The best way to be a leader is to not lead

In the lead.
In the lead.
Image: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

This question originally appeared on Quora: How do I assert myself as a leader within a group? Answer by Aaron Webber, chairman and CEO at Webber Investments.

The answer is: You don’t.

In fact, don’t even try.

That is the fundamental error that most people make. They assume leadership is something you put on, something you act out or something you turn on for the moment and then can relax when the time has passed when you have finished operating that way.

Leadership is intrinsic. It’s about who you are and what you’ve become. It’s not some switch you flick.

My advice would be to stop trying to assert yourself as a leader and focus on the substance. Focus on the following things:

  1. Be very very good at the technical assignment and competencies that you need to perform. Be good with your hands. Be good at what you do.
  2. Be humble. Enough said.
  3. Following on from number one and two, let the results you produce and the comments you make speak for themselves. For example, you don’t need a PR agent if you are good and if you are substantive. Your work and your expertise speaks for you.
  4. Speak less and listen more so that when you do say something, it is something worth listening to. Don’t be that person who holds court all the time sharing with everybody the benefit of their usually limited wisdom.
  5. Be consistent. Be consistent in who you are, in your performance, in your output, in your demeanor, and in your interactions with people. People gravitate towards consistency at any level.

If you operate in those five area and become practiced and proficient in those five areas you will assume the mantle of leadership within that group. It will be given to you by the followers in that group that choose to follow you, thus making you the leader.

Whether the organizational chart reflects that or not, you will be the leader.

You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

More from Quora:

Why is leadership so difficult to get right?

What is lacking in leadership today?

Do successful people force themselves to work when they don’t want to?