Guide to Learning Leadership, incl. Free Tutorials • Discoverology
27 items | 244m read

Ultimate Guide To Learning Leadership

7m read | Introduction
Ultimate Guide To Learning Leadership

Leadership is a complex topic because there are so many ways in which an individual can lead others. Throughout history, we’ve seen inspirational leaders, and some that caused more harm than good, but what exactly is leadership?

Type the words into Google and you’ll see this description: The action of leading a group or organization. This mere concept doesn’t explore the complexity of leadership and the personality traits one must have to become a leader.

The Traits of a Leader

With so many definitions of leadership, it’s clear we all have varying views on what makes a good leader. However, there are certain character traits that go towards leading others effectively.


When we’re self-aware, we understand how our behavior affects others and can maintain professional and personal boundaries. This is important when leading others because people respond to respect. There’s a difference between a leader and dictator, which we’ll go into later, but people with leadership qualities note their surroundings.


Confidence is one of the most important personality traits an individual can have. It makes us more attractive to others, improves our assertiveness and enables us to make decisions. An individual without confidence will never be a leader, but a follower.


We define empathy as understanding the feelings of others and being able to put yourself in someone else’s place. In fact, those who don’t possess this vital skill can be powerful leaders, but only through fear. If you want to succeed as a leader, then empathy is essential.


Imagine having a group of people at your command, and you’ll see why power goes to some peoples heads. A famous experiment by Dr.Zimbardo once showed that when people are in a position of power, they often forget to treat others as human beings. However, power in most cases in subjective to whether people want to follow you.

These are just some personality traits great leaders possess, and how such characteristics have shaped societies. Let’s look back at some of the best and worst leaders society has ever seen.

Leadership In History

Human beings are born to be social creatures and we have a natural hierarchy. Leaders aren’t just King’s, Queens and Politicians, as history has shown us. In fact, some of the greatest leaders have been at the bottom of the sociological hierarchy and risen through the respect of others. Martin Luther King was an African American man who lead his people to equality, although the country was segregated. Other infamous leaders include Joan of Arc and Gandhi.

The Evolution of Leadership Studies

People have been interested in leadership for centuries, but it became a topic of study in the 20th Century. Since then, many theories have been developed and leadership continues to fascinate people. While there are far too many to cover, here are some of the most popular theories.

Leaders We Can Learn From

Some leaders teach us that power should never go to your head. Two classic examples include Adolph Hitler and Cambodian leader Pol Pot, who is responsible for the countries genocide. There are some wonderful examples of strong leaders, who represent how it should be done.

George Washington is the founding father of the United States of America. His vision and commitment to his people meant that centuries later, he’s still regarded for his leadership ability. Winston Churchill is the most famous British Prime Minister and lead the country to success during World War II.

Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi weren’t born into positions of privilege or power. Instead, they had to ensure many hardships before becoming great leaders. What makes them stand out is their dedication to both their countries and the people. Mandela and Gandhi showed true leadership qualities, which is why they rose to prominent positions.

These are just some of the worlds greatest leaders, but history is built upon the endeavors of others and each leader can teach us a lesson.

Becoming a Great Leader

Some people are born with the traits that make them great leaders, but anyone can learn to exhibit these characteristics with some work. Here are some ways you can improve your leadership skills.


Leading others is a never-ending process, so don’t get too comfortable! If you expect others to follow you, then setting an example is important. Read books from leaders, speak to your staff and find out what bothers them. Development isn’t just about building your professional skills, it’s also important to work on your interpersonal skills.


Times can be hard, and it’s inevitable that an organization will struggle at some point. However, as a leader, you can’t show your worries to others. Not only does positivity set a good example for others, but it also motivates them to achieve more.


A good leader wants others to grow professionally and personally. It’s your job to ensure they have the skills to succeed and provide staff training. Whatever happens in your organization reflects on your skills as a leader, so it’s essential you set clear targets and delegate tasks.


If you don’t believe in what you’re doing then will others? Every single leader who has made an impact in history was passionate about their cause. Some people believe the boardroom isn’t a place for emotions, but positivity, passion, and enthusiasm are central to motivating your team.

Pave The Way

We know that great leaders exhibit dominant traits, but one thing that defines a good leader from a bad one is how much they’re willing to share. Leadership is about giving others the opportunity to grow and build on their skills. If you want to shape lives and make a difference, then you could be a great leader. Remember, those who seek power are often the most powerless so concentrate on giving instead of receiving. Who knows, maybe one day your name will be among the Churchill’s, Caeser’s and Mandela’s!

About This Leadership Guide

This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about leadership from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.

11 items | 80m read
6m read | Basics

What is Leadership?

In short, the definition of leadership has nothing to do with the hierarchy or anyone’s position within the company; it has nothing to do with imposing views but its about listening to those who know. Leadership is the attitude assumed by those looking for something different, who are committed to achieving a goal and whose conviction they manage to transmit to others through enthusiasm and optimism in order to reach a common goal.
9m read | Basics

The 5 Levels of Leadership

John Maxwell is an American author, speaker, and pastor. Author of over 60 books, mostly known for his theory on leadership.
In his book, The 5 Levels of Leadership, he describes each level. Here is a summary.
5m read | Basics

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Leaders have a tendency to praise success and drive people, whereas managers work to find faults. They paint a picture of what they see as possible for the company and work to inspire and engage their people in turning that vision into reality. Rather than seeing individuals as just a particular set of skills, they think beyond what they do and activate them to be part of something much bigger. They’re well aware of how high-functioning teams can accomplish a lot more when working together than individuals working autonomously are ever able to achieve.
14m read | Basics

The Evolution of Leadership

Leadership teachings of most of the twentieth century focused on directive, autocratic (or at least top-down) management. The boss was expected to know the answers, or at least what to do. He, and it was usually a man for most of the period, would tell people what to do and they did what they were told. Strict rules were in force and there were serious consequences for violating the social system.
6m read | Basics

The Evolution of Leadership Skills

Leadership skills and management practices are evolving in today’s workplace. As the world becomes flatter through technological advances and agile processes, the traditional hierarchical structure for running a business is becoming an outdated method for achieving business success.
8m read | Basics

Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own

In order to become better leaders tomorrow, we need to know where we stand today. To help you understand the impact each type of leader has on a company, I’ll explain eight of the most common types of leadership styles in play today and how effective they are.
5m read | Basics

Leadership Theories

For decades, leadership theories have been the source of numerous studies. In reality as well as in practice, many have tried to define what allows authentic leaders to stand apart from the mass! Hence, there as many theories on leadership as there are philosophers, researchers and professors that have studied and ultimately published their leadership theory.
5m watch | Basics

Essential Qualities of All Great Leaders

There are 7 leadership qualities that all great leaders possess. The positive thing is, leadership characteristics can be learned and practiced making it possible for everyone to become a great leader.
6m read | Basics

Communication Secrets Of Great Leaders

It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. Great communicators are skilled at reading a person/group by sensing the moods, dynamics, attitudes, values and concerns of those being communicated with. Not only do they read their environment well, but they possess the uncanny ability to adapt their messaging to said environment without missing a beat.
11m watch | Basics

Leadership Body Language

The relationship between body language and leadership skills? This leadership video shows the power of an embodied approach to leadership from Mark Walsh, a specialist in leadership development through body being.
5m read | Basics

How to Become an Effective Leader

For many businesspeople, the last thing you want to worry about (or do) is managing people. You want to get out there and meet customers and create awesome products and bring exciting new opportunities through your front door. But unless you’ve hired people to take on the task of managing your employees, then you’re still on the hook.

The good news is that you can make that task a little bit easier for yourself by remembering these 7 essential leadership keys, and your organization will benefit as a direct result.
6 items | 76m read
6m read | Advanced

The Critical Role Of Leadership During Organizational Change

Most business leaders today would agree on two things: (1) organizational change is constant, and (2) leading change is one of the most difficult burdens of a leader’s command. In this article, I want to look at the role leadership development should play in organizational change.
7m read | Advanced

The Secret to Leading Organizational Change Is Empathy

How information is communicated to employees during a change matters more than what information is communicated. A lack of audience empathy when conveying news about an organizational transformation can cause it to fail.

Studies on organizational change show that leaders across the board agree: if you want to lead a successful transformation, communicating empathetically is critical.
25m read | Advanced

Ethical Leadership

Ethical behavior, in its simplest terms, is knowing and doing what is right. The difficulty is in defining “right.” Different individuals, different cultures, and different religions define it in different ways. The accepted treatment of women and attitudes toward slavery in different cultures and at different times in history provide prime examples of how what’s “right” can vary.
24m read | Advanced

The Leader's Choice: Five Steps to Ethical Decision Making

Making ethical decisions when confronted with a dilemma is a key to success along the project leadership journey. Using a framework to guide those decisions can be crucial to advancing project leadership competence. This paper describes the strong connection between ethical decision making and project leadership success, depicts the role that an ethical decision-making model can play, and presents the new five-step PMI Ethical Decision-Making Framework (EDMF) created by the Ethics Member Advisory Group (Ethics MAG) and released PMI-wide.
8m read | Advanced

Female Leadership--'Be Competent Like A Woman And Confident And Ambitious Like A Man'

The “Glass Ceiling” is still an invisible barrier preventing women from reaching the top positions. Men are still viewed as default business leaders, affirming the “think manager, think male” mindset. So then should women who aspire to lead try to think like males?
6m read | Advanced

Reasons Women Make Great Leaders

Women may not always realize how poised for success they are in leadership roles, but their potential and abilities are undeniable. Business News Daily asked female leaders to share their thoughts on women in power. Here are 17 reasons women make great leaders.
9 items | 81m read
5m read | Expert

Leadership Games for Skill Development

Leaders aren’t working in the abstract, but rather in the here and now. They are thrown into situations and must act. Their success is not based on clever interpretations of famous quotes or methodologies, but on unifying a group to achieve a common goal.
7m read | Expert

Tips from Leadership Experts

Good leaders all have one thing in common: They know how to seek advice. It’s a bit like parenting. No one who raises a child for the first time understands the job perfectly. You have to keep learning and growing. These experts know the drill. They’ve written about their experiences in leadership, spoken in front of mass audiences, and honed their skills over many years. Here are their single best tips, exclusive just to this list.
12m read | Expert

Inspiring Leadership Quotes

When someone is truly a visionary and works all his life changing the course of history by inventing, discovering or implementing things that can improve people’s lives, they become immortals! These beautiful words inspire us for our bright future.
4m read | Expert

Sir Alex Ferguson’s 8 Rules of Leadership

Sir Alex Ferguson is a legendary soccer coach and manager. Until stepping down this spring after 26 seasons as top man at famed Manchester United, Ferguson was generally respected around the world as the sport’s top leader.

Sir Alex was a strong leader, a man who never left doubt about who was in charge.
4m read | Expert

Leadership Qualities Of Steve Jobs

Throughout his life, the late Steve Jobs was known as being one of the most influential and innovative leaders of his time. Jobs is not only the founder of Apple and Pixar but he was able to lead several organizations into being some of the most powerful in the country. There are a number of lessons that any individual can learn from his unique leadership style.
10m watch | Expert

What it Takes to be a Great Leader

In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.
19m watch | Expert

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers — and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.
10m read | Expert

Further Reading: Best Leadership Books

Leadership: In Turbulent Times. In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration of the early development, growth, and exercise of leadership.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You. If you’ve never read this book, you’ve been missing out on one of the best-selling leadership books of all time. If you have read the original version, then you’ll love this new expanded and updated one.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. The New York Times bestseller by the acclaimed, bestselling author of Start With Why and Together is Better. Now with an expanded chapter and appendix on leading millennials, based on Simon Sinek’s viral video “Millenials in the workplace” (150+ million views).

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual. This book explains how to take leadership theory, quickly translate that theory into applicable strategy, and then put leadership into action at a tactical level. This book is the solution that leaders at every level need―not just to understand the leadership game, but also how to play the leadership game, and win it.

The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness. Using psychology, philosophy, and her own experience, Lolly Daskal offers a breakthrough perspective on leadership. She’ll take you inside some of the most cloistered boardrooms, let you in on deeply personal conversations with industry leaders, and introduce you to luminaries who’ve changed the world. Her insights will help you rethink everything you know to become the leader you truly want to be.

10m read | Expert

Further Learning: Best Leadership Courses

Strategic Leadership and Management. In this course, you will learn the fundamentals to effectively lead people and teams, manage organizations as well as tools to analyze business situations and develop strategies. The Specialization covers the strategic, human resource, and organizational foundations for creating and capturing value for sustainable competitive advantage – including how to manage people and organizations, analyze the competition, and develop strategies both within a business and across a portfolio of businesses.

Rise to Leadership: Become a CEO. This course will give you insight into how CEOs view strategic challenges, formulate solutions, and take action – and expose the path from individual contributor to the top job. Through case studies, group challenges, and feedback from current CEOs, you’ll explore six key skills that make an effective CEO, and form the foundation of their strategic work.

Leading People and Teams. In this course, you will learn essential leadership skills, including how to inspire and motivate individuals, manage talent, influence without authority, and lead teams. You will not only learn from the University of Michigan faculty. You will also learn directly from exceptional leaders.

Think Like a Leader with Brian Tracy. Brian shows you how you can change your daily habits from the inside out to become a powerful motivator and ultimately achieve leadership success. Become a leader in your workplace by harnessing the power of the 8 core pillars of effective leadership: Vision, Integrity, Strategic Planning, Project Management, Courage, Communication, Teamwork, and Action.

Seth Godin’s Leadership Workshop. The course is built around 9 surprising leadership principles that challenge conventional wisdom. Through a series of videos and interactive exercises, Seth will introduce you to ideas that will help you lead people to dance on the edge of possibility.

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