Self-organizing groups are—themselves—leaders. They are different—new to many of us—and the people within them, and close to them, notice. One difference is that everybody within the group is a leader and a follower. Also, many nearby others and observers of the group are also leaders—especially those who decide to slow down and pay attention to the group because they notice that it’s different. Certainly those nearby others who decide to help the group, share what they’re witnessing with others, and join it are leaders. My own experience is that from within my own first self-aware self-organizing group, I first began to notice that leadership was everywhere around me. Today, I experience this within every self-organizing group I’m part of. I see leadership everywhere. These groups have changed me. I can’t go back to distrust, to micromanaging, and to trying to do everything myself and exhausing myself in the process. Not that I’d ever want to.

Here are some examples from the April 2011 Seattle Glee flash mob I was a member of…

Several weeks later, what Daniel and I still remember from among the many things the choreographers shouted to the group…

“Whoa! Fail! Epic fail! [collective laughter] Seriously, though, you know you can’t fail here, right? We all won just by showing up. You hauled yourself out of bed early in the morning on a Sunday to rehearse in the rain. If you’re here, you can’t fail. You’re here. You win!”

“Now for this part we need to take our diva glitter out of our pockets and sprinkle it over our heads! Go ahead. Sprinkle your glitter. [pause] See? Poof! Instant DIVA!”

“Dance! The people who’d make fun of you don’t matter. They aren’t here. These are your people. We’re making fools of ourselves together! So dance like you’re in your living room and sing like you’re in the shower!”

“Make good choices, people, make good choices!” [collective laughter] [this line shows up, repeatedly, and is spoken in a silly, teasing listen-to-your-mommy type voice]

Group members, in person, at the mobs themselves…


“Oh my God, did you see that?! Wow!”

“Wow! Amazing! That was awesome!!”

Via YouTube. FYI, the following comments, and many others, can be found after a video of the mob performance here ( There are more examples of leadership that happen within flash mobs than I can describe. So here are a few categories, and example comments, that demonstrate leadership happening everywhere within the April 2011 Seattle Glee flash mob.

Group observers/nearby others bravely sharing emotion

“i’m crying… this [performance] is so beautiful  i’d love to do something lke that, congratulation guys it was all kinds of awesome  xoxo”

“This is the most emotional video I’ve seen on youtube so far. I watch this again n again n again…GOD! how much I wish I were there!…I love you people, wish you do more like this!…love gLee and all gLeeks:)”

“I agree….I get emotional every time I watch this. The power music has to bring people together is amazing. LOVE IT. ♥”

Flash mobbers answering questions of nearby others without needing a “leader’s” approval and in a timely manner


“I live in renton why didn’t I hear of this?”

Same-day answer:

“Sign up on the emailing list at mob the world dot com, and you will in the future! ”


“a celebration of youth&fitness.:) what if you have 2 left feet?:)”

Two same-day answers:

“…I’m reasonably unfit and not a fan of Glee.however,I’ve starting going to dances at age 40 with bbw clubs in Seattle.funny,I never did dances as a kid:) and I ‘ve done drum circles in non-traditional I could do Glee stuff..but slooooowly.:)”

“I’m an over-50 baby boomer-type reasonably fit person and I was in that mob celebrating my 2 left feet!”

Observers pulling the group’s energy toward themselves

“My english is very Bad, but your flashmob is Great!!! I Hope that i can See this flashmob in Berlin Germany :D”

“come to long island. NOW. please?”

“AMAZING!! kiss from Italy”

“Well-done, Seattle!  Now, come to Birmingham.”

Observers providing feedback and support to the group

“So cool to finally see an official version of this ! I’ve been addicted to watching ilovelaketapps version which is STILL awesome and a different perspective. It’s cool to have both pro-versions and bystander versions.”

“Seriously — I think you guys should get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This video made me extremely emotional. Thanks for proving that “mob mentality” can be used for the forces of good!”

“When I feel funky – I watch this and I smile…”

“Pure, fun and beautiful dancing in the street. Those kids at the beginnig…speachless. And THE GAGA, LOL : ))))))) This made my day a nicer day…”

“Note to self: Add “Participate in a Glee Flash Mob” to my Bucket List.  AMAZING job you guys!! ♥”

“I’ve watched this about seven times’s my new “happy place” video.”

“If this video ever gets any dislikes, it’s from people that don’t have a soul. So much joy, and winning in a span of 7 minutes!!!”

“flash Mobs make the world a better place. A+”

Group members drawing others to the group

“Oh, that was so much fun… I loved practicing on my own and then having us come all together. It was great. I’ll be there next year too. Come join us!”

“I feel like a sap, but this literally put a big smile on my face and tears to my eyes. This was an amazing experience and I’m so glad to have participated. This video just makes me relive that day all over again. And I’m in the video a lot!”

Group members giving advice to, supporting, and teasing each other

“This was so much fun! Next year I am wearing bright colors so I can find myself!”

“Great job, Bobby, on the video!”

 “This was SO much fun!!!! Thank you Bobby, Beth, and Egan – and everyone else who made this such a WONDERFUL occasion!”

“I agree with the guy who was interviewed…this should never end…NEVER!!! SO happy to have been a part of this. Great Choreography guys!!!”

“This is the best ever Mob video. We were in the back and couldn’t see those very cool little dancers of the future. A team and B team look so super. Thanks Egin, Beth Bobby and the whole team for a great day that we can relive when the rain gets us down. :)”

Observer response: “You guys are INCREDIBLE! Exactly a year later AND many of the same clothes even! It’s the little things :)”

Group member’s teasing response: “Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby Bonsey’s closet was full of nothing but red pants and red hoodies. >.<”

I think we’ve found another indicator of self-organizing groups. In any moment when you feel like a leader—and you can see leadership in all directions around you—you are within your self-organizing group.

The famous red outfit of one of our many fearless leaders