Leaders influence. Managers must think and be leaders, but leaders do not have to be managers.
To be a leader you must influence people to take action, take action in the way you want them to take action, and finally take sustained action that is sufficient to get the job done.
Leaders have vision, and they learn to articulate that vision. Truly gifted leaders are able to touch the emotions of those who follow them. Great leaders master the art of getting people to do something the leader wants done because they want to do it.
High expectations are the key to everything. Leaders set expectations in order to take people where they have not been before - new victories against new opponents and new challenges. Great leaders keep one eye on the goal and the other on the progress of the team. When the team sees obstacles, the leader focuses attention on the goal. Obstacles are what people see when they take their eyes off the goal.
As a leader, you want quality. If you want quality, act as if you already have it. Leaders are yardsticks of quality, and they set an expectation of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment in which excellence is expected. Leaders set the goals, and then encourage the whole team to improve—for the leader is already on a journey of improvement.
If you are leading from a position of rank and title, you have erected your command on a foundation of sand. Quickly building a leadership structure with others helps build strength and power for the team and your ability to lead. Developing the skill to understand what emotions motivate your command build leadership power. When you can get others to act because they want to take the action, you are leading with power.
No matter how carefully you plan your goals, they will never be more than pipe dreams unless you pursue them with gusto. Leaders are committed to their vision, with emotional passion for performance and excellence.
The very exercise of leadership fosters the capacity for it. When would NOW be a good time to start?