In any organisation, the term leader is used but after much reflection on this area, is this the correct term to use when we discuss leadership? To be a leader suggests that you have followers. That somehow you are at the front while others continue to walk the path you have set out in your travels. I know many would stop the post here and suggest this is a ludicrous thought but the more I reflect on it the more I question the term “leader”. In 1990, Bass wrote that “leadership is a relationship with social influence in a group setting.” He suggested that “leadership occurs when “one group member modifies the motivation or competencies of others in the group”. This relational definition does not, in my opinion, suggest to lead or be a leader , and so I ask again, is it the right term to use? Lindberg and Oloffson claimed that leaders operate from a values set which they use to influence the thoughts and actions of others”. This does not arguably equate to leading others but influencing others. So if I believe that leader is not the right term, then what is the right term? Can I suggest “Influencer or 4 M-er (Meaningful Moderator, Motivator and Modifier) or Social Effect Agent or Authentic Relationship Developer (Finlay, 2014) perhaps?
Duignan (2008) argued that leadership is, essentially, an influencing process because effective leaders have the capability to
influence self, others and each other in order to attain worthwhile and agreed goals; engage in meaningful, authentic relationships to generate and live a shared vision; and elevate the spirit and commitment of colleagues through actions and interactions that are ethical, moral and compassionate. (p.3)
A Social Effect Agent does not appeal so much to many, I am guessing, as it sounds like an experimental spy term or a social experiment compound. Nor does 4 M-er as a write up on anyone’s Curriculum Vitae as their current position held in an organisation but whatever term we come up, should we not question the term leader and open it up for more discussions?