What is lacking in leadership today? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Aaron Webber, CEO, investor, and learner of leadership, on Quora:

I want to focus on one thing:


The challenge with so many books and monologues in regards to "leadership" is that they send all sorts of conflicting and mixed signals to people on the subject.

As I have stated numerous times previously, leadership is genuine and it springs from the gut. It's about who we are and what we're becoming or have become, rather than how most people treat it, as something you put on situationally.

A situation arises, we assess it, we look at it, and we think, "Time for me to put on my leadership hat." We then "do leadership" and take that hat off.

I'm sorry, but that's not leadership. That's some tactical strategy that we employ for the moment. That isn't true leadership. True leadership springs from who we are. A life's work is becoming that -- historically, effort and work in the field in which we are leading. The "deposits," as Steven Covey would say, in the emotional bank accounts of people, to enable us to lead when times get tough--sometimes having to make a withdrawal from that emotional bank account.

Leadership is real. It's not something you put on or take off. It's about who you are. It is about a culmination of the things you've done, both good and bad, positive and negative, that enable you to lay claim on others' agency. It enables you to extract from them something that maybe they weren't willing to offer initially; to extract from them their follower-ship because they have confidence in you, who you are, where you're going, and what you're about.

That is what's lacking in leadership today. It's not a quick-fix, "put on and take off" type of thing. It is real and genuine. For example, I'm never going to follow someone I haven't built up trust or confidence with, or put runs on the board with, or they with me over time. Why would I? It's too risky of a proposition. Someone who is this today and that tomorrow, or circles into my life like Halley's comet, and I'm supposed to follow them? I don't think so. I'm going to follow someone who is consistent, genuine, good at their craft, and who can take me where it is I need to go, even if I don't think I'm capable of going there. I'm going to put my trust, my faith, and my confidence in them.

That's what's lacking in leadership today. You get that, or become that, and you're in a very, very good place.

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