This is a thought-provoking hard hitting article basically reinforcing the view with which I agree, that the title “leader” is not something that comes automatically with positional power but is about actions based on values and example.
I sense that the author Joel Peterson who graduated from business school in the 1970s has experienced the best and the worst of “leaders” – the latter being comprised of narcissists, bullies and power players whom he places in a box marked “jerk”. He rightly points out that many of the best leaders have no position in the official hierarchy at all such as community and faith leaders whom he describes as being characterised by the level with which they genuinely care about their “followers” and their capacity for honesty.
This is certainly my experience as a “patient leader” working for a long time with no real legitimacy in the system. I had to form my own notion of leadership to take into account that I had no real power or authority within the system and as such my “leadership” would have to be defined by how I conducted myself and by always bearing in mind the words of Lao Tzu “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”