot on the topic.
I found your perspectives very interesting and indeed practical...
Do keep contributing to enrich our community here!

Good Perception. A Leader is always a Leader who is adept in changes, who changes his hat based on the circumstances.

That article, "What Leadership Was And What It Has Become By Jonathan Farrington" seems incomplete and appears to miss the mark based on my understanding of the history of leadership within the human race.


Excellent Article,Thanks

"Leadership always will be an individual thing" ....right meaning.

There is an argument that shared or group leadership is beneficial in certain situations, so I am not 100% that leadership will always be an individual thing.

Leadership is, indeed, at its core, an individual capacity. However, in my view, leadership occurs only when that capability is recognized in the person, supported by his/her own team and organization, and creates a continuing desire on the part of others to follow that leader. A leader also knows that, in some circumstances, it is better to encourage others in the organization, particularly in a project team, to exert leadership when it is clear they have both the expertise and following to do so. The leader does not stop leading, nor does the leader share leadership; rather, the leader temporary cede the leadership for a purpose to someone else.

Interesting article, thanks for sharing. I am of the view that there will still have to be a single leader to steer the group in a the right direction.

Thanks for sharing, good article

Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. Effective leadership includes strong character. Leaders exhibit honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and ethics. It's not a group activity.

Great article! Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for penning this down. It is true. Leadership is the key for any organization!

Thank you for sharing

thanks for sharing your thoughts about leadership, and I agree

Leaders are the loneliest people in the world. Even if you are surrounded by support and structure, essentially you walk alone. But, it's not all that bad, if you do it right.

I do agree with the thought that leaders leads the team, take independent decisions in the interest of the best outcome, shows courage, sails through in the difficult times. Anyway a leader leads the group of people otherwise their is no leadership if there is no group. But if few leaders make a group and takes combine decision and agree to be unanimous then it will group leadership but that's a far most fragile concept than in reality. Leadership can not be a group activity, even in group someone will lead as a natural leader.

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