To lead is to initiate movement in some direction. To lead is to inspire, to motivate, to influence people to “go this way” or “accomplish that thing” or focus their thinking or shape their opinions about something.
That's all you really need to know about leadership per se.
Being a leader, therefore, requires that you the leader have some place you want people to go. It requires that you want those following you to accomplish something, focus their thinking about something, or shape their opinions about something.
In other words, it means that you the leader have some direction in mind. Either you want to begin movement from the "at rest" position or you want to change the direction of current movement.
Remember what Newton wrote in his laws of motion: "A body at rest persists in its state of rest, and a body in motion remains in constant motion along a straight line unless acted upon by an external force."
The reason leading is a verb is that it takes the force of influence, motivation, inspiration, communication, and other activities to effect the change you desire.
Leadership in a virtual environment is even harder. You aren't there in person to motivate people. You can't see their faces; you aren't in their presence. You have to find ways to overcome the "remoteness" of your virtuality.