Outdoor Leadership

Our new head of school invited us, the faculty, to come out for a work party day yesterday.  About fifteen staff members including me showed up to pull weeds, paint railings, trim branches, and do a number of moderate-skill, high-visibility jobs around campus.  I had to go shortly before lunch, but the work we did between 9:30 and noon made the area around each entrance to the main school building look a LOT better.

I didn’t see this happen, but several of my colleagues reported on it at lunch.  A gentleman in a suit and tie showed up, looking very busy, and said, “excuse me,” to a tall fellow in a baseball cap, wearing a sweaty t-shirt pulling weeds.  “But can you direct me to the head of school?”  It was clear that this gentleman had more important things to talk about than weeding, and more important things to do than talk to a maintenance man.

The tall fellow in the baseball cap responded, “I am the head of school,” and held out a dirty hand.

I bet that next year, or the year after, we have forty or fifty of our colleagues out there in the sun, cleaning up the campus.  And there will be tremendous buy-in to the idea, because the head of school is out there, getting his hands dirty.

So I say to you, the leaders of schools, that you should get your hands dirty.  Get out there and do some weeding.

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