Many inexperienced leaders fail to adequately communicate a vision to the people they lead. If you don’t tell everyone which direction to head, you’ll have confusion. For some leaders, their deficiency comes not from a lack of communication, but from not having a vision, themselves.
Leadership is an important trait, but sometimes people get so caught up in trying to become better leaders that they forget to spend anytime figuring out where it is they want to lead. It is much easier to lead if you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and your ideas are good.
In fact, a poor leader with a great vision will accomplish more than a great leader with no clue where they want to go. Success covers a multitude of failures. If you are successful, people will tend to overlook many mistakes you make as a leader. If you are unsuccessful, people are less likely to overlook your deficiencies in vision.
If you are driving people toward shared success, they will tend to stick with you because they are succeeding. In some cases, they may even start copying some of your poor leadership habits thinking they are part of the reason for your success.
This is the same type of latitude we give to geniuses. If you take a look at a photo of Einstein and think what your reaction would be meeting someone who looked like him in almost any social setting, you probably wouldn’t automatically have much respect for him simply based on his appearance. However, since he was successful, people overlook his appearance. I imagine there were even some younger physicists who stopped combing their hair with the idea that mimicking his (bad) habits would help them achieve success as well.
Obviously, leadership skills are very important. It is much better to lead with a solid vision and tremendous leadership acumen. Just make sure that as you develop your leadership skills, you don’t overlook the skills that will let you develop a vision worth following.