Not so. Leadership is available to anyone at any time. It can be developed and cultivated and leadership opportunities are all around us.
Leadership comes from patience, listening to others and using a dollop of courage when an action or the right word is clear to you. Leadership is innovative, collegial, cooperative, imaginative, trustworthy, inclusive, and raises the highest standards against itself. Leadership is humble but not fearful, confident but not arrogant, intelligent but not effete.
Leadership is a quality to cultivate for the new economy, and on a daily basis. How? Every day do one thing that makes you uncomfortable (learn one more piece of Excel or change your gym routine and start lifting weights instead of zoning out on the treadmill). Pick up the phone and make that call you've been putting off. Leadership is courageous, lively action and it begets its own good energy. Others will follow because this energy is infectious.
And leadership is competitive in the job market. It has an aura, a certain attractive quality that complements your ordinary skill set. It's an intangible that might just make the critical difference in your next interview. And it will keep your good job around longer. When money is scarce and fear is in the air, leadership is what pulls everyone through.