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Who's Watching Your Lead?

Great leaders are a little bit crazy.  There is always something about them that looks odd.  Mother Theresa spent hours in prayer each day.  Martin Luther was obsessed with his own salvation.  Steve Jobs is so secretive about product development that Apple's success now depends on it.

Leadership is often marked by these odd traits, often only observed behind the scenes.  But to those who work closely with leaders, the quirks and foibles are evident on an almost daily basis. They become "normal" and the organization either works around them or through them.

In short, someone is always watching your lead.

As a school leader, I'm aware of this fact and yet try not to think about it too often.  The cult of personality is not something that would help my organization and would do terrible things to my ego!

My family comes first and provides the ultimate grounding for how I see my work.  The root of the word "humility" is humis or earth.  In other words, a humble person is well-grounded.  Their leadership first sets an example for others.

My daughter reminded me of this principle when I came home to find that she had completed a project for school.  When I asked her how she did it, she shrugged and said, "I just figured it out Dad."  Here's what she did, with no guidance at all from me or her mother:

  • Took a digital photo of herself on an iPhone

  • Synced the iPhone with our home computer and transferred the photo

  • Found the photo in iPhoto

  • Plugged in the printer cable and proceeded to print out her picture

  • Cut out the picture to be included in a poster for school


Not bad for a 9 year old who is bored out of her mind in the late shadows of summer!  I realized that she must have seen me do this same project many times.  (ok minus the poster part)  It was her chance to show Dad her stuff.  And show she did.

Who's watching your lead?  Is a family member observing your good example?  Are your colleagues at work witnessing virtue unfold?

The key of course is to trust in God for the grace to live well.  The follow through is all yours.

*Photo by UND-CFC-USFK

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