Naturally Selected

…the babble effect – in which the chattiest person in a group is regarded informally as the group’s leader – further demonstrates the link between talkativeness and the perception of leadership potential .

So, while a participative style, which brings subordinates into the decision-making fold, might be productive in one setting, it would not be suited to a fast-moving environment such as a hospital emergency ward or on the battlefield. Someone who can handle a crisis might not be a person who can manage during a slow period.

…how we like to lead and how we wish to be led …

Mathematical models show that, when uncertainty and complexity reign, distributed leadership actually works better than dictatorial leadership . In this picture, information is pooled from many group members and then a decision is made by averaging out, or a majority consensus.

…the five main dimensions of personality: agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, openness to experience. Some psychologists have also recently identified a sixth trait, which is called honesty/humility and which may be particularly relevant for leadership.

Humans have a natural capacity to follow, just as evolutionary leadership theory would suggest. You could call followership the default setting of the human psyche. – why humans are natural followers is that by following a leader, you can note and learn the qualities required if you are to become leader one day. It’s like on-the-job training. Following a leader not only raises your chances of survival in a mean world, but it is a tutorial in leadership that you can one day turn to your advantage.

…even a small dissenting minority can have an important effect on group unity. It takes only a small ripple to rock the boat…

We propose a new taxonomy of followership based on evolutionary leadership theory. It contains five categories of follower: apprentice, disciple, loyalist, supporter and subordinate.

For example, a charismatic CEO who champions his employees and is generous with his wisdom, while delivering profits that are shared among employees, is going to appeal to followers across the board. He will be a teacher to his apprentices, a source of inspiration to his disciples, a defender to his loyalists, a figurehead to his supporters and a provider to his subordinates.

In America, two-thirds of employees name their boss as their biggest headache, and there is no reason to think this dismal statistic differs wildly in other economies. Common reasons for disgruntlement among employees are the feeling they are being micromanaged; rude or abrasive managers; workplace indecision; and perceived favoritism.