I’ve been putting together a talk about being a leader as an individual contributor. I have been put into management roles on occassion, or named a team lead, but regardless of role I approach a project the same way. I respect arriving at the best solution above almost everything else.
So many “leadership” principles can be distilled to just striving for good work. Listening to others, respecting opinions, valuing the truth. Being driven to do whatever is needed to get the job done. And when people around you know how important that is to you, it becomes important to them. I’ve never set out to be a leader, but when people see you focused on a goal, they’re willing to join you in where you’re going.