Leadership is not for the faint of heart. Great followers rarely make great leaders and those that think they are leaders often fail under the most difficult situations. Leadership moves beyond puffy self concepts and social perceptions and hits the core of a person's soul. Great leaders come from within and are not associated with rank, wealth or position.
If we think about histories great civic and military leaders almost all of them came from moderate to humble backgrounds. Few would have mustered the strength if they lived in the lap of luxury and didn't need to strive and work to accomplish their goals. Great leadership may have innate skills but is definitely forged through the fire of life.
Leaders may come from anywhere. Notable leaders seem to have the trait of creating changes out of no where. It was their time. Research has shown that in difficult situations emerging leaders strive for excellence, team-build, have a vision, have purpose, are sincere, are caring/empathetic, self-sacrificing, and have self-efficacy (Bangari, 2014).
They know they can't do it on their own and will need to tap deep to find the courage and strength to chase down a problem. As they gain momentum people will gravitate toward their cause and build momentum. As more people get involve the vision begins to change people's thoughts and actions creating a new way of looking at the world.
Where the average person thinks about their own needs the leader things beyond their biological urges to tackle bigger problems. They realize there is a more important game at stake and they have a responsibility to take the reins and do something about it. When they do come forward they can make big changes.
Sometimes they do not tap into their sources until pressured to do so. This pressure could come from a combat situation, a failing company, or any other high pressure situation. The specific situation is less important than the actual motivators that push underdogs to perform. These forces come together in different ways to create an environment where higher performance is likely.