An audience member from a recent “Be the Shepherd: What Every School Leader Should Know about Leading Change,” presentation that I gave, asks:

“Sean, I attended your “Be the Shepherd,” workshop and appreciated the insights and rubrics you put before us. I am a bit confused on one point and hope that it is just because I missed a key part of the puzzle somewhere before, during, or after your presentation…as follows:

I originally decided to attend your workshop because of the title itself and my particular vested interest in “shepherding” as a key and critical model for successful leadership. I have taught from that perspective in the classroom, for non-profit organizations, and for administrator certification courses. I was hoping to broaden and deepen my understanding of this model. Strange that I only heard in the last minute of the presentation the urging to “be the shepherd.”

As a communications instructor in my past, I know that the ear focuses on what the mind expects. If the ear doesn’t hear the expectation the mind either becomes critical or absent. I was neither. However, can you explain the intent of the title as it related specifically to the presentation and is there another workshop that you offer which more specifically deals with the shepherding model as one for successful leadership?”

SC Response
I don’t think that you missed anything. The presentation was meant as an introduction to the coaching and leadership practices and beliefs of the Lead Your School organization. We believe that there is a moral obligation that we have to fulfill, if and when we assume leadership roles. Or in other words, “Be the Shepherd.”

I also have been taught that when you present you should lead with your second best material and end with your best material. For the presentation that you attended, I wanted the audience to leave with at-least the awareness that their leadership is bigger that just their self interest, again, “Be the Shepherd.”

I think we are on the same page with the understanding that non-profit leadership can be significantly different from for profit and para-military leadership. John Maxwell does an excellent job of describing this when he talks of “Church Leadership.” Coercion can only take you so far, or to paraphrase Covey, “volunteers” are more productive than “employees.”

As far as your question of follow-up; every group training and individual coaching session that we lead focuses on the need to place the needs of others above self. For us it is as simple as this – that is what coaches and shepherds do.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…