Wednesday, July 8, 2009


At the dinner table last night, we had an interesting discussion about leadership. What does it take to be a leader?
A leader needs to have knowledge - be smart, able to think on their feet, able to grasp new ideas and listen. But then I think the most important ingredient is wisdom. That inherent ability to see right from wrong and then take a stand. Taking a stand means choosing a side and choosing a side means you will alienate someone, and possibly even cause harm.
For a while I was the editor of the Peotone Vedette - a weekly newspaper in the town of Peotone about an hour south of Chicago. Covering the school board was my main duty.
One night as we were leaving the ball park (where we lived during baseball and softball season), Mike said to me, "___________ was really nice to you." The blank represents the name of a school board member.
I responded, "Yeah, he liked what I wrote in the paper this week. Give it time, he won't be speaking to me soon, I'm sure."
A superintendent resigned because of a confrontation I had with him over ethics. He yelled at me and was very upset - however a teacher told me they had put up a copy of my editorial about the superintendent in the teachers lounge at the high school.
And then when I reported the school board was correct in not laying out details of the firing of a teacher - the teachers didn't talk to me for weeks.
Being a leader is hard. You stand up and take the shots and everybody never likes you at the same time.
A leader has to be above being liked. I think I'll say a prayer for all the leaders in my life today and be ready the next time I'm called to lead.
After all, that wisdom thing? I think it comes from God.

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