“Leadership” has been defined as the process of getting others to want to do what you want them to do. It is often referred to as a science, but is as much an art as any other human endeavor. It does not have either the structure or repeatability that would make it a science, no single technique works in every case, and there appear to be no immutable, quantifiable “laws” that are universal to the practice. Additionally; there are no irrefutable “if-then” relationships, and even the most strident proponents of specific leadership practices will admit that their effectiveness varies with each situation.
It is, then, the ultimate act of “painting the moving train” – applying your best guess at the techniques that will be appropriate in the exact circumstance you face. And yet; people over time can get better at leading; it is an art at which you can become more proficient with study, practice, exercise and coaching. And it is one that makes a difference in organizations of all types; better leaders run better and more successful organizations. If people stay or leave an organization because of their first line managers, then, to be most effective, your first line managers should be continuously learning the art of leadership.