2011/09/10

On the identification of natural leaders

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"JMA" (I know his real name, but people stick to nicknames at times, even I do) posted a question to me in the SWC blog:

[QUOTE=JMA;125537]In his blog our friend Fuchs has two enteries which connect to this issue:

"Natural", self-organised small units?

Self organization; online gamer clans and Germanic warbands

From the latter I quote:

The model with the best individual warrior being the leader is furthermore inherently inferior to a model which requires the leader to be a good leader. It's reasonable to assume that some evolutionary selection mechanism is at work in the realm of raiding warbands. This raises additional doubts about the standard description of ancient Germanic warbands.


If Fuchs would like to expand on that here in relation to how one can select for leadership prior to exposure in structured training (in peacetime) or in combat (during a war) it would be appreciated.

Personally, I rate my blog higher than a forum where texts of mine will easily get drowned within days, so I decided to reserve the answer for the blog:

My key thesis is that you can spot natural leaders easier by watching people around them than by watching the potential leader himself.

You will not spot them if you put together a group of potential leaders, but if you put them into a normal sample group they might arise into natural leadership, kind of take over the group and lead it (at least in regard to specific problems).
Why not in a group of potential leaders? I experienced that before. They fight for power or at least reject unfounded claims for power or for having the lead voice.

A normal sample group finding its natural leader is quite close to having a squad well-trained and then seeing their only NCO die in battle. Who of the enlisted men -qualified by training as all of them- will take the lead, and be followed?
The German army began to prepare exactly for this before the First World War, and very often accepted such emergency leaders into NCO rank if they did well enough.


Such natural leaders are not necessarily the best decision-makers, but at least they get loyalty much easier than others (who might need the authority and powers given by the institution to lead men). This should result in superior team morale.


S Ortmann
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