Some accomplish it with the pen (“mightier than the sword…”). Some with poetic eloquence. Others, by way of a simple invitation.

Some by the sheer force of their example.

Whatever the methodology, real leaders encourage conversations around core ideas, agendas and solutions.

A loud voice can distract for a season. Given the resources, would-be leaders can spin, finesse, produce and monopolize a conversation with one-sided messaging. But merely moving to the front of the room, possessing the microphone or owning the pulpit does not constitute leadership.

In fact, having to announce that one is “in charge” might be indicative of a leadership vacuum.

Real leadership, in any venue, brings perspective, dialogue and collaboration in measure equal to or greater than individual conviction.

And while the dialogue may be disconcerting at times, the progress of a team, an enterprise or any diverse community depends on the honest dialogue and collaborative spirit that leads to the identification of common ground. Perhaps even shared experiences and unifying aspirations.

In search of leadership that will make a difference? Don’t be seduced by charisma. Find someone unafraid of the tough conversations, skilled as a listener, and relentless in the pursuit of dialogue.