Leadership has been historically seen as something that some people are gifted with innately while the vast majority are destined to simply do their bidding. At the beginning of the 20th century leadership was understood to be the centralization of power with a common theme of domination towards “impressing the will of the leader on those led and induce obedience, respect, loyalty, and cooperation” (Moore, 1927). As the century progressed there was a shift in leadership definitions from domination toward group dynamics and the leader’s role as a part of a team (Northouse, 2013). Today, there is a variety of leadership definitions that are countless and individually have different takes on what leadership truly is. What has become clear as the 21st century has become a reality is that leadership is not something innate that only a few chosen people possess, but it is a skill that anyone has access to if they are willing to invest the time and energy (Northouse, 2013).
Leaders with formal positions of authority, would be wise to encourage this idea, and impart a leadership mindset into all followers for the sake of impactful strategy. Strategy is vital to the effectiveness of every organization, and having people involved at several different levels will insure strong strategic development. If positional leaders will trust their followers as fellow leaders and include them in the strategic process they will create a cooperative atmosphere the promotes alignment of action and stave off internal conflict (Eden & Ackermann, 2012).
The other side is also true. If there is not an embrace of followers as leaders, and they are not included in the process of strategy development, strategy will fail at the stage of implementation and buy-in from followers will be low limiting organizational success.
Eden, C., & Ackermann, F. (2011). Making Strategy: Mapping Out Strategic Success (Second Edition edition). London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Moore, B. V. (1927). The May conference on leadership. Personnel Journal, (iss. 6), pp. 124–128.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.