We recently looked at the characteristics every superhero team should have. Another thing we could add to that list is strong leadership. The leader of a team is often the one with the most experience and the one willing to make the right decisions. Not only is the leader responsible for the lives of civilians but they are also responsible for the survival of the team.
There are different things needed for an effective leader. A lot depends on the actual team. How a leader is chosen varies. The role of leadership is something that has to be made clear from the beginning. In the midst of a battle, there can't be room for opposing views at crucial moments.
Team members don't always agree. Often the leadership is questioned. This can cause rifts or schisms in the team and affect their functioning. What is the best solution to avoid this? What is the best way for a team to choose its leader?== TEASER ==
If Batman is on the team, there's really no question who should be leading. This is the guy that spends what little free time he has analyzing tactics and scenarios. He has a contingency plan for everyone. He doesn't have any superpowers but he is capable of telling the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman what to do. He can be a little controlling but he is also willing to take orders from others...if it suits his needs, of course.
Because of his sometimes harsh demeanor, Batman might not always be the best choice to lead a team. Not that there's room for coddling the young and inexperienced but Batman sometimes takes a "one strike and you're out and you suck" approach. There could be potentially great up and coming superheroes that could find that a little discouraging. But when it comes to the lives of others, there really isn't time to hold someone's had to get them to do the right thing.
The Avengers used to have a chairperson lead the team. They would rotate the leader so that it wasn't always the same person. In other words, it was a way for someone besides Captain America to lead the team all the time. This could be good since it allows others to bear the burden of leadership. Having an elected leader shows there is some unity and agreement over who is best suited.
The problem with this is it may not necessarily lead to the absolute best leader. What if one power-hungry member rallied some of the others to 'vote' for him or her? Not everyone wants to be the leader. Captain America has even stated that it was never his intention to be a leader or a symbol. He just wanted to serve his country. Some heroes are content with taking orders and being told where to go and who to hit.
If an ambitious but ill-suited member convinced others to vote in their favor, it pretty much questions the whole process and the intelligence of the team. Basically if there is a member that would be horrible at being the leader, it shouldn't be possible for that member to become the leader and their place on the team could even be questioned.
What if leadership is taken by force? Should there be a battle between candidates to see who is the best or toughest? A team shouldn't be subjected to having the same leader forever. There may come a time when the leader becomes unworthy of leading. Voting may not always bring the best results so it could be best for the likely candidates to square off against each other to see who has what it takes to be the leader.
Then again, there's the possibility a leader could be on a team that would have members challenging the role of leadership on a weekly or daily basis. That could cause problems in trying to actually get something done like saving innocents.
Respect is a key to being a successful leader. A lack of respect leads to the cases above where other members think they could do the job better. In some case they might be able to. In most cases, they can't. A lack of believing in your leader weakens the integrity of the team. They will not be able to accomplish their missions or goals if everyone is not on the same page. Unless membership was somehow mandatory, if a member doesn't agree with the team and doesn't want to play by the rules established, they should simply leave. They could try joining another team or organization or even try going solo.
Hawkeye wasn't thrilled with the way things were going in the Avengers so he started the West Coast Avengers. Hal Jordan and Green Arrow didn't agree with the way the Justice League of America was handling the villains so they formed their own team.
This is why you don't see many successful villain teams. When they're on their own, they can be formidable opponents. When they try getting together as a team, they start acting like a bunch of jackasses. They all think they're better than each other and refuse to follow the orders of the most powerful or intelligent villain among them. You take the Sith in Star Wars and they can't even have more than two members or else they try killing each other.
The best way for a team to determine the leader is by who is best qualified. They should have already proven their capabilities in leading the team. Members should accept the leader if they intend to be part of the team. Voting or competition trials could be part of the process if a more civil resolution can't be found. For the foolish hero that thinks they don't need to follow the process and feels they can do better, they have the option of trying to do so on their own. Shaking things up can be good once in a while but not when it's at the expense of the progress of the team. There is no "i" in teamwork but there is "tea." The answer could be as simple as settling things over a nice cup of tea.