Leadership is a complex subject and there are many ways a leader can lead. For the sake of simplicity, let's focus on three key stereotypes: leadership by example, leadership by coordination, and leadership by command.
If you are dedicated, good at what you do, and doing it with great style - you are a prime candidate for leadership by example. In such a case, people do not directly follow the leader, but rather the example he or she sets. Leadership by example is efficient for long term and more abstract goals.
A person who has a great overview and understanding of an enterprise can serve as a mediator between different parts of the system. Leadership by coordination works by validating feedback and ensuring clear communication - it's a way to keep everyone going in the same direction.
Leadership by command is the most direct approach. It works by becoming a recognized figure of authority. (There are many ways to establish authority: personal or professional trust, promise of rewards, fear of punishment etc. or just otherwise clever personal marketing.) Leadership by command is most effective in the short term and for clearly visible goals.
There are a myriad ways to influence people and a leader has to be familiar with many of them.