1 Leadership Journey: Skill or Personal Mission?

Priscilla Shumway

“Leadership is simply having something left over, after taking care of yourself, to care for someone or something else.”

—John Ertha, Founder of Homestead

John Ertha died at the age of eighty-two after a life dedicated to education, theater, and leadership development for children and teens. He taught them to “work hard with others to achieve a common goal and to expect great things from themselves. Most importantly, they learned to value and respect the differences between people and understand that everyone has a contribution to make if allowed to participate” (Portland Press Herald, Oct. 18, 2009).

What wonderful lessons on leadership for children and teens—and what wonderful lessons for leadership in the world of work!

Leaders can be found in all walks of life, of all ages, races, creeds, and nations. Leadership demands much from us, despite our motivations to lead, the challenges we face, or the various opportunities presented to us. As Carolyn Warner points out in her book, Words of Extraordinary Women:

“The Japanese word for teacher is sensei, which means far more than just someone who instructs. The literal meaning of the word is honored leader. A sensei is a guide, a mentor, giver and sharer not just of information, but of knowledge. And when I think of the greatest leaders that I know, or have studied, they combine all of these qualities.”

In Real Women, Real Leaders, our authors share stories about their ...

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