Can you learn about leadership from watching a video?

A colleague of mine, Mike Myatt, has redesigned the website for his executive coaching firm, and part of that new design includes a collection of videos that Mike and his team have produced. The topics focus on management and leadership, and I must say the ones on leadership are outstanding teaching tools.

Why? Because they connect with the viewers directly and simply. The directness comes from the themes—conviction, courage, and grace. Simplicity emerges from an artful combination of words and graphics, and sometimes film that delivers a single message quickly and concisely.

As Mike told me, "I believe in communicating through a variety of different mediums, video being one of them. Video has evolved to become an exceptional way to tell a story in a short, crisp and entertaining fashion."

My reason for citing Mike, who is a serial entrepreneur as well as a noted CEO coach, is because he has found a way to depict the art of leadership (literally).

Take for example his video on leadership and communication that draws lessons from our founding fathers. Another on courage recalls the commitment of soldiers in battle. And a third on management makes the case for the integration of leadership principles.

Reaction from clients and visitors has been largely positive. "On balance," says Myatt, "video is one of the better forms for engaging people online and it has been well received."

What good leaders do face to face is what Mike has done with these videos. He connects with us as a means imparting his values and his beliefs. And that's the lesson that all leaders need to practice.

A further lesson from these videos is they demonstrate that inspiration can come from any source. It is a matter of tuning your antennae to things that interest you. One of the most effective ways leaders convey messages is through stories, which can also play well on video.  I remember one executive telling me that one boss he had always had a story for everything. More than stories they were parables drawn from his experience. He used them to make his points.

More and more employees are looking to their bosses for inspiration. This is especially true in tough times. People are looking for clarity but also the way forward that leaders can impart. Stories can provide the kind of inspiration because many that leaders tell are ones that depict people overcoming the odds in order to succeed.

Leadership by nature is aspirational, and when leaders can draw examples from their own life or the experiences of others it makes leadership more tangible. People know what to expect from their leaders, but also what they need to do in return.

Leadership is not defined by title; it emerges from commitment to make a difference. And sometimes that moment of insight comes from watching a video.