Social
Network Analysis

 

A network view of leadership

Steve Borgatti
Carroll School of Management, Boston College

 


Introduction

Leadership is about the heart, not the mind. People follow leaders because it makes them feel connected -- part of something bigger than they are. In discussing religion, Freud referred to the "oceanic" feeling that religion provided. Leadership is the same way (indeed, it is the same thing as religion).

What leaders do is create groups out of individuals. They are most effective in accomplishing this when their followers are recruited by existing "members". As a result, a leader is the center of a network clique.

Leadership includes the ability get things down, much like power, but it is not about getting people to do things against their will. Instead, leadership works by motivating people to want to do what needs to be done.

Unlike power-brokers, a leader is only successful to the extent that his followers are successful. As a result, leaders empower followers and create decentralized systems.

Contrast with Power

 

Leadership is an exchange.

 

Conclusion

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