This misunderstood relationship gets often mixed up with the dominance relationship. The social cohesion gets claimed when a coordinated direction or activity change shall proceed. Somebody has to decide when, where and at what pace to go. The lead in this case is independent of the rank in the pack.
Leaders are such, that are, due to their knowledge and experience or their exceptional calmness and decision-making, capable of leading a group in a coordinated manner to reach a common advantage.
When wolves are wandering, almost never the alpha couple is up front. At least as long as they are in a known area, there are always some lower ranking young wolves ahead, while the highest-ranking wolves stay in the centre together with their “royal household”. Only in unknown areas it occurs that the highest-ranking wolves take over the leadership. When they are hunting, the tracking specialists are in front, anyway.
The leaders do not care if the pack is following, but the pack cares if the leaders depart.
When you open the door and your dog walks out, does he run away or does he stop, look for you, even perhaps come back inside?
So when one believes to be a leader by walking through the door first, but does not know what to do while walking the dog, this person is not a leader. Do not always walk the same, boring way without offering interesting variety. Do not be on the phone, do some sniffer games, some fun obedience, some forest agility.
If you and your dog have a healthy relationship – even a bond – you can change directions without informing him, or hide, he will always pay attention, follow, and search for you.