Typically, leadership is exercised by people in positions of official power. In a business firm, for example, we expect that the managers will exercise leadership over their subordinates and that they will, in turn, be led by those above them. Roving leadership is not like that. Roving leadership does not depend on the people who have the titles that grant them the “right” to lead. Instead, roving leadership is something that takes place spontaneously. Roving leadership can be defined as leadership that is exercised on an ad hoc basis by people who have no official title that gives them the right to lead.
An example of this could be a team that has been assigned to complete some task at a firm. The team does not have an official leader. Let us imagine that an issue comes up and one member of the team simply takes leadership and gets the team to address the issue. This is an example of roving leadership. We can imagine that the team might face another crisis and someone else whose skills and attitudes are relevant to that situation might take leadership. This would be roving leadership because different leaders would simply take action when they see that it is necessary, regardless of whether they are officially entitled to do so.