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October 11, 2012  |   Comments (3)   |   Post a comment

How to be a great leader

Leaders are continuously looking for ways to improve, and they are always willing to help. In order to be a great leader, one should always remember the three Rs: respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all of one’s own actions.

by Pam McDonald


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  • Orange (Calif.) Unified School District director of transportation Pam McDonald says leaders are continuously looking for ways to improve.
    <p>Orange (Calif.) Unified School District director of transportation Pam McDonald says leaders are continuously looking for ways to improve.</p>
    When I think about leadership, I think of people who demonstrate great communication, persistence and determination.

Some people are born with these characteristics, and others develop them. Here are some key leadership qualities:

• Leaders refuse to let anyone or anything get in the way of achieving their dreams.
• Leaders move their vision forward despite any obstacles, always striving toward their goals.
• They are continuously looking for ways to improve.
• They are always willing to help.
• They follow through.
• They reach out to those who need mentoring.
• They offer their advice to energize their teams and to help their organizations achieve success.

Are you a leader? You can be.

A great leader must increase his or her influence, up and down the ladder. There are bad, good and great leaders, and anyone who is a leader should continuously evaluate his or her own leadership skills.

In order to be a great leader, one should always remember the three Rs:
• Respect for self
• Respect for others
• Responsibility for all of one’s own actions

Remember to stop and take a look at the big picture. Plan, organize and then make it happen.

Build real trust and follow through. Do the right things instead of doing things right. Remember: If you lose it, you lose credibility.

Another point to remember: Great achievements very often involve great risk.

Always understand the needs of others and strive to meet them. Give people more than they expect, and communicate with them in ways that lead to fair and positive outcomes.

Take a look around, and you will realize how many great leaders you are in the midst of. It is OK to use what you see in them to make yourself a better leader.

Pam McDonald is director of transportation at Orange (Calif.) Unified School District. She is a member of the SCHOOL BUS FLEET editorial advisory board. She can be reached at pama@orangeusd.org.


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Pam I just wanted to say thank you so much. I hope you still remember me. Hamdan

HAMDAN    |    Jul 16, 2013 03:08 AM

Pam, I just wanted to say that I felt that your article is right on. I am a Transportation Director in KS and actually moving to IL to take over as Transportation Director in a larger School District. One thing that has helped me was the Leadership classes that I have taken say the same things in them. I look forward to reading more good articles in the future. Ron

Ronald A Christlieb    |    Dec 21, 2012 07:37 AM

Pam, It has been exciting and inspiring to watch you emerge as a national leader in the field of school bus transportation. I admire your knowledge, work ethic and casual social style. You know how to work hard and have fun with your friends and peers. Linda

Linda Bluth    |    Oct 11, 2012 03:11 PM

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