The Leader-Follower loop
The circle of 'leader influences follower influences leader' can lead to a merry . the leadership/followership relationship with tango dancers. Demanding Followers, Empowered Leaders: Dance As An “Embodied . follower-relationships, we use the concept of embodied cognition, in the sense that it is. This represents a fundamental truth about the relationship between the leader and follower as understood by the dancers in the Golden Age.
Nevertheless, the key conceptual elements of a coherent and plausible evolutionary theory of leader—follower relations are already in place Price and Van Vugt, in pressand neuroscientists have already begun using evolutionary theories of psychological adaptation to guide their research on social interactions Rilling and Sanfey, Thus, we propose that evolutionary social psychologists and social neuroscientists should begin engaging with each other more on the topic of leader—follower relations, and thinking about ways in which evolutionary approaches to these relations could both inform and be informed by neuroscientific research.
We take this perspective on leader—follower relations, so a key question driving our analysis is: We pay close attention to past evolutionary environments, because any evolved psychological mechanisms that exist today in the minds of modern humans, including those governing leader—follower relationships, could exist only if they functioned adaptively in these environments Tooby and Cosmides, We propose that voluntary leader—follower relationships — that is, interactions in which followers voluntarily follow, and leaders voluntarily lead, because they each perceive some positive incentive to do so — were adaptive in the past for both leaders and followers because they involved mutually beneficial exchange.
Evidence suggests that prestige and dominance are two distinguishably different paths that individuals can take in order to increase their social status Von Rueden et al.
The more equal the social bargaining power of leaders and followers i. However, the greater the bargaining power of leaders relative to followers, the more likely the relationship would have been to transition from being reciprocal and prestige-based to being coercive, exploitative, and dominance-based.
When followers have relatively high relative bargaining power e. In these situations, if leaders attempt to claim high status without offering followers anything in return, or by attempting to dominate and coerce followers, then their would-be followers can simply reject them e.
However, when followers have relatively low bargaining power, leaders will have increased ability to gain and maintain status based on their ability to dominate, rather than benefit, followers.
For example, if followers have low power to exit a group or to strip a leader of his or her high status, then the leader will have little need to offer them benefits, in order to compel them to a stay in the group or b grant the leader high status in exchange for these benefits. Leaders may sometimes perceive dominance, as compared to reciprocity, to be an appealingly cheap and efficient route to high status, as it saves them the costs of having to produce benefits for followers.
We refer to the above theory of how and why leader—follower relationships vary from reciprocity to dominance as service-for-prestige Price and Van Vugt, in press. As noted above, leader—follower relations have evolved in a wide variety of species to allow individuals to share information and coordinate their behavior King et al.
For instance in many taxa, individuals share knowledge in order to lead followers to the locations of food, water, and other resources examples include ravens, elephants, and most famously honeybees, who map out directions to resources via waggle dances ; in many fish species, leader—follower dynamics result in groups shoals and schools that are helpful for avoiding predators and finding food; and among some primates such as chimpanzees, alpha males lead aggressive group actions against enemy groups and predators Boehm, ; Krause and Ruxton, ; King et al.
In the human lineage, just as in other species, leadership probably evolved initially to solve problems related to information sharing and social coordination. However, we propose that eventually, evolution enabled humans to use reciprocity to enhance the benefits of leadership.
Such group movements present coordination problems, however, associated with determining who will lead and who will follow. For example, if Individuals A and B both have an interest in visiting a waterhole together because there is safety in numbersand have several waterholes to choose from, how will they choose which one to visit? There are several ways in which leader—follower dynamics could emerge to solve this problem Van Vugt and Kurzban, For example, imagine that A prefers a particular waterhole but B has no preference, and as a result A moves first to choose the preferred waterhole.
Once A has made this move, B is best off following A, as opposed to making a dangerous solo journey to a waterhole that offers B no additional benefits. Leadership may have evolved in many species to solve coordination problems such as these, when there has been a fitness advantage to the individual in assuming a leadership role Van Vugt, However, what about situations in which the individual is disadvantaged by assuming a leadership role?
Many leadership roles may involve substantial costs to leaders, and individuals may need special incentives to accept these roles. This potential for reciprocity could provide new opportunities for leadership to evolve, such that leader—follower relations could become not just matters of coordination but also matters of exchange. We propose that leader—follower relations evolved as service-for-prestige transactions in contexts such as these, to enable leadership behaviors that would otherwise have been prohibitively costly.
However, engagement in reciprocity, particularly in the complexly cooperative social environments of human beings, requires specially designed social-cognitive abilities that are uniquely sophisticated in humans Tooby and Cosmides, ; Hammerstein, ; Tooby et al.
Therefore, we propose that service-for-prestige exchange is a crucial aspect of leader—follower dynamics in humans, but not necessarily in any other species. Theoretical Foundations of Service-for-Prestige: Synthesizing Theories of Reciprocity and Collective Action, and Accounting for Evolutionary Mismatch Evolutionary Theories of Reciprocity Human leader—follower relationships are cooperative interactions that occur between people who are not necessarily close genetic kin.
One of our key theoretical tools, therefore, will be the main concept used by evolutionists to explain non-kin cooperation: Reciprocity theories assume that because cooperative individuals incur fitness costs in order to deliver fitness benefits to others, they must receive some return benefit from others as compensation for these costs.
In the absence of such compensation, cooperation will be maladaptive for cooperators and will not evolve. For example, if X pays a cost of size 1 to provide Y with a benefit of size 2, and Y precisely returns the favor, then X and Y will each have paid a cost of 1 and received a benefit 2, and the exchange will be mutually profitable. In order for reciprocity to evolve in direct exchange contexts, cooperators must somehow avoid being exploited by cheaters, for example, by avoiding them altogether, or by neutralizing their advantage via punishment.
If cheaters consistently tend to come out ahead in these interactions, they will eventually exploit cooperators to extinction and cooperation will not evolve Hamilton, ; Trivers, ; Henrich, ; Price and Johnson, Individuals should thus be predisposed to cooperate with reciprocators, and be averse to cooperating with cheaters. This prediction is supported by a large body of evidence from several behavioral science fields Price, a. Reciprocity has long been considered a fundamental attribute of human social systems cross-culturally Gouldner,and it is generally considered to be a universal, species-typical, and highly fitness-relevant human behavior Brown, ; Rilling and Sanfey, The reciprocity theory presented by Trivers primarily describes reciprocity that is direct and dyadic i.
However, extensions of this theory have been used to explain other forms of reciprocity. There have also been attempts to apply reciprocity theory to direct exchanges between one individual and a group of other individuals Boyd and Richerson, ; Price,a ; Tooby et al. Because leader—follower relations often although not exclusively involve interaction between one leader and multiple followers, this kind of reciprocity would seem most relevant to an understanding of leader—follower exchange.
However, it is not widely accepted among evolutionary researchers that direct reciprocity can explain the evolution of cooperation in group contexts such as these Boyd and Richerson, ; Henrich, ; Bowles and Gintis, In the view of these researchers, direct reciprocity can explain the evolution of simple dyadic cooperation, but totally different processes such as cultural group selection are required to explain cooperation in groups.
Our application of reciprocity to these contexts, then, does not represent the consensus view of evolutionary researchers, and important theoretical questions still need to be resolved about precisely how leader—follower exchange could evolve.
Demanding followers, empowered leaders : dance as an “embodied metaphor” for leader-follower-ship
Nevertheless, despite this lack of a theoretical consensus, we agree with previous suggestions Price,a ; Tooby et al. We propose that reciprocity theory provides the most appropriate and predictive evolutionary framework for understanding voluntary human leader—follower interactions, because 1 leaders often incur costs in their efforts to provide benefits for followers, 2 followers often incur costs in order to provide prestige which benefits leaders, 3 in order for each of these costly provisioning behaviors to be adaptive in the ancestral past, both leaders and followers would have needed to recoup these costs somehow, and 4 this recoupment could plausibly have occurred via a process in which leader-produced benefits were exchanged for follower-produced prestige.
Illustrations of why it is often costly for leaders to provide public goods and for followers to provide prestige, and of why prestige entails fitness benefits, are presented below. Service-for-prestige regards leader—follower reciprocity as a collective action problem because many benefits provided by a leader e. The public goods provided by the leader will often be costly to produce, and if increased prestige is what motivates the leader to pay these production costs as service-for-prestige predictsthen followers must succeed in providing the leader with prestige, in order to maintain production of these public goods.
If the prestige allocated to leaders is costly for individual followers to provide, then its allocation will present a collective action problem for followers Price, ; Price and Van Vugt, in press.
The leader-follower dance
To understand why prestige allocation should constitute a collective action problem for followers, it helps to first consider social power more abstractly.
Emerson provides a simple and useful definition of social power when he notes the reciprocal relationship between power and dependence: However, note that these two paths to status will rarely be completely distinct, since traits that lead to prestige can frequently lead to dominance, and vice versa; Henrich and Gil-White, ; Von Rueden et al.
We believe that conceptualizing prestige in this way, and distinguishing it from dominance, are useful means of understanding the different ways in which leaders can acquire status. However, unlike the service-for-prestige theory we present here, Henrich and Gil-White regard prestige as something that is offered in exchange not for public goods but for a private good: In their view, individuals with high levels of expertise are allocated prestige by those who wish to learn from and copy their behavior; by allocating prestige to an expert i.
Although we do agree that prestige allocation may often occur as a way to compensate experts for providing private goods, we suggest that it also often occurs as a way to compensate leaders for providing public goods. If prestige is indeed allocated in exchange for public goods, and if prestige and its behavioral consequences are indeed costly to produce, then it becomes easy to see why the allocation of prestige to leaders will entail a collective action problem. In order for followers to motivate leaders to provide public goods, they must collectively pay the costs of respect.
For example, consider a leader who routinely incurs costs e. His services enable his followers to acquire public goods such as better territory, shared resources, and increased group status. Follower 1 is respectful, and tends to engage in costly acts that benefit the leader e.
Because each follower in this scenario has a personal incentive to free ride, there is the risk that the collective effort will fail to produce sufficient prestige to compensate the leader for the costs of providing public goods.
The leader/follower confusion - Tango Mentor
Just like cheaters in reciprocal exchanges, free riders in collective actions will exploit cooperators to extinction unless their advantages are neutralized Yamagishi, ; Boyd and Richerson, The collective action scenario described here is unusual in that it is a collective action for the purpose of engaging in reciprocity. Collective actions are typically conceptualized as functioning to produce or acquire some shared material resource for example, a group of citizens jointly generating tax revenue, or a group of hunters jointly killing a large game animalbut in this case, the joint effort is focused on producing sufficient prestige to compensate the leader for services rendered.
As a result, Follower 2 above is in the unusual position of simultaneously representing both a cheater in a reciprocal interaction for failing to engage in a service-for-prestige transaction with the leader and a free rider in a collective action for failing to cooperate with fellow followers in collectively producing prestige for the leader. Follower 2 will therefore be a prime target for hostility within the group: We say more about this prediction and related predictions below. Ancient Adaptations in Modern Environments A final key component of service-for-prestige is mismatch theory.
Because psychological adaptations evolved in ancestral environments that may be quite different in certain respects than present environments, we cannot always expect for adaptations to function adaptively in modern societies Tooby and Cosmides, A common example is human gustatory preferences for fats, sugars, and salts.
Because these nutrients were essential but difficult to acquire in ancestral environments, people have apparently evolved to be strongly motivated to consume them. These motivations may function maladaptively in environments where these nutrients are easily obtained, by leading to health problems associated with over-consumption Nesse and Williams, Some aspects of leader—follower relations may represent mismatches with modern environments Van Vugt et al.
Leader—Follower Relations in the Human Evolutionary Past Before we focus on service-for-prestige in modern contexts, we will examine how leadership and followership operated in small-scale i. The available evidence suggests that leadership and followership are universal aspects of human nature: Leadership is used in these societies to facilitate cooperation in activities such as warfare, forging political alliances, maintaining within-group order, big game hunting, and moving camp Service, ; Johnson and Earle,all of which are vital to the success, status, and fitness of individuals living in groups.
Ethnographic accounts of leaders in these domains generally describe the leaders as men, rather than women Service, ; Johnson and Earle, However, although women only rarely hold the most directly influential political positions in small-scale societies, they commonly lead in more indirect ways by exerting substantial influence on political affairs Low, ; Yanca and Low, ; Bowser and Patton, A common observation about leadership in small-scale societies is that it tends to be informal and based on achievement Fried, ; Kelly, Compared to leaders in industrialized societies, these leaders have little power to force others to do what they say.
This is especially true in nomadic hunter-gatherer societies, which, compared to sedentary small-scale societies, involve smaller group sizes and lower population densities. There are usually no formal leadership offices or duties in nomadic hunter-gatherer societies, and leaders tend to lead by persuasion and demonstrations of their expertise and ability to benefit others Service, ; Johnson and Earle, Nomadic hunter-gatherers rarely recognize anyone as a formal headman and tend to express low tolerance for domineering leaders Service, ; Turnbull, ; Lee, Small-scale societies also tend to recognize different leaders in different domains cf.
Although they might look like an acceptable terminology, in my opinion they are misleading. In this post I will give you my top four reasons why. This might be a bit controversial topic, since not all teachers agree with me. Anyway, I see as part of my duties to write about it.
You, as my reader will decide am I right. I already wrote about why a man should follow the woman and why the woman should follow the man — but here I put my point in a different perspective. As an addition to this, the third and fourth reasons are about the nature of their joint effort to achieve a perfect connection and enjoyment. Because the woman leads the emotion — Tango is an emotional experience.
Both, men and women, can enjoy the emotions in the dance equally, but they do not contribute to creating this emotions in the same way. Man can lead the emotion, of course, but in the same time, he has many other things to do as well — the choreography, the navigation in the space, the musicality of the movements etc.
The woman in tango has a little different priorities list. First or very high on her list will be the emotion. She will focus on how she feels, how the partners makes her feel, how the music makes her feel, how the embrace makes her heart ticking. In a sense, you can say that the melody is the feminine and the rhythm is the masculine aspect of the tango music.
She will also focus on the communication, because without that she will not be able to receive the emotion, from the partner or from the dance itself. She opens the channels to receive informations in order for the dance to happen, but more important — she will do it because it feels good. If the good emotion stops, the channels will be closed. This makes the dance hard and uncomfortable. The conclusion is that most of the things the woman does in the dance depends on how she feels about them.
Woman in tango is not a receiver of the emotion, she is, rather, the creator, the active element — she gives the color to all that the couple does. She leads the emotion. Because the man follows her heart and body — On the other hand, the mans part of the equation is receiving and nurturing that emotion.
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- The Leader-Follower loop
All the man does in the dance is to win her heart. The tango in its core is a game of seduction and it follows a similar rules as any other game of seduction. Check out my post about how the tango is a game of seduction. The dark side of tango Historically, tango was created by men who wanted to win a heart of the woman. Buenos Aires in the beginning of 20 century was overpopulated by young men, poor and lonely.
Some say that there was just one woman for every 10 men. They had only two ways to get a woman in their life: Those historical circumstances shaped the way the tango is danced — they defined what will be the masculine and the feminine role.
Check more about this in the reason number 4. Having all this in mind, the man in tango has limited options what and why he should do — and non of them is connected with leading.
Of course, I am talking here about a good dancing — man can of course ignore what and how she feels, but then he should expect her to close emotionally. Guys, to dance tango, you must listen to the heart of the woman. If woman in tango makes mistake, the role of the good male dancer is to follow and cover her mistakes, so she even do not notice that she makes them.