Leadership is:
  • courage in the face of frightening things
  • the ability to articulate the importance of important things
  • the ability to convey your excitement for exciting things

You need all three to be much of a leader.
You can be a good leader and a bad manager. If you can’t be a good manager, you’ll have to be a good leader. If you can’t be a good leader, you’ll have to be an awfully good manager.
Leadership is important, because with leadership, you can get a bunch of people to work towards a common objective. Even if the common objective isn’t well-chosen, this situation will turn out better than everyone pursuing a different goal. So leadership ability is heavily rewarded in business.
To an extent, leadership is trainable. Courage may not be trainable, but you can at least learn to use all the courage you have. With practice, you can improve your ability to convey your excitement somewhat. With practice, you will get much better at explaining why something is important.
Leadership is not the same thing as charisma. Charisma is the knack for making people like and support you, in the absence of reasons for doing so. Leadership is the knack for making people like and support the plan, usually with the aid of enthusiastic yet careful explanation of the reasons for doing so. Many people think they can’t become good leaders because they aren’t charismatic. But charisma is over-rated. Many leaders have little charisma, and there is some evidence that charisma is actually detrimental to management ability. In any case, getting people to like you isn’t nearly as important as getting them to enthusiastically do what must be done. Charismatic leadership is indispensable to cults, but it’s optional otherwise, and often not the best option.

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