You've probably met someone who, when given the slightest opportunity, seized command and began immediately telling everyone what to do. Instead of letting people make decisions for themselves, the person, fully convinced that he or she knows the right way, takes charge and begins ordering everyone around. We often call these kinds of people leaders. After all, they do take command.
However, a good leader doesn't simply boss people around. There is so much more to leadership that mere command. In fact, many times, leaders aren't even the people in charge.
So what exactly makes someone a leader? On the most basic level, a leader is anyone who has followers. A leader is someone who leads other people.
This implies some pretty exciting things. For example, the way you dress, speak, and act work together to create peer pressure. If even one of your peers is influenced by your behavior, you become a leader.
Everyone has influenced others. We all have had some effect on the decisions of others. We are all leaders, to some extent.
Well then, what makes someone a good leader? Essentially, a good leader is someone who has a vision, inspires others, and effectively brings the vision to reality. A good leader leads in such a way that the followers want to follow. He leads by example. He leads intentionally.
A boss tells everyone what to do. A boss micromanages and must constantly be corralling his followers. But a leader shows everyone the way. He inspires his followers and can therefore trust them to work autonomously.
Telling people what to do is easy. Showing them how and why to do it is difficult. Making people do things is frustrating. Inspiring people to do them is fulfilling.
Leadership requires more than telling people what to do. It requires them to be shown. They must see how and why, and they must see others doing it before they will join in. Leadership isn't easy, but it is much more effective and fulfilling.