Assigned Versus Emergent Leadership

Assigned Versus Emergent Leadership
Some people are leaders because of their formal position in an organization, whereas others are leaders because of the way other group members respond to them. These two common forms of leadership are called assigned leadership and emergent leadership.
Leadership that is based on occupying a position in an organization is assigned leadership. Team leaders, managers, department heads, directors, and administrators are all examples of assigned leadership. Person assigned to a leadership position does not always become the real leader in a particular setting.
When others perceive an individual as the most influential member of a group or an organization, regardless of the individual’s title, the person is exhibiting emergent leadership. This type of leadership is not assigned by position; rather, it emerges over a period through communication.
Some of the positive communication behaviors that account for successful leader emergence include being verbally involved, being informed, seeking others’ opinions, and initiating new ideas. In addition to communication behaviors, researchers have found that personality plays a role in leadership emergence.

Source: Leadership: theory and practice/ Peter G. Northouse – 6th edition 2013

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