Leaders Leading Leaders: A Lesson in Humility

I am working on my Doctorate in Transformational Leadership.  In my current class we are participating in weekly groups for collaborative assignments due each week.  It amuses me to observe the difficulties we have organizing the groups.  Having too many leaders leads to nowhere!  Reminiscent of how many leaders does it take to screw in a light bulb…..

We are placed into groups to remind us how it feels to be in a group.  We are placed into groups to reinforce the importance of teamwork and communication.  I often wonder if the professors are observing our behaviors.  In reality, though, do we really have to declare a group leader?  Why can’t we all work together, divide up our work, and combine it as a true group effort?  Are my colleagues truly understanding that it is not so much the product, but the process?

If all would just take a breath and step back, show a little vulnerability and humility, the assignment would be completed much quicker and easier – and with much less stress.  Leaders are given the opportunity to lead because they are honest and trustworthy.  Leaders cannot lead without followers.  Palmer (2007) reminds us that “authority is granted to people who are perceived as authoring their own words, their own actions, their own lives, rather than playing a scripted role at great remove from their own hearts”.

antelope-looking-at-me-roswell-nmI was humbled twice today – once by a colleague, and once by an antelope.  My colleague very openly told me how glad she and her supervisor were that I was not changing jobs.  Her words and honesty really touched me.  And the antelope….along this stretch of highway to Roswell, NM, antelope are a pretty common sight.  This antelope was near the fence, so I pulled off the road to get a picture.  The antelope watched me get out of the car and ran off.  I stood there quietly and started taking pictures.  He then stopped, turned around, and watched me.  Then he came back to the fence.  How amazing that he trusted me!

I am thankful to the people that trust me to guide them and to learn with them.


Palmer, P. (2007).  The courage to teach.  Exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.

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