My wife and I were sitting in church this past Sunday and she noted that the lady singing looked like a mutual friend. We were sitting close to the back (Baptist Church) and I responded that from this distance she looked like a number of people.
Think of your leadership roles in this way. From a distance, your leadership can not be distinctive. It looks like the leadership of so many others. Depending on people's perception of leadership, this can be a good thing or a bad thing. If they hold a negative viewpoint of leaders in general, they will see you in a negative light and vice-versa. Ultimately, if you keep a distance between you and those you are charged with leading, you do not control the effectiveness of your influence.
It is also tremendously difficult to let your personal leadership style reach its full potential when you keep a tall wall between you and your followers. Being an authentic leader may not be your primary goal, but it is a must if you are to accomplish any significant leadership goal.
To be distinctive and authentic with your leadership, you need to go closer. Ask questions. Listen. It is messier at times, but leadership is messy. If you don't like the mess, get out of the bunkhouse. Approach others with a willingness and wanting to connect, learn and serve. For it is only when we shorten the distance between our leaders and their followers that true human leadership happens.