People tend to define themselves (in regards to profession) by what they do. Maybe they are in Marketing, IT, Sales, Services, etc. It is a great accomplishment for anyone to get to the point where they know where they fit. Within that specialized area they likely have some sort of status within their own mind and within the organization (hopefully the two are the same). They are known openly or indirectly as either being one of the best, being a good solid contributor, or as not meeting expectations. For those that are in the best/highest performer categories, there will be future growth opportunities if the concept of Leadership is fully embraced. It is at this point that the individual has the opportunity to choose. Many will be comfortable being the best at what they do and may not be embrace the new opportunity, which is perfectly fine, but isn’t it great to be offered the opportunity to choose our destiny?
There are two pre-requisites. Others have to be consistently impressed by your performance in previous roles, and it must be evident that you have become a leader and understand/practice the concept of Leadership. Leadership is about rational thinking, having the ability to view issues from another persons point of view, focusing on influence rather than power, the ability to motivate others, the ability to trust others, being respectful (always), being goal driven, and being comfortable with the idea that success can only be had through the success of others (It is no longer about what one person can do by themselves).
It is possible to be the best at what you do, and to be a phenomenal leader. At the very least, fully embracing/practicing Leadership makes us better people, and most importantly gives us choices and control over how high we climb.