A friend, Alex, responded to my last posting: 'When you say leadership sometimes emerges unexpectedly, it also makes me wonder if it isn't always recognised at the time but is construed as leadership after the event, particularly by the follower more than the leader.
In other words, as a follower I am the only one who can legitimately apply the label leadership to what I experienced in my own psychological processes as a result of what you the leader did, how you were, what happened between us. Otherwise, if you the leader use the term leadership, all you can apply to it is a set of behaviours or competencies which may not have landed with me as leadership.'
That strikes me as incredibly profound and provoked fresh thoughts in my own mind too. I've noticed how sometimes an idea or question that emerges through conversation can begin to exercise its own leadership-like qualities, drawing the conversation forward in a way that feels almost independent of the people involved. Weird, strange - and deep.