I believe that, fundamentally, leaders have followers. This can be on the technical or management side. Technical leaders may not mentor directly, but their innovation and wisdom is passed down through implementation or documentation. Managers are typically more direct through interaction or through their policy.
I believe good leaders create a “gravity” that pulls people to them, their ideas or their policies… IMO, some thoughts:
• Successful leaders are in front of others pulling and challenging them to advance. They need to remain close enough (relevant not necessarily proximity) to create influence (gravitational pull). Those who are too distant can be discouraging or have little impact. Those that are consistently too close (micro) can overwhelm the individual’s unique, separate and growing contribution.
• Successful leaders create a cascade of leaders. Behind them are leaders pulling others up. This chain effect allows a leader to scale, to influence a greater number of people at various levels.
• Successful leaders will not be afraid of creating a gravitational pull that will eventually slingshot some of their followers to an orbit higher than them. In fact, such leaders should encourage this and be encouraged when this happens. Great leaders look for these opportunities to invest in others and then celebrate their success.