I see Chinese-Chinese definitions which re-use the characters of the word. For example, 领导 defined as 动：带领并引导大家开展工作. If I already knew 带领 and 引导 then I probably could guess 领导, so it's not very helpful. In English, the "rule" is that you never use the word in the definition. Are there any rules or features of Chinese-Chinese dictionaries that can help me in situations like these? Should I be looking up the individual characters?
带(lead) + 领(lead) = 带领: to lead
引(guide) + 导(guide) = 引导: " to guide"
领(lead)+ 导(guide) = 领导: "to lead and guide"
领导 contains the meanings of both 带领 and 引导, I don't see anything wrong with the definition using 带领 and 引导. Yes, both 带领 and 引导 repeated one character from 领导, but they are unique compound words on their own.
It is ok. as long as the dictionary doesn't use the exact compound word in the definition like 领导(v): 领导
It is unavoidable for many different compound words to have a common character among them, you have to look at the whole compound word instead of looking at the two characters individually
The examples below all contain '正' (correct, positive, straight, upright....) but each compound word containing '正' would have very different meaning to each others
正直 = honest
正確 = correct
正常 = normal
One more thing:
The definition should just be: "带领并引导" (to lead and guide)
领导大家开展工作 would be a good example sentence