Do you have good ideas? Okay. If you have good ideas and good understanding, can you be more effective for the company as a whole as an individual contributor or a leader of six or seven decent implementors/learners?
- If you can push ideas, techniques, and wisdom into other team members, you can make your whole team more effective.
- Formalization/recognition of this helps to grease organizational uptake (though this can admittedly break down). Still, making you a team lead is putting faith in your judgment. This is not necessarily the same as making you a manager, but there is some crossover.
- If you weren't the leader because you actively declined the position, congratulations, you just demonstrated an unwillingness to be leveraged.
I'm not a manager, and I prefer when ideas trump rank, but get real. Companies want people who can help them cultivate teams and act as rudders. They're looking for people they can leverage to make their whole team better.
And, yes, "leverage" is a douchy management word these days, but anyone should get what I mean here. You may not sure that it is right, but people who lift teams up are hard to find.
That said, if you're the silent type, lead with code. Create examples of competence, and see them ask the way through, even if that means finding advocates to help you. There are ways to demonstrate value and improve your resume that don't require taking on leadership positions.