Leadership is more than followership.
It is said that without followers there can be no leaders and therefore no leadership, and as we cannot force people to follow, the first acid test of leadership is our ability to cultivate followers. That would be true and it is a test that will separate true leaders from would be leaders.
However the ability to cultivate followers, challenging though that may be, only grants access to the first rung of the leadership ladder.
Robin Sharma would argue that the true goal of a leader is to grow other leaders and I would agree that the mark of a great leader is the number of leaders who become leaders as a result of his, or her, leadership.
But the highest test of leadership and the top rung on the leadership ladder belongs to those who have the ability to lead leaders.
We know that leaders are cut from a different cloth, leaders are rare, they are motivated, principled, harder to keep, more difficult to satisfy, more mercurial, and more spirited than followers. The person who has the challenge of leading leaders really does have a big task.
To be able to lead leaders is the art and science of leadership performed to an altogether higher level. That is why exponents of the art are so few and far between. To be able to inspire and influence those who would inspire and influence others is a huge task.
It is another step change in a leaders progression, and one that will cause many to falter and fail.
Often the blunt and crude techniques that work in leading followers are completely inappropriate, compared to the sharp and fine techniques needed to lead leaders and so very often the head of an enterprise can become stuck by his ability to lead leaders.
The success of any enterprise depends upon the calibre of people in the business and if the leader is limited to the calibre of the people he can employ because of his inability to lead the highest calibre, the business can become becalmed by the lack of human talent it can successfully attract and lead