Leaders, no matter their industry or business size, must answer one fundamental question to truly stand out:
Where can I add the most value right now?
This means that leaders don't only do certain things, like delegate, have important meetings, or review numbers. Nothing should be beneath a leader's pay grade, as long as it's adding the most value right then. Leaders must use their brains and brawn in any given situation to add the most value to the project, product, team, company, or idea.
Sometimes, then, the most valuable thing a leader can do is bring doughnuts to her team.
Sometimes, the most valuable thing a leader can do is retreat for two days to brainstorm a strategy for next quarter.
Sometimes, a leader needs to go on that sales call to land the big client.
Sometimes, a leader needs to do nothing.
If a leader isn't adding value, he needs to be replaced. If a leader isn't willing to do that which is necessary, then she isn't necessary. There is no shortage of potential leaders in your company, and the best way to vet them is to find out if they're willing to do what it takes to add the most value in any and every situation.
Leadership isn't meant to be glamorous; it's meant to be valuable.