Our kids went to a K-8 elementary with looped classrooms, 2nd and 3rd grades paired, then 4th and 5th, and 6th, 7th, 8th. It was brilliant. The community built a system that expected leadership. Each year the expectation was set that the students would both lead and follow and good leaders understood when to lead and when to follow.
Sure, some people are born with the propensity to lead, to see the way quickly and can articulate how a team will get there. Leading is a verb, an action, and something people can learn to do. It isn't static, and good leaders are constantly shifting proactively as the environment changes. They determine whether it is time to take the reins or follow someone else's lead. To follow isn't a cope out, it isn't fatalistic, and it isn't a way to give up. Consider a horse and rider. Although the rider has the reins, the horse has power, has direction and vision. At anytime they can take the reins, and the rider understands this. They are a pair, a team, and must work together to be successful.
Too often leadership is paired with roles and titles and people use position as power instead of an opportunity to partner. Leadership, when practiced, will feel like breathing. It is natural and embedded in every decision. Organizations who expect each employee to lead like they breathe and invest in leadership skills will see initiative, ownership, and pride increase. The Herman group reports 75% of people leave a bad boss, not a bad job. When we lead like we breathe, we create partnerships and an atmosphere of respect. We create a system that expects leadership at all levels, and not just some. We create brilliance.