Leadership vs. Despotism
Ted discusses different styles of leading open source projects, and rightly points out that many such projects have an apparent despot:Ted Leung on the air : Open Source leadership:
"The term 'despot' (or to use the Python community's label, 'Benevolent Dictator For Life') inserts a lot of unhelpful color into this particular discussion. It is very rare to find a human endeavor in which no one displays that quality known as leadership."
Is Linus a despot? No, for 3 reasons 1) he seems to work with other people and only occasionally wields the big decision stick (and even then with justification) 2) as Ted points out people can leave as individuals and 3) the tam can effectively depose the despot if the act together.
The important point to me is how limited "positional" power is in corporate e situations too - sure employees are more locked-in but in a reasonably "liquid" job market managers should be leaders too.