I remember the first time that I was thought of as a leader. I was 8 years old. I had a lot of cousins and uncles and they would always play football at my grandmother's house. While I was not the oldest, or the biggest, I was certainly the most fearless especially when it came to sports. I wanted to play tackle football on the grass with my older cousins and uncles just to show that I could be strong. It was more than obvious that I would get crushed and I could hear my mother yelling from the porch that I can't play. Well, I played and actually scored a touchdown. Believe me when I tell you that none of these guys went easy on me it was duly earned. After the game I was immediately moved to "big cousin" status by those who were close to my age. Once you attained "big cousin" status you could pretty much boss the little ones around and they would actually listen to you. Now that I think back it is funny to have a legion of 4,5,6 and 7 year olds following you and hanging on your every word.
The take away from this for me was; always remember there is someone who admires you no matter who you admire and you must keep that in mind as an adult. Translating that to today's version of leadership is simple. The mark of a true leader is how he handles the "legion." Does he give orders for the sake of giving orders or does he lead from a place of wisdom and development.