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No Leader Is Always Right. Is That OK?

Source | | Jill Berkowicz | Ann Myers

As this Labor Day passes, educational leaders must remember that part of their work is to teach about leadership by being a living example in the community. Living that work is what produces results for children now. It also inspires all of us, improves our future, and develops the nation. That is why the leader’s work is so valuable and why leadership wisdom matters.

As schools begin in earnest, some are reminded of the things about their school leader(s) that are frustrating or even destructive. There are those among us who have chosen to leave for another school or district to avoid the consequences of working for a weak or duplicitous leader. Others, for a variety of reasons, remain, feeling trapped and cynical. They end up, intentionally or not, contributing to the lack of a positive environment for students. This doesn’t just happen in schools. It happens in all organizations.

Respecting the Leader and Respecting the Office

We are living through a national conundrum, not just about policy but about the values of a nation. Of course, the national leader is at the center of the dilemma but it has been brewing for long before him. And, those of us who are observers of societies and organizations know the pendulum may swing before it comes back to rest. Separating respect for an office and respect for the occupant of it is difficult. Here’s the contrast at a real basic level. One of us was standing in line at a sporting event recently when the national anthem began to play. Men removed their hats, some placed hands over their hearts, most were silent. The people behind us were not. When they asked what was happening and were told it was the national anthem, they responded by agreeing to continue talking saying they didn’t want to offer respect to the man in the office. For whatever it was worth, we offered a different opinion about respect for the nation but Americans can choose a response and, for that, we are especially grateful.

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