Walk the Talk

Written By smcneely

On April 20, 2011

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This movie is from a recent Leadership Summit I directed with teachers in Mishawaka IN. It’s not at all an accident that the messages of leadership that inspired them (and thus got embedded in the movie) are similar themes that run through today’s post.

I am fascinated by leadership inventories, and use them quite a bit in the work that I do with teacher leaders and administrators. My favorite self-assessment is based on the Native American Lakota Medicine Wheel which suggests the best leaders reside somewhere in the center of a wheel surrounded by qualities of fortitude, vision, detail, and relationships, with these four traits driving all the leader’s decision-making. Each time I complete the inventory process with a group, it’s inevitable that people want to isolate one quality as more important than the others, which always leads me back to a conversation about balance.

The best leaders I know aren’t effective because of one quality, but instead because they hold numerous traits that shape the way they think and move through their work. Balanced leaders are transparent models for those around them. There is no mystery or doubt regarding their purpose or agenda. Their steps are measured against the organization’s values. Their work is built on the same quality standards the group is assigned to uphold, and they treat people the way they want to be treated.

Balance is the key to being an effective leader- balance, and walking the talk.