A good friend of mine, Jim, ran a dog-training business. One of his own dogs had a litter of pups and he right away realized that one of the new puppies seemed to be special. And he wasn’t wrong. Early on the new little puppy just seemed to have something about her that put her a cut above the rest of her siblings. As my friend sold the rest of the litter of puppies, he decided to keep this special one and out of respect for his wife, who had been a teacher for many
years, named his new dog Teacher. As the puppy grew, the other dogs seemed to congregate around her. She had a knack for learning quickly, doing the right thing, and being in the right place. The other dogs in training must have noticed it as well because they always seemed to follow her around. She actually made Jim’s job of training dogs a little easier because they would often mimic how Teacher would act.
As time when by Teacher got better and better and became more and more of a leader. Jim made a decision one day to change her name to Principal. The new name fit her well, Jim thought. Principal seemed to have a servant demeanor but at the same time be able to model and encourage appropriate behavior from the other dogs. It was almost as if she knew she was teaching the other dogs. Over time, just Principal’s presence seemed to build confidence in the other dogs that were around her.
Now for one of the biggest mistakes of Jim’s life. He got up one morning, ate breakfast, went outside and walked over to Principal and said, “Principal, you are such a good leader that I am changing your name again. This time to
Superintendent.” Now all she does is sits on the porch and barks at people, and other dogs, when they go by. My mom always told me not to get too big for my britches. Don’t start thinking you know it all. Don’t decide that others must not
be able to make the proper decisions if I don’t tell them what to do. Don’t start believing that I being bossy is good leadership. Don’t think too much.
Sometimes we make things too complicated. We can find lists and lists of explanations out there about how to be a good leaders. There are obviously some things we can learn about the “content” of our jobs that will be helpful. This
knowledge is certainly necessary. But sometimes we just have to be a good person, follow our conscience, treat people right, model good behavior, and maybe not think so much. People can “feel” who a good leader is when they are
around them. Sometimes all it takes to lead people is to do what’s right. It’s really pretty simple.