TheTeam leader has been temporarily [[TheHeroDies or permanently]] taken out of commission, and TheLancer / NumberTwo has suddenly found his group declaring him TheLeader. The problem is he's genuinely reluctant to [[TakeUpMySword take up the role]]. He may feel guilty for [[TheUsurper usurping]] the position, or afraid he's UnfitForGreatness. One or more of his new subordinates will say "[[GetAholdOfYourselfMan Get ahold of yourself, you're our leader now.]]" in a DareToBeBadass for the chain of command. If the DecoyProtagonist has met his untimely end, this can be the unveiling of [[TheHero the real hero.]]
Alternately, this can occur when a former subordinate is pressganged or voted into leadership after a HeroicTeamRevolt or TheMutiny, whether or not the previous leader is left alive to [[StillTheLeader complain]].
See also YouAreInCommandNow, where the subordinate finds himself in charge more or less by accident, FieldPromotion, where a ''senior'' character promotes the subordinate as opposed to just one of his peers, and TakeUpMySword, which which it may overlap. If Commander is the character's actual rank, its CommandingCoolness.
[[folder: Fan Works ]]
* ''FanFic/ABriefHistoryOfEquestria'': During the [[MeleeATrois Winter War]], Princess Platinum suffered SanitySlippage due to her plans for Unicornia falling apart. Because of this, Clover the Clever had to lock her up in her chambers and take over the war effort, something she was never trained for. She did surprisingly well, all things considered.
[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* Happens all the time in ''Franchise/StarTrek''. A specific example would be "Best of Both Worlds", where Riker is faced with this from Guinan.
* Happens to Colonel Tigh in ''Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined''. After Adama is shot, Tigh's wife is telling him that he is in charge now, even though he does not have the character or charisma for being in charge. Then, let's just say things go downhill...
[[folder: Film ]]
* In ''K19TheWidowmaker'', the young reactor engineering chief at first chickens out when it is his turn to do some welding in the highly radioactive reactor core. Getting ignored for his cowardice, he mans up, sneaks into the core, and not only does his job, but does ignore orders to come out unless the job is done, and does a HeroicSacrifice in the process.
* In ''Run Silent, Run Deep'', Lt. Bledsoe objects to Cmdr. Richardson's obsessive hunt for a seemingly unbeatable and undetectable Japanese submarine. But, when Richardson is injured, Bledsoe carries on with Richardson's hunt.
* At the beginning of ''In Harm's Way'', Lieutenant (j.g.) [=McConnell=] is the command duty officer aboard a destroyer that is docked as the attack on Pearl Harbor begins. With the captain and first officer are ashore at church, he orders the engine room to light all boilers. When there is enough steam to maneuver, he orders that all lines be cast off and that the ship go to open sea. He refuses to slow down for the captain and first officer (who try to catch up to the ship in a launch) to come aboard, as this would make the destroyer an easy target for the Japanese pilots. (This was based on an actual incident.)
[[folder: Literature ]]
* In ''Literature/EndersGame'', Bean has to step up to be in charge of Ender's toon, causing some resentment.
[[folder: Video Games ]]
* One of your soldiers you can talk to in the pub may tell you that "Its time to step up, Gerald" in ''VideoGame/KingdomUnderFireTheCrusaders.''
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', after Cloud goes missing and Tifa leaves, Barret talks about taking (back) leadership... but realizes he's not cut out for it (plus everyone present came to the team after Barret's stint as AVALANCHE's leader), so he nominates Cid, who replies "No way. Pain in the ass!" Barret talks him into it, however.
* Optimus finds himself constantly being praised as leadership material after Zeta Prime bites it in ''TransformersWarForCybertron''.
* In ''MassEffect'', after Captain Anderson is forcibly KickedUpstairs by the Alliance brass, Shepard can admit to Joker that they feel guilty about being given command of the ''Normandy'', feeling like they've "stolen" the ship from their mentor.
[[folder: Webcomics ]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': When [[spoiler: Roy is killed during the battle for Azure City,]] Haley is distraught and unable to take action. Durkon reminds her that she's second-in-command, reminds her that [[spoiler: Roy can be resurrected]], and tells her to take action on the situation. This kicks the rogue into action.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'': Gilgamesh questions his father's alleged death because they NeverFoundTheBody; Boris agrees, but says he has direct orders to immediately acknowledge Gil's leadership anyway, just to keep the Empire running smoothly.