One idea about a leader is that someone does things that are worth following. This does not mean they actually have followers. For example, Van Gogh lived his life in mostly poverty and isolation, but people have followed his lead in art a million times over since then. Leaders in this sense do something different and innovative. They think out of the box and create new realities. It is the acts themselves that define the leader, not the followers. I’ve previously broken down some of the things a leader does. This is action-defined leadership.
Another notion is to say that if a person has followers they are a leader. No followers, not a leader. It is the number of followers that define the quality of the leader. So regardless of the actions you take, if people don’t follow you then all you are doing is making noise. Some people have followers yet are pretty scarce on actual leadership actions. They do this through charisma or intimidation. For example, bullies often have grouper-fish followers. With this point of view, we have follower-defined leadership.
When you have someone with both types, they can be extremely powerful forces. Whether tyrannical or benevolent, the ball will get moved in a direction. Leaders can not stand the status quo. If they aren’t moving, they aren’t leading.
User Experience is about thinking how things work. Whether that is how a technology is perceived or how leadership works, you should always be examining the world and gaining insight. Think about something like courage, fear, boredom, love, lust, productivity, etc and think about how they work. What varieties are there? Thinking and communicating those ideas are what makes humans special in our world.