My #1 Rule for Leadership

I’ve studied leadership very closely.  I’ve been a leader of some kind for many years. Throughout all of my reading and coursework, I don’t think anyone ever specifically told me what I now believe to be the #1 rule for leadership.  I’ve worked with and been around people that are just amazing leaders.  But not one ever told me this.

Be a great person.

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Think about the best leaders you know.  Or the worst.  My hunch is the quality of a person they are significantly impacts their ability to lead.  Maybe we just assume leaders are good people.  Well, when I look around at many leaders right now, I’m not sure that is the correct assumption.  When I reflect on my leadership experiences, the type of person I have been has directly impacted how well I have led.

  1. For 12 years I was a varsity basketball coach.  4 of those years coaching girls at Kent City and 8 coaching boys in Cedar Springs.  I was still figuring out who I was as a person during many of those years.  One of my biggest takeaways during those years was how some kids would put their individual needs aside just to be part of the team.  I learned selflessness from kids like Jake Porter, Cannon Waite, Andrew Morrow, and Tyler Case.
  2. During my 2 years as an assistant principal at Cedar Trails Elementary, I was fortunate to be around a teaching staff with a lot of experience.  That staff probably helped me and pulled me along more than I even did for them.  I learned a lot about professionalism and how to approach my job each day.
  3. I am proud of many things we accomplished during my 4 years at Cedar View. That was a dynamic staff, with amazing strengths, and varied philosophies.  We created an environment focused on supporting students to become better people and moved instruction emphasizing the skills that students will need in the 21st century.  If I would’ve been a better person, and thus a better leader, we could’ve gone even further.
  4. Now at Jamestown Elementary, we have all the pieces.  It’s like the football team without a weakness.  We got LB’s, DB’s, and an offensive line.  Our teaching staff is the hardest working I’ve been around in 20 years.  They are talented, collaborative, focused, and invested into our school and the district.  We have a great culture that is only getting better due to the positive energy that seems to pour out of our walls.  Our support staff is smart, committed, and capable of taking on so many important roles. That doesn’t mean that we can’t get better.  There are specifics that we can and must improve upon.  We need to continue to innovate and grow as individuals and as a group with an intense thirst for greatness that possesses us each and every day.  It’s a perfect storm but in a good way, because of where this staff is and where I am.  With the support of so many people, I’ve navigated through the journey of life to become the best person I’ve ever been.  That will allow me to be the best leader I’ve ever been.  It’s so exciting to think this will be the worst year as a leader I will have at Jamestown because I’m only going to get better.  Much better.

What I’ve learned over the journey of life and of leadership...Be a great person.  That will greatly impact the ceiling of your leadership.

Be a great person.

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