(ME. leder; a leader, from laedan, to lead). The director, chief, or head of a political party, parliamentary faction, social group, or other collectivity. The person or team that is ahead of the competition in a sporting event. This term has been extended to the political sphere and to the sociology of sports. In social psychology it is observed that in each small group a natural or informal l. emerges whom others follow or imitate voluntarily, without any juridical procedure to formalize this quality and relationship. The charismatic l. enjoys legitimacy, or better, emotional and rational recognition by other persons of his or her leadership. This legitimacy can be acquired and lost swiftly through accidental circumstances.