Leadership in today's world is on the decline. True leadership doesn't come with a price tag or a need to succumb to the norm or popular view of society. Leadership stems from a person's conscientious actions to improve society for good and accomplish largely unpopular goals because it is what's right. It doesn't serve one person's personal agenda at the expense of others. Leadership is the selfless act for a righteous cause according to integrity and having the courage to see the cause through to its final conclusion.
The most simple definition of Leadership as defined by Merriam Webster is the ability to lead. The ability to lead is to have the authoritative presence and the intestinal fortitude to do or say something that might not be widely popular at the time. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and not worry about the popular opinion. A great obscure example of leadership would be former president Gerald R. Ford. He came into office after Nixon and decided to put the accusations to rest about his Watergate Scandal and if he was guilty or not. Nixon had a strong following and many people didn't want to see him resign because he was credited for ending the ever unpopular Vietnam War, but there was a population of the people who wanted to know the truth. So as President, Ford took to television and offered a presidential pardon live to the former President. He did this knowing that his popularity as President might fall but also wanted to know the truth, and he knew if Nixon accepted the pardon, Nixon would be admitting guilt by default and the American people would know the truth. After the public offer of the pardon, Nixon accepted and Ford only served one term arguably because of that exposure. He didn't care, Ford had a true sense of leadership and an unparalleled sense of integrity that compelled him to expose the truth to the people he was currently leading. President Gerald R. Ford was a stubborn man when it came to finding the truth and exposing people for who they really were, and most of the time normal people don't want to know the truth. People are happy being lied to so they don't have to be bogged down by the ugliness of the truth.
From the former president's example we can see today in our time's newest adult population, peer validation and acceptance is everything to them. Today's newest adults severely lack leadership skills because they seek to find validation that they may not have gotten from those who raised them, which is a tragedy because these people have been raised in a world of vast communication networks and could use those outlets to promote selfless leadership on key issues that they feel strongly about that can benefit the rest of man. We see time and again that they just succumb to the spoon fed lies of their older counterparts because they have no desire to stand up and lead themselves. It's because of this validation that we see that. The large population of their generation sells out because everyone else in doing so. Leadership is lost when a generation is taught to follow the masses and never stand against the grain or taught not to speak up in public but you can do so on the internet. Let's look at the founding fathers for a second. When these men came up with the idea that they wanted to establish a self governing people, they were regarded as extremists by the large majority. A lot of the population wanted to remain with England and not stand against the grain. The founding fathers rejected the idea of needing peer approval and led a generation to form a free nation and people from tyranny. They proved over two hundred years ago that validation is not needed to make great things happen. Two hundred and some years later, a generation is born into the idea that you need to be validated and accepted by others before you can lead anything. Those claims are false and great people are forged through adversity and opposition and great things can happen without selling out your beliefs and morals.
The final point I want to make is that Leadership today is falling because of greed. The vast majority will tell you that money makes the world go round. That's true to an extent. It takes money to get an idea off the ground and a running start. But it also takes great leadership to keep the cause advancing and not sell out because the cause might need more money. Something that rarely exists today is a righteous cause advancing because of the idea itself and righteous leadership. Mostly today we see so called leaders being bought and selling out when their price tag is reached and thereby voiding their ability to lead effectively for their people or cause. Greed takes over and completely voids leadership because the person is no longer leading from a place of passion and logic, they are leading according to the size of their wallet. Let's take Mahatma Gandhi for example. He was a very poor man in India who led his people in poverty for civil rights. He became world famous through his style of passive leadership, but didn't let the fame get to him thereby not letting greed and personal financial growth cloud his cause. He was willing to die in poverty to lead his people through a dark time for them to the light on the other side. To most of us now, this idea of leading in poverty is foreign but it doesn't have to be. There is no reason a great leader can be poor and living in a hut in the woods with no electricity. Greed is a fault that is instilled in most people now because the idea of greed is how we measure success and leadership. But real leadership is measured in the amount of people you lead into a better life or situation and not how much you are going to charge for your skills.
In conclusion, leadership skills are dying by the generation. True leadership skills cannot be bought or compromised by material things. If a leadership skill is bought in exchange for material things, then those people who sold them never really had them in the first place. The greatest leaders are those people who have or had nothing and brought themselves to the top through hard work and perseverance. Our time hasn't seen much real leadership outside of the military and some very few select members of the political arena. Even some military members are forgetting the value of true leadership skills. This author has seen the decline in leadership in new generations and sees this problem growing by the day. It's because people need to realize that there are more important things out there than peer validation, money, and acceptance. The only thing anyone has at the end of the day is their beliefs, morals, and leadership skills.