The first time the word leadership was used is believed to be in 1765. Since then leadership concepts have gone through periodic changes and many definitions. However, the definition of leadership that resonates with me is that leadership is influence, nothing more and nothing less as espoused by Dr. John Maxwell. When you think about it, this definition entails all others in that to fulfill all others to the maximum potential, influence is required. Influence is that ability to get others to do what you want them to do without payment or any other benefit. It is the positive currency that you have as a leader that you acquire when you have shown you care for those you lead, that you will help them and that they will be better off for having followed you.
I learned leadership by experience initially which can be costly, painful and random. Sometimes I think about the lost legacy while I was wandering in the land of hit and miss leadership ability. If I had considered leadership as a contingency plan I would have moved aggressively in this area. I had contingency plans for computer disruption, if someone didn’t show up for work or if we had a crisis in the office, but I did not have one for if the rainmaker was not present. If I had invested time in systematic leadership development that would have helped me considerably in being a better leader and developing leaders so that there would not be a lull in the business regardless of why I was out or for how long.