There are many ways to explain what it is to be a “leader.”
The fact is, there is way too much “talking" and not enough “doing.”
Below is an example I gave my students in my HR Management class a few months ago:
Let’s say a building represents a company and your position in the building is relative to your job title in that company. If you are on the first floor you are in an entry-level position with the company and sit in a cubicle. Your position requires a lot of technical expertise and revolves around policies and procedures. If you look outside your window you can only see across the street. You would like to know what’s beyond the street but because you work on the first floor the street is all you can see. As you move up in your career you move up in the building. When you look out the window you can now see beyond the street to the other side of the smaller buildings. The higher up you go, the more you can see in the horizon. When you get to the top floor you are in an office where you can see a level of the horizon that other floors can’t. Your job as the leader is to clearly communicate to the person in the first floor how their job affects the goal in the horizon, although they themselves cannot see it.
The higher up you go the less technical you have to be and the more influential you have to become.
If the people on the first floor follow you to something they can’t see but believe it's there, then you’ve done your job:)