Leadership is a tough concept. There are dozens of theories on what constitutes good leadership. Even more practiced theories employed by managers and entrepreneurs ranging in success. Yet it is indispensible for men, so we have to figure it out.

Women consistently want a man who leads in the relationship. Universal observation has said that for, well, forever. However, a number of studies have demonstrated the same thing. Women who lead in the relationship are generally less happy. I say this only to point out that it is the nature of men to be leaders, protectors, and kings of our domain. We are not wimps.

There are a number of categories to the concept of leadership: authority, vision, discipline, and cultivation. It doesn’t necessarily require authority, though leadership will foster that. If you are imbued with authority your need to develop good leadership skills is high. We’ve all had bad managers, teachers, professors, and other authorities. We know how odious they are. They are bad leaders.

Most books from “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to “Good to Great” or a multitude of others one theme steps forward—benevolent authority; or what otherwise might be put ‘authority that keeps the Golden Rule in mind.’ The Golden Rule, as distinct from the frequently mistaken Silver Rule, is “do unto other as you would have them do unto you.”

If people think you care about them, in a world significantly lacking in true care, they are more likely to follow you and give you their best. However, leadership also requires some reproving of bad behavior. If that becomes necessary there are many tactics to do that diplomatically, but ultimately you just need to remember, “if I had this problem, how would I want someone to bring it up to me.” I recently read a great article on leadership in marriage centered on asking the question “what can I be doing for you today?” It is universally applicable.

Now, some nuance is required in the article’s applicability to all circumstances. If you’re a boss or employer you can’t constantly go around to all your employees asking them what they want and need. But you can genuinely desire their improvement. You can encourage them to work hard by hoping they do well. It will seep out of your pores. Some people are just lazy wastrels, it’s true, but you can still hope they become more than that some day. Even if you’re a CEO your exec team needs your daily encouragement and care.

One thing I like about the show “Undercover Boss”, though I am not a big watcher of TV, is that you see most CEOs are not hard-assed jerks that whip the plebes. They are just as willing to get down and dirty with everyone else. They care. They have worked hard to get where they are. They are competent, not just lucky jerk-offs. They demonstrate leadership by caring about their companies, their employees, and their families. The one’s that do not practice these principles tend to go under.

So how can you lead more effectively in your social groups, families, jobs, and personal lives? Care about the people you lead more than yourself. Help them as you can. Encourage them to help themselves. Some will not help you in return. Many will, and those that do will make up for the ones that do not. Not everyone’s a winner, but you need to try if you want to be one.

This is one of the most lacking concepts in modern masculinity. Leadership is abusive, and domineering, or it is soft, and lacking backbone. Toughness and compassion are not mutually exclusive. Feminism hates the concept of male leadership. But that doesn’t mean we can give it up, otherwise we have signed our own death warrants. We need to double down and be even better leaders than before to demonstrate our absolute necessity.

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