You edited your question to say,
EDIT: I do actually have a real workplace problem. I've been told several times this -- "You will be recognized as a leader when you have people coming to you". I then think, why will they come to me. When I've something I can offer them. Great. That's fine by me. But then how do I keep them coming back. For that to happen it seems I need to offer a limited form of help where I solve their symptom but not the root cause. Because if I solve the root cause they won't come to me and I don't get points. I don't know why that would be good for the company and why my manager would want this from me. It all seems so backwards/wrong
It strikes me that what you're describing here is more akin to indentured servitude rather than leadership. Describing leadership is well beyond the scope of a simple question and answer format, other than to say that you're right, this seems wrong - because it is wrong.
Leadership isn't the art of cultivating a dependent audience. It's the art of leading. If, in your environment, leading means "having something to offer people" as you've stated, then you'd want to continue to lead by continuing to offer things to people - not by offering them something that has a hook buried in it. In other words, have more than one original idea, versus trying to trick people into continuing to be interested in your first idea.
It's also worth pointing out that leadership isn't as fixed and easily defined as you seem to be hoping for. Leadership is a fluid relationship that can take many forms with different levels of intensity, formality, and duration. Right now, for me, I'm involved in lots of "leadership" relationships:
- There are people in my industry or cultural groups that I consider "leaders" in a very non-personal sense - that is, I "follow" some of the things they champion, though I've never met or interacted with them.
- There are people in my company at higher levels that I look to for guidance, even though they're not in my direct supervision chain.
- There are people working for me that would (likely) identify me as their leader - I'm setting the stage for their work, helping them solve problems, giving them direction.
- There are people in hobby circles that "follow" me as a leader due to innovations I've come up with or methods I've written about.
Through all these relationships, leaders come and go, and followers come and go. Being a leader is more about your thoughts, actions, and behaviors than it is about counting people who would identify as your follower.
Along that line, my employer promotes the concept of "leadership in your role" which is intended to mean that everyone has the opportunity to "lead" in the sense of doing their work well, solving problems, and taking initiative - activities that other employees will naturally "follow" as a path to success. This is seen as a very different concept from management, which is more about organizational structure and integrity. Everyone can be a leader - we have employees who have been doing basically the same thing for 20 years and are thought of as critical thought leaders in their area, even though they have no employees reporting to them, for instance.
To bring this back around to your original question, based on the way you wrote it, it seems like you're trying to achieve some goal. I'm basing that comment on this:
I've been told several times this -- "You will be recognized as a leader when you have people coming to you"
I don't think any of us can give you a direct answer to your real question, unless we know: why do you want to be seen as a leader? Is that your ultimate goal, or a means to an end? Are you hoping that "being a leader" will mean a promotion or some other opportunity?