I do not agree with the idea that you need followers in order to lead. I’d rather say that if you’re a leader, there will naturally be followers. Leadership in the end is about the influence you exert on others, and unless you are a hermit, cut off from the rest of the world, you have the opportunity to influence.
And this influence could be either a negative or a positive one. You cannot control who you influence and who you don’t, everyone that comes into contact with you leaves with an impression, whether you want to or not.
Picking up a plastic bottle on the side walk and depositing it in a recycling bin influences all those witnessing this seemingly benign action. But this action may have spurred the conscience of all those people; they now perhaps pay a little more attention to recycling throughout the day or even weeks. And maybe that act of environmentalism is retold to others through a blogpost or a tweet or during dinner.
Action imparts influence and leadership through action is everywhere. I’m sorry to tell you that your actions do influence, whether you like it or not.