If people follow you and you influence change, then you are a leader. You don’t need a title, pay raise, or power to be a leader. Great leaders catalyze change by inspiring people to try new ideas, develop both their strengths and their areas of growth, have integrity, present people with opportunities to grow within a safe environment, and make them feel valued. All great leaders are grounded in a vision, passion for that vision, continuous self improvement, high expectations for all the people they lead, and provide hope when situations look hopeless. Most importantly, great leaders find hidden qualities in people that others cannot see and develop them so they become a better version of themselves. This type of leadership takes time, a willingness to learn, courageousness, and surrounding yourself with a circle of people that push you to become better. Your inner circle of influencers will either help you soar you to new heights or leave you where you are. Bernardo Stamateas says it this way, " Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres". Surrounding yourself with people that are passionate about their vision, learning, loving people, challenging you to become better and most importantly celebrating success alongside you should be the people you walk with.
Once you are a leader I believe you have three responsibilities, continue to learn best practices in order to lead people in the right direction, multiply talent within your organization in order to rise up other leaders, and most importantly create a culture of safety and celebration where people feel valued, free to try new ideas, and celebrated for their contributions. Great leaders multiply talent and collaborate with others in order to be able to help others reach the vision.