Let us not confuse leadership and popularity.
Popularity can surely give one a chance to lead, but not necessarily so. If you have the privilege of popularity, then it's up to you to take the responsibility to lead.
And if you decide to lead, doing so won't make you or keep you popular. The tough decisions leaders often make can be anything but popular.
You don't always have to choose between the two, but you may.
And the choice you make might very well cement your destiny as a great leader or someone who was just popular.