Horace Dediu on his Critical Path podcast:
Leadership is getting people to follow you in a direction they wouldn’t normally go. Leadership is about getting them to follow you in a direction that they actually feel is dangerous. There isn’t a lack of courage, there’s a lack of courage at the right time.
He goes on to express that true leadership includes a consideration for ethics and values as well, so he wouldn’t consider Hitler, for example, a leader, or at least not a good one.
Horace was discussing Microsoft, RIM and Nokia and their failings. He is more asking than telling: are these companies that are being managed or are they being led? As he discusses this, though, I can’t help but think of politics. We have two men running for president, neither of which are distinguishing themselves as leaders. In a time when we desperately need a great leader, our choice comes down to two managers.
Another great quote from Horace’s podcast:
When you need to do it, you are usually in a comfortable position. This is where I think the next highest level of leadership comes when you do the unpopular thing when everything is going well.