To Lead is to Live Dangerously

About 1 week ago, I began reading, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading, by Heifetz and Linsky.  It was a recommendation that I think will be very beneficial and will help me as I continue to develop my leadership skills.

Here are some powerful-to-me quotes from the introduction that struck me:

“To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear … – with nothing more to offer perhaps than a possibility.”

“Moreover, leadership often means exceeding the authority you are given to tackle the challenge at hand. People push back when you disturb the personal and institutional equilibrium they know. And people resist in all kinds of creative and unexpected ways that can get you taken out of the game: pushed aside, undermined, or eliminated.”

“However gentle your style, however careful your strategy, however sure you may be that you are on the right track, leading is risky business.”

It is very risky because no matter what you do, even if you try hard to do everything right, other people can impact your leadership – and how other’s perceive you. An important lesson to always keep in the back of your mind: perception is reality. In December, I read a powerful blog post by Jordan Tinney (@jordantinney) that resonated with me.  In part, Jordan writes,

“Knowing oneself is imperative; however, it may be that your ability to understand how others perceive you that will be a more powerful tool to help you be a better leader.”

This quote is so very true and transformative if leaders really take the time to reflect on what this quote (and the rest of Jordan’s blog post) means for them.

“To adapt a phrase from Johnny Cash, we believe you can “walk the line”, step forward, make a difference, take the heat, and survive to delight in the fruits of your labour.”

I really look forward to reading how the authors of this book suggest doing this.

“By making the lives of people around you better, leadership provides meaning in life. It creates purpose.”

Someone asked me last week why I would ever want to be an elementary school administrator. Well, I strongly believe in leadership – the quote above sums up leadership for me. The possibilities are endless. The sense of fulfillment, bountiful. Difficult?  Sure. Worthwhile? Absolutely!

“…this book is about you, about how to survive and thrive amidst the dangers of leadership.”

“This book is about putting yourself and your ideas on the line, responding effectively to the risks, and living to celebrate the meaning of your efforts.

This book is very appropriate for school administrators. It is what we do every day: put ourselves on the line.  As long as we are doing things in the best interest of our students, it is all worth it.  They are who really matter.  I look forward to learning more about myself and others as I continue to read Leadership on the Line.

I hope you enjoyed the quotes shared in this post. They were very powerful for me and make me look forward to continuing to read this book on leadership..

Stay tuned . . . as I read, I will continue to blog about this book and how it impacts my journey.

I’d love to hear about the difficult times you’ve had in your leadership journey.

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About T. Henriksen

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am a Vice-Principal of an elementary school in a wonderful, vibrant, complex, and growing school district. I have worked in this district since 1995, and became a Vice-Principal in 2005. Lastly, I am a person who loves photography. I gain so much enjoyment and satisfaction taking photos. I have learned a great deal about photography since I purchased my first dSLR in 2008. There is so much more to learn though! All three of these things help to describe who I am as a person, but also demonstrate my love of learning - nothing is ever stagnant with any of these. I love to learn!
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5 Responses to To Lead is to Live Dangerously

  1. Robyn Thiessen says:

    Tia,

    I appreciate the honesty of your post. Weary was my word last week as well. Know you are not alone…..I believe that the greatest challenges offer the greatest opportunities. I just wish they didn’t deflate us quite so much!
    Robyn

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Hi Robyn,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my post. I hope you are not still weary. As you will see from my newest post, I choose to move forward and not dwell on the negativity. Yes, I will take this as a challenge. Well, maybe not a challenge, but I won’t let it deflate me anymore. I can’t. It’s just not healthy. It’s just not who I am as a person.

      I hope you have a lovely week!
      Tia

  2. Ron Sherman says:

    Hi Tia
    I read your post this morning and wanted to retweet all the quotes! This book really does seem timely for all of us who lead in dangerous times. There’s comfort in knowing we’re not alone, and that others have faced the challenge before us. And, of course, our community of learners and supporters online is of great help. Thanks for sharing this, and continued success!
    Ron

    • T. Henriksen says:

      Hi Ron,

      I know, right? This book started out with some amazing quotes! I could have even quoted more of them in my post.

      I am glad we are not alone. Leadership can be lonely, if you let it, but thank goodness we have our PLN to reach out to.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Best wishes to a positive end to your school year!
      Tia

  3. Pingback: Leadership Lessons | It's All About Learning

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