Natural leadership

Leaders have been around as long as there have been people:

The idea of subordinates selecting their superiors might seem fantastical, but not to our ancestors. In our new book, Mark van Vugt at VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and I propose that leadership and followership behaviours can be traced to the earliest days of our species. Given that all human groupings – be they nations, gangs or cults – have leaders and followers, and that these behaviours appear spontaneous, our thesis is that leadership and followership are adaptive behaviours. . . .

In fact, this arrangement proves so beneficial that other species, from fish to birds to chimpanzees, also show forms of leadership and followership, rudimentary in the cases of fish and birds, but surprisingly sophisticated in the case of our coalition-building cousins. . . .

In another study, naive children shown photographs of election candidates typically pick the same winner as the electorate.


One Response to Natural leadership

  1. Alrenous says:

    Indeed, any social grouping is going to have a leader. By noise if nothing else – the random direction the group goes will serve one individual better than the rest.

    More generally, a group is defined by coordination towards a goal, and various possible goals will serve various individuals variously. Hence lobbying. But, someone will win. We both know humans – obviously, there’s going to be someone who generally wins, by hook or by crook, and those wins will be invested in winning again in the future…

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