I recently came across the following quote in a fairly significant leadership book, The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Rashow, and Marty Linsky.
"The word leader comes from the Indo-European root word leit, the name for the person who carried the flag in front of army going into battle and usually died in the first enemy attack. His sacrifice would alert the rest of the army to the location of the danger ahead." Page 26 of The Practice of Adaptive Leadership
The problem is that I'm having difficulty finding any source that confirms that 'leit' referred to the flag bearer in a battle. I've found that it means "to leave" and "to die", but I'm not finding where the flag bearer concept came from, and they don't cite a source.
So I have two questions: Did 'leit' refer to the person carrying the flag going into battle? If not, what is a fuller meaning of the word as it was originally used?
Thank you so much. Miguel