New context, new style
In the 1920’s, leadership was a character trait, a personality. A true leader, who leads because they are a leader, because their followers see them as a leader. A leader was an entrepreneur, someone who pushed business forward. Personal dominance was what characterized the leader from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.
This supposition continued up until the 1970’s when interpersonal influence became more important than the personality of the leader themself. People like Bill Gates, JFK, and Ghandi exemplified the theory of positive leadership and brought it to the foreground. This change did not mean that the “old”, traditional style of leadership was not sufficient but that the context within the business world was changing. A new business context demands a new style of leadership, something we can also see at the start of the new millennium.
In the early 2000’s the theory of shared leadership came to be. The context in which this theory emerged, can be described as VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex, more ambiguous. The context is variable and so we cannot completely rely on traditional principles. Shared leadership is based on a relational dialogue. This means that there is not a single person who is in control all the time but that the position of leadership is adjusted according to the situation.