Leadership appears to be a largely human topic. Nevertheless, there are plenty of articles about leadership in animals (ie, amphibians, birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles). Most articles are about mammals (eg, African elephants) and birds (eg, pigeons). Most articles claim fish have leaders (eg, Nat Geo, Phys, Science Daily) apart from one (JSTOR). I noticed no articles about bacteria, fungi, plants or trees having leaders.
Why is leadership restricted to animals and humans?
A first clue is that many articles mention a connection between leadership and (social) groups (eg, blog). A group cooperates – by definition. Other species compete (eg, for sunlight, water). One article – Leadership in Mammalian Societies: Emergence, Distribution, Power, and Payoff – adds a very interesting argument: animals (and humans) move (eg, food acquisition). Other lifeforms grow but do not (really) move.
The distinction between competition vs cooperation (my blogs) is a fundamental one in evolution. I think, feel and believe that it’s safe to say that cooperation is the next step in the evolution of species. Before, competition was dominant. In many situations, it still is.
Do humans need, want and/or believe in leadership?
Considering human “evolution” from cradle to grave, one could argue that a child needs parental leadership, workers want leadership, and that citizens & voters believe in leadership. However, a democracy may yield weak elected leaders. The weaker the elected leaders, the more urge for a political strongman.
Why does cooperation require leadership?
Cooperation involves specialization in tasks (eg, ants, hunting vs gathering). Specialization requires (central) coordination. As the Thomas John Barnardo (1845-1905) saying goes: “There can be only one Captain to a ship”. A leader meets the leadership style that is preferred in the specific circumstances.
What kind of leaders and/or leadership styles are available?
Essentially, we can see Love, Knowledge & Power (a.k.a. my concept of trialism) as the three dominant leadership styles. Love is dominant in families (ie, parents and children) and/or couples. Knowledge is dominant in nurturing situations (eg, African elephants). Power is dominant in business and politics.
Why is leadership so much under discussion?
I think, feel and believe that leadership is a topic in Western societies as these are in the Beliefs stage of their collective development. Other territories are still in their Needs (eg, most of Africa) or Wants stage. Obviously, one can believe that leadership is no longer needed. That belief does not make an opinion valid.
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.