Direction is defined as a thing moving on a path toward something else. These “things” could be objects of mass, concepts/ideas, emotions, or nothing (i.e. empty space).
What is the core attribute that drives people? Clearly, not everyone has the same direction or the same drive but surely there is commonality. Is this attribute personal gain, satisfaction, or accolade? Is this attribute selflessness, piety, or compassion? If two people do not have the same beliefs in direction, how do you drive to the same place? But how do so many different people with different ideas tend to move toward a similar existence? Being able to understand different perspectives, belief systems, and ideologies allows one to better understand how to drive and direct diverse people in potentially mutually beneficial directions.
If you take a great leader, let us say Leonardo Da Vinci, what defines them as a great leader? First, you may ask the question of how was Da Vinci a great leader. He may have not led people explicitly but his ideas, inventions, methods, and alternative perspectives led our society to places in his time that would have been interpreted as fantasy, magical, or insane. How did his contributions to his society make it all the way to present day as he clearly had many hurdles to surpass? One aspect was that he was meticulous at documenting his ideas to ensure others down the road could derive meaning. Another aspect is that he was not afraid to advocate his mind to anyone who would listen, especially his pupils, and teach them to drive their minds to reach beyond the horizon.
While I am no Da Vinci, I am a modern day thought leader. I find the biggest challenge is specially these aspects that evolved Da Vinci as a great leader: advocating the ideas that appear so naturally. Sometimes I cannot explain my thoughts or feelings to others but, over time, I gain more fidelity of understanding of my own idea. To gain this fidelity, I constantly rely on my peers' beliefs and interpretations affording me opportunities to gain better insight into their perspective, which in turn allows me to better hone my ideas to be more communicable and concise. When I can understand how they understand, I can share my wisdom more appropriately. With this single attribute, if I am unable to observe and listen to my peers, I am unable to modify my language and am unable to lead effectively.
To provide some insight into my original question, I think the most fundamental aspect that drives all people is the feeling that their actions have purpose and that these actions are sanctioned by some “greater authority”. People want to feel that they spend their energy doing something for a reason, whether that reason is “he/she/God told me to”, “he/she/God believes so I believe”, or “he/she/God hasn’t spoken up so that means I’m doing what I should be doing.” With just the basic tenet of just having a reason to do something, most people will be driven to completing their actions. However, for those that seek long term transformation, drive or vision, the only reason and authority needed is “because I think it is a good idea.” But differentiating yourself as a leader versus a dictator, that comes down to understanding and listening to the people that support you and how their beliefs affect your vision.