A Reader Writes… (They Say)

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In response to the post, “They Say,” a reader writes:

“Sean,

When I read this, as I finished I realized I was holding my breath at the end!

In consideration of all eventualities of my ongoing leadership journey, I recently spent time on a secondary campus. One of the main things I realized was that good leaders can be successful anywhere – strength shows and people seek leadership, even kids.

I felt honored to have the chance to work with some older students, and one even left me with that ‘tear in your eye’ feeling when we finished our conversation – like I touched a cord and that he might reconsider the path he is on and choose to become the person I could see he is but is not showing to his teachers.

All to say that with my recent experiences and some reflection on the recent posts about ‘Teaching to the Test,’ my courage has grown correlatively to the point where I have the confidence to get off my butt and make others stand along side me. My battle to make sure good instructors are in classrooms cannot be ‘won’ alone, and I choose to no longer to attempt it alone either, and those around me know it. So they can saddle up and ride long and hard through every storm, or go home and grow old.

Happiest of holidays to the Cain household and thank you both for the support!”

SC Response
Great comment! One of the best parts of my job is watching young leaders ‘get it.’ It’s like a switch is flipped and all of a sudden that person understands that they are the catalyst, not a passenger. You have discovered the insight that managers always miss and poor and/or tired leaders ignore, people crave leadership. Without leadership, over time people take the path of least resistance and go through the motions, never coming close to reaching their potential. Though that seemingly makes the individual days easier (in actuality, it does not), the long term results are opportunity constantly squandered, futures diminished and careers compromised.

True leadership forces us to overcome our weaknesses, fears and self interest and focus on achieving the greater good. I have the capacity for exceptional work, but I also have the capacity for exceptional laziness. Laziness I can disguise because my basic talent level allows me to remain in the comfortable middle. Fortunately, I have been surrounded by leaders who have challenged me and forced me out of my comfort zone. Low expectations and a morale first mentality are the tools of managers. High expectations and a performance first mentality are the tools of leadership. As you are beginning to realize, it is your choice what set of tools you use.

Congratulations and welcome to the leadership club. The on going price of membership is stress, sleepless nights, low hourly pay and the thrill of accomplishment. And do know, the Cain household couldn’t be more proud of you.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Think. Work. Achieve.

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