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what is authentic leadership?Is it necessary to have followers to prove leadership?

I am currently doing a research on leadership.I need your thoughts on what do you think is the essence of leadership. How can a passive person become a leader? Any personal experiences will be great.

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    Sep 25 2011: leadership is about being supportive....no, leaders need no followers. there can't be any gap between the true leader and his cause. It's almost similar to the roles of teachers being facilitators and co-discoveres instead of being the know-alls.
  • Sep 25 2011: All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.
  • Sep 26 2011: Thank you all for your responses. Leaders are human after all. They commit mistakes, make bad choices or decisions. DO you still believe such a person ? Can a leader just like a convict, be given a second chance?
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      Sep 26 2011: There is a difference between commiting mistakes and taking decisions which can have far reaching effects.
      To err is human and to that extent all deserve a second chance. But when one takes decisions, one does so after a lot of deliberation. Believing or disbelieving such a person will depend upon the sincerity of his purpose.
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    Sep 26 2011: Leaders may either actually be better informed or merely appear to be better informed. The former is desirable, the latter is a pox upon the planet. But in the modern electronic world, we really don' t need leaders since we have all the data we need at our fingertips. It's a matter of learning new info uptake habits, step out of the entertainment groove and get into problem solving mode. Authentic leadership requires genius, smarts, an encyclopedia for a head and an unending respect for humanity and its potential.
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    Sep 25 2011: There can be a long gap between a leader with a strong vision and the first follower. It takes a person with a strong vision and an unshakable faith to walk those first few miles alone.

    On the other hand there are people which we call leaders today who are simply great rabble rousers (think neoNazis etc)
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      Sep 26 2011: thanx debra. i can see the gap as you explain and agree that one may have to walk the first few miles alone. However, does a true leader allow the gap to remain or does he inspire the lfollowers to an extent where they become leaders in their own right?
      i think each one of us has been endowed with certain leadership qualities and most of us are able to display our skills when/if the situation arises.
      some of us may be more efficient than others but the best solutions come out during the brain storming sessions which confirms that a group or a team can comprise of several leading minds instead of a single entity claiming the credit....
  • Sep 25 2011: I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
    Mohandas Gandhi
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    Sep 25 2011: "How to Win Friends and Influence people" by Dale Carnegie - Timeless classic

    But honestly I think intuition has a lot to do with being a leader. Someone in a position of leadership should be able to think on their feet.

    An ego not too big yet not too small (i.e. a decent size pair of balls). Though that should go without saying.
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    Sep 25 2011: Leadership is about displaying confidence in your choices. A true leader, can admit when they have made a mistake, and be forgiven by those following them.
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    Sep 25 2011: Be very clear about what you believe, stand up for those believes.
    i still say a true leader is not one with most followers but who leads the most to leadership.