This was in the early seventies, when people tried to learn about groups and solve problems together and in relation to each other. Different kinds of groupretreat was very popular. And the following are some experiences from such a retreat.
It was on a two-year staff training together for some professionals worked at the psychiatric hospital. A group of people stayed at a rural conference centre, by the sea and was doing some group training. They had maybe worked with the group processes in 1-2 days or so, and were quite involved. Suddenly, in the midst of the work with the group, they where approached from behind the sofa. It was one of the group leaders who were hiding behind the couch and was quite so drunk, but who still wanted to come up with a post in the discussion. It felt a bit odd and unusual but it was quite meaningful, since it pedagogically managed to put it into their group context. This group leader's philosophy was "the self-governing group", the group leader was consistently anti-authoritative and tried to live as he taught. The lead role was discussed and challenged systematically and consistently; the group discussed about our fantasies in relation to 'leader' and 'parent', and that they must find the leader within themselves, instead of this search for someone who will take care of them; to find a single authorisation and so on.
But then he disappeared – the leader – suddenly out of the night and was gone while the group worked on. After a good while, a guy who lived near back with him, commissions him by the hand. That guy worked for Rank Xerox, a quirky guy, a rightwing type; he had a slightly humorous approach to this strange situation.
This Rank Xerox guy had never experienced this kind of group previously, so it must have been very strange for him. So, when he comes in and says, "Is this your group leader?", erupted great hilarity, as it seemed like confirmation of the problems the group worked with; the members were quite cherry and easy suggestible after a few days of "groupwork". The guy stayed behind and settled and then participated with life and desire in continuing the discussion. The discussion would be about it here with "a leader, what is it?". It can of course problematized. It need not be so as to which leader is sober and has control over everything, but might as well be leaving out the check, the group thought. The leader projected as our need to have a 'parent' to 'take care of' the group. It's the groups inner need of someone who can lead them...