Betsy’s Bits

Betsy Blankenship, Ohio State University, Marion

As the new Vice President, I have been busy learning (and relearning!) much of how ALAO operates and interacts within the board, with its members, and with those who help us run the organization. Some of you know me well, others I have been fortunate to meet through the recent ALAO Leadership Retreat and the various conferences and workshops we offer. I want to get to know you better and I want you to get to know me a little better. I hope you will indulge my random musings from time to time.

At the recent ALAO Leadership Retreat, we engaged in a get-to-know you session where we matched authors with leadership-type quotes. What a hoot! Sue did a great job picking out some really great quotes. Many are still so relevant today that I thought I would share some with you this year and offer my take on what they say to me. I hope you reflect on them and see what they say to you.

“To lead the people, walk behind them.” – Lao-Tzu

Lao-Tzu was a Chinese philosopher and the founder of Taoism; he lived from 604 B.C. – 531 B.C. I think he offers some powerful ideas in a very simple way.

What does this say to me? It says that I need to be a good supporter. Folks often have a different perspective from the back and if you do not remember as a leader to turn around and check out the view from that position, you will never know where you should be going and who might actually get you there. Often, leaders must be very visible; but success comes with teamwork and a shared vision and achievable goals. The leader is not always the best person to implement change; others are often a better choice. A good leader recognizes the value and talents of those around him/her and allows them “to lead the people” in place of him/her by encouraging and supporting their efforts and offering opportunities to lead. In other words, when you step back and allow the people to grow and shine, you successfully lead the people by allowing them to lead themselves.
So what does it say to you?

Cheers until next time,
Betsy Blankenship
Your Vice-President of ALAO

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This entry was posted in Vol. 30 no. 3 (Sept. 2012). Bookmark the permalink.

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