The very best moments of leadership have to do with those where the leader acts as an example of what is most desired and aspirational in us. This means that the best leaders demand the most of themselves while engaging others by inspiring and aligning attention and actions. Doing this means that a leader has to have a sense of perspective, the ability to see the greater whole as well as the courage to challenge self as well as others. After all, the quality of the leader is determined by the caliber of the follower-ship engendered in others. Leaders engage active follower-ship by vitalizing attention through bringing life to the collective imagination. Yet, leadership is paradoxical, for example, leaders gain more power as they give more power away to those who are following them. This creates a virtuous cycle of a spiral of increasing power where leader inspires and empowers followers and they in turn give even more support and energy to the leader.
The most effective leaders seize on the strengths and talents of others and leverage those to produce better outcomes. They will see and address significant gaps, of course, but the real power comes from liberating and aligning the energy, abilities and dreams of others. Leadership works at its best when it is aspirational and offers a larger, more enabling perspective to others. To do this well requires a quality and tone of heart that calls to the hearts of those around the leader. This means that leaders are often at their best when they are reframing problems and complaints into opportunities to be seized.