someone with the authority to affect the conduct of others; who have the responsibility of leading

A leader is somebody whom people follow. A leader has authority. For people to accept a leader, his or her leadership must therefore be legitimate.

A gaggle of geese following leader (parent, here)

Because people follow a leader, the leader can make people do things. A leader can therefore make people work together towards a common goal.[1]

An example of a leader is the head of government of a country. People within the government follow the leader, and citizens look to the head of government for inspiration and guidance. Sometimes, when a head of government lacks legitimacy, people will stop following him or her. The head of government is therefore no longer able to lead properly. This may result in a new election, or in worst case civil war.

A group with no leader is called leaderless.

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  1. Edwin A. Locke, The Essence of Leadership: The Four Keys to Leading Successfully (New York: Lexington Books; Toronto: Maxwell Macmillan Canada; New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1991), p. 2

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