I had the privilege of training under some very good instructors here in Illinois. The one that I learned the "most" from is also one of my best friends. In fact; he gets all of my "old" golf clubs. But, honestly; I don't think that when we are doing training real time that we are even thinking about "leading". I wanted to learn so that I could take it back to my department and pass it on. Maybe the leadership was a by-product or an unitended consequence. But, ironically; by happenstance or by free will, it worked out that way for me.
I think that developing into a leader is something that occurs between them and the people that accepts their leadership. It is a process that might start with a "mentor" but grows and is nurtured by the potential leaders' desire to do more than accept the status quo and to simply follow.
When I think about what I did while I was an active member of the department, I feel that a self analysis reveals that I had many, many hours of training classes, tons of interaction with exceptional instructors and fire service leaders, real time on the scenes of many different emergencies, developing a style of interpersonal communication with other members that encouraged rather than discouraged, tried not to consciously set an "example", give them what they would take and move our department forward. I will leave it to them to discuss me in terms of "leader".
I was one of those guys who wanted to leave it better than he found it.
I did that.
Learn from the people around us; good and bad, take what we can from their strengths and make them our own.
My current Captain is one of those leaders. He coaches, mentors, innovates, and leads. We end our drills and calls with brief tailboard sessions. How did that go? Is there anything to add? Is there a way we could do it better? If we think there is a way to do it better, our gear goes back on and the person with the idea facilitates the changes in the drill. While you are leading the drill he is a model student, attentive and eager to do the task at hand.
I like these couple sentances from Chief Reason "I wanted to learn so that I could take it back to my department and pass it on. Maybe the leadership was a by-product or an unitended consequence."