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Leadership Poetry: Leadership for the Heart

I've been reading Learning from Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success by Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins. I highly recommend it because the authors do a masterful job of examinig Lincoln's leadership styles and applying modern leadership models to his practices. If you're a Lincoln fan, this book is a "must read."

Two of my favorite passages from the book are listed below in which the authors cite work by R. Ackerman and P. Maslin-Ostrowski, and by Jim Collins:



How does a reasonable, well intentioned person who happens to be a school leader preserve a healthy sense of self in the face of a host of factors that may challenge the self or lead to a wounding crisis?
                                                                                                           R. Ackerman and P. Maslin-Ostrowski
The beginning is self-knowledge. What are you passionate about?
Level 5 leaders care about the cause, the work, the movement, the mission. Not themselves.
Level 5 leaders have the will to do whatever it takes through a balance of humility and professional will. 
                                                                                                           Jim Collins



To me, the first passage by Ackerman and Maslin-Ostroski sums up the feelings I often encounter as I work through difficult situations. It poses the question I often ask myself: How do we survive and thrive in these difficult times for educators?

The second passage by Collins provides an answer. Yes, as school leaders we get pummeled from time to time, but to keep going we must go back to the very heart of why we're here: to move the organization forward so that we can improve education for our students.

I thought these authors did such a nice job with the wording that it would make a powerful poem, so I rewrote them both and linked them together ---- as a poem.



How
does a reasonable, well intentioned
person
who happens to be a school
leader preserve a healthy sense of self
in the face of a host of factors
that may challenge the self
or lead
to
a wounding crisis?

The beginning
is self-knowledge.
What are you passionate about?

Level 5 leaders
care
about the cause
the work,
the movement,
the mission

Not themselves

Level 5 leaders
have the will to do
whatever it takes
through a balance
of humility
and
professional will.



I think there are other leadership pieces out there that would work well as poetry. The words of our theorists are sometimes meant to go to the heart, and if we put their words into poetry, the words get there faster.

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