In response to the post, “Great Advice… Sunberg Wisdom,” a reader writes:

“We really do need more strong shepherds in educational leadership. And what is the shepherd’s main tool of accountability and control: The sheep dog! The sheep dog fights off the wolves and protects and guides the sheep. Once again, surrounding yourself with other trustworthy, hardworking, common-sense, loyal colleagues is worth more than gold or silver. Be the Shepherd, AMEN!”

SC Response
The reader reveals a nuance of the advice that I had yet to consider. I had always personalized the advice to the point that one should attempt to lead in whatever position you are in. Master teachers should take a leadership role with novice teachers. Department chairs must embrace the leadership role over their department. And so on, up to the Superintendent and Board.

But (and great insight reader), when you are in a leadership role, you also have a duty and responsibility to develop other leaders. You have to identify, coach and support the sheep dogs. If you don’t, you’ll never develop the leadership capacity required to move and sustain a vibrant, learning organization.

Just to take the analogy one step further, a staff composed of a lot of sheep makes up the typical school. A staff composed of lots of formal and informal sheep dogs makes up the near great and great schools.

Think. Work. Acheive.

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