If not me, who?

Dennis Sparks

Every day of your life is filled with opportunities to be creative, to act with purpose and potency. You don’t need an elevated position or title of great importance to assume a leadership role. –Larraine Matusak

Successful school communities draw leadership from many sources – students, parents, teachers, and principals. Without such distributed leadership, the school is deprived of the strengths and perspectives found within the community and of the energy that such deep engagement provides.

School community members lead when they:

1. Share knowledge, skill, and/or a point of view with others.

2. Summon the courage to name and describe the elephant in the room – the undiscussable that is holding the group back from an important conversation.

3. Take responsibility for a task or project that they believe is important and won’t get done unless they do it. They live out the philosophy, “if not me, who, if not now, when?”

Please add your comments: What have I missed? In what ways have you observed school community members taking on leadership responsibilities without a formal role?

4 Responses to “If not me, who?”

  1. 1 Naomi Norman January 11, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I have to laugh. Not 5 minutes ago I was talking with my boss saying “If I don’t tackle this, no one will.”

  2. 3 G. Michael Abbott January 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

    This may not fit the category, but as I look back on my career I realize how much I benefitted from some criticisms. I even benefitted from people I despised. I would begin my daily runs angry about something someone had done or said, only to find the issue resolved by the end of the run. I learned a new way to deal with the issue or the person. Are they leaders in disguise?


  3. 4 Dennis Sparks January 11, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Well, Mike, I never thought of those we despise as necessarily being leaders (although they may have that formal role), but I am confident that we can learn important life lessons from virtually everyone.

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