In my last corporate gig, I reported to the Vice President of Marketing. One of my most important functions was to translate the "geek". He wasn't a programmer, or a designer. But he needed to understand what was going on so he could run the business. That's where I fit in... I translated the geek. I was his "Universal Translator".
When the stakes are high, great leaders can rally people to a cause with just a few words. On October 29, 1941 Winston Churchill spoke to the boys at Harrow School. "Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
Leaders influence people at every level. Some lead thousands or even millions, others lead one or two. The success of their leadership isn't found in the number of people in their "chain of command", but how they influence those for whom they are responsible.
In 1989, I attended a Pastor's conference at Muskoka Baptist Conference, two hours north of Toronto. At the time, I was an Associate Pastor in a church in Toronto, ON. The speaker was the pastor of a growing church in La Mesa, CA. I'd never heard of him but I remember one of the first things he said: Leadership is Influence. Period.
At a glance, "Leadership" seems to be a vast and complex topic. Its been the foundation of thousands of studies, hundreds of thousands of articles and more than a few hours in classrooms from MBA's to Seminaries. Opinions on what leadership is, how to exercise it and how to "fix" it abound. In the words of General Stanley McChrystal - "'Leadership' was the single biggest reason organizations succeeded or failed."
I've been reading a lot about non-profit boards lately. I've participated in several and I was just elected to the Open Source Matters board which oversees aspects the Joomla! project.
I presented the Friday afternoon keynote address at the 2013 Joomla World Conference this week (http://conference.joomla.org). (video after the break)"Live Long and Prosper - 10 Business Tips from Star Trek" was really inspired by the room we were meeting in at Harvard University. Really great venue!