ept of leadership from the perspective of leader-follower exchange theory is that followers follow because they get something from being followers and leaders provide some value that benefits followers. Followers respond in ways that benefit the leader. Current approach has a few dimensions that shape the concept of leader and leadership.
Leaders provide vision and direction to their followers. They provide answers to the questions, “Where are we going? What are our objectives? What are we trying to achieve?” In some cases these objectives are modest and concrete, but in others the vision is quite grand. Some authors (Collins & Porras, 1994) have described the vision as a BHAG, a “big, hairy, audacious, goal. ” It is a vision that says we are here to do more than meet our numbers or to pass the next inspection. We are here, in this group or organization, for a far grander purpose. So the vision not only provides a sense of direction, it can also provide “meaning, ” or an answer to the question, “Why are we here?”
A second benefit that a leader can provide is security and protection for followers. This is an important function in military contexts and also in corporate and political domains. In extreme cases leaders can place themselves in harms way to protect followers. Less extreme versions of this type of behavior can be seen when executives put their own careers in jeopardy to argue against laying off subordinates, or when political leaders take risks to protect the interests of their constituencies. In hostile environments, be they military or economic, leaders place their personal wellbeing at risk to shield their followers.
Through the completion of group or organizational tasks, leaders allow their followers to achieve goals that would be difficult or impossible to achieve by one person alone or by a group without the leader. The need to be effective is one of the frequently overlooked human motives. There are many goals that can only be