In June 2000, John Bogle, founder and former CEO of The Vanguard Group, spoke about leadership at Wharton. As an avid group of executives listened to the man who popularized the principle of indexing – and in the process built the Vanguard Group into a firm managing more than $550 billion in assets – Bogle ended his speech quoting James Norris, a Vanguard manager, who wrote: "While it is revealing to consider what constitutes a leader, your search for understanding, for some kind of leadership formula, is apt to end in frustration. It is like studying Michelangelo or Shakespeare: You can imitate, emulate, and simulate, but there is simply no connect-the-dots formula to Michelangelo's David or Shakespeare's Hamlet. I suppose, when all is said and done, it really comes down to this: People are leaders because they choose to lead."
The heart of leadership is as simple as that: It is a matter of choice and determination. If this is true, then people who choose and are determined to become influential business leaders can benefit from observing other leaders and using their observations to nurture their own leadership style.
The article and book also give the eight key traits of leaders, which you can go read if you like. But I'm not very fond of these types of lists so I won't post it here. I think that luck and timing play a bigger role than most people give them credit for.