If you read the literature about leadership, you’ll notice that it’s weighted towards the idea that leadership sits with people in senior roles. A number of the journal articles that I looked at focussed on individuals either in senior positions or training to take on senior positions.

When you talk about the leaders in your organisation, more often than not, you’ll be talking about senior people who sit on decision making committees. When you talk about leaders in your profession, more often than not you’ll be talking about trail blazers who’ve done something extraordinary.

But, there’s an increasing body of literature that talks about leaders at all levels.

You’ll find it referred to as complexity leadership or complex adaptive systems. This literature says that to think of organisations as being simply led by those at the top misses a lot of what actually happens in organisations. Different people take on leadership roles depending on what the organisation needs at the time.

Dealing with 12 months of COVID has meant that immunologists and infection control professionals have led the charge. If it had been 12 months of rain, we’d have been calling on civil engineers and boat builders.

Where do you think leaders are? The top or everywhere?