I just finished read a wonderful article in the American Psychologist called Leaders, Followership, and Evolution, by Mark Van Vugt and his colleagues. You can get a pdf from Van Gut's website here. They take an evolutionary perspective, showing -- among other things -- that leaders in the groups that we evolved from led small face to face groups, which (my interpretation) may help explain why leaders of large organizations fail so often -- it isn't something that humans as a species have much experience doing. The authors also make a compelling case that people who rose to leadership positions in such groups did so because of their ability to serve the needs of followers rather than their ability to intimidate and bully. Along related lines, they point out that another implication of an evolutionary perspective,is that people who study leaders typically devote too much attention to leaders and not enough to followers.
I especially like this quote from page 190, which they show is bolstered by quite a bit of research on leadership in modern organizations:
“[G]ood leaders should be perceived as both competent and benevolent because followers want leaders who can acquire resources and then are willing to share them.”
This post just scratches the surface. This is a carefully researched and unusually creative piece on leadership. If you are interested, I suggest diving in deeper.