Published on October 21, 2007
A Brief History of Leadership
A new idea from ancient times • Today’s behaviours (what we do) are influenced by our biological history (what we were). Leadership development is possible and necessary to help us overcome our more primitive instincts.
Why study the history of leadership? • To explore leadership concepts (‘map- reading’) Map Map • To test leadership Testing Reading concepts (‘map- testing’) • To develop richer personal leadership Map maps (‘map-making’) making
Health Warning: Anthropomorphism • Anthropomorphism: ‘seeing’ human behaviour patterns in other animals; inanimate objects; and symbolic entities (Peter Rabbit; ‘Hal’; The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse …)
Our ancestors’ tale • Our ancestors’ tale begins with the earliest common ancestor (‘concestor’) of all living creatures. • If we search, we can find the messages from over a billion years of evolution …
Concestual links* (1) Animal concestor 1000 Million years (?) Little creepy Mammals Reptiles Crawlies 100 Million years 500 Million years >500 Million years Herd and pack Modern lizards Lots of other Primates Dynosaurs Modern ants, bees animals Birds, fish Mammals * Concestor: A shared common Homo Sapiens ancestor (‘Best estimates’ of dates)
Concestual links (2) Primate Concestor Other Primates Apes Humanoids Chimpanzees Bonobos Homo Sapiens Monkeys Other apes Mandrills and Gorillas baboons
Concestor links (3) Humanoids (3,600,000 -) Homo Sapiens Other Humanoids Neadertals (150,000 -) (130,000 -28,000) Hunter Gatherers Agrarians Industrials (100,000 -) (10,000 -) (200 -)
Leadership: An evolutionary view • The further back we go into history, the broader the definition of leadership needed • The closer to our personal leadership experiences, the greater the need for stipulating context
It depends what you mean by leadership .. • Influence processes • Mobilizing resources to arouse, engage, satisfy the motives of followers • Making sense [of what people are doing] …articulating purpose and values •
Insects, instincts and information • Insects behave primarily through ‘hard-wired’ instincts • Scientists have developed models based on information theory • Insects with valuable resource information can ‘lead’ followers to food, to safety, into battle …
Do insects show creative leadership?
Do birds show leadership?
What leadership behaviours can be seen in other animal families?
Leadership among the primates
Leadership in our closest ancestors • Early hominoids • Hunter gatherers • Agrarian tribalism • Industrial society • Our informational age
Atavistic Prototypes Animal Animal Leaders (non Leaders human) (human) Heroic Leaders Territorial Leaders New Leadership School Pack Trait Leadershi Theories p Collective Style and Leadership Contingenc Thought y leaders Theories
Do we inherit behaviours from concestors? * Insects: Guided foraging, ‘Home’ building Birds, Fish: Flocking, Shoaling, Attraction displays, territorialism Wolves, dogs: Hunting, collaboration, learning through play(?) Horses, elephants: Matriarchal ‘schooling’ for herd conformity (Mature males isolated) Mandrills: Matriarchal large group: (Mature males isolated) Chimpanzees: Complex transactions (grooming, nurturing) provide social stability and status (‘Social capitalists’) (* Selected examples)
Toward a new idea of evolutionary leadership • Leadership today has preserved residual ancient forms sustained mimetically (through leadership myths) • Social and personal development permits transcendence of more primitive instincts (through consciousness and learning) • We become and create ‘the leaders we deserve’
So what? • ‘What’s the use of a baby?’ (Faraday) • Helps explain bullying leaders (Mandrills); Charismatic influence (Peacocks); Anthropomorphism (Termites); Dysfunctional behaviours (Horses); Manipulative behaviours (Chimpanzees)
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... edu/acad/sls/publications/conference_proceedings/servant_leadership_roundtable/2005/pdf/stone_history.pdf REGENT UNIVERSITY The History of Leadership Focus