Some accomplish it with a pen mightier-than-any-sword. Some with eloquent oratory.

For many the tool is as simple as an invitation — how may I help you? Or the offer of a cup of cold water

Some speak volumes with the sheer force of example.

Whatever the methodology, real leaders encourage conversations — around core ideas, fundamental values, consequential agendas, and aspirational vision.

To be sure, if loud enough, any voice may be able to distract for a season. Given the resources, would-be leaders can spin, finesse, obfuscate, and monopolize messaging. But merely storming to the front of a room, grasping the microphone or hovering over a pulpit does not constitute leadership.

In fact, having to announce ones credentials might be indicative of a leadership vacuum.

Real leadership, no matter the venue, is marked by the presence of inclusion, dialogue and a collaborative pursuit of advancement, progress and solution.

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

Real leadership has an authenticity that inspires uncommon vision — to see a bigger picture, to dream of what could be, and to engage in a noble pursuit, wherever it might lead — because we know the pursuit was borne of a selfless commitment to the greater good.