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December 03, 2013  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

Leadership, from Lincoln to school bus drivers

Like this Civil War-era luminary and others, bus drivers provide guidance to their passengers, and they are dedicated and care for those they work with and serve — all characteristics of a great leader.

by Michael Shields and David McCuistion

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Admirable core values  
School bus drivers come from all walks of life and educational backgrounds, and from a variety of prior occupations and experiences — mothers, stay-at-home dads, two-star generals, engineers, company vice presidents, regional managers, pastors, doctors, dentists, lawyers, entrepreneurs, college students, real estate brokers, printers, musicians, retired principals and teachers, state police, firemen, sheriffs, police officers, military members, and on and on.

On a daily basis, school bus drivers exhibit and portray many of the same core values held by Lincoln, Grant and Lee. They are dedicated, loyal, on time and ready to work every day. They are honest and they are content with who they are as people.

Grant and Lee cared about their officers and men, and they were highly respected and trusted. School bus drivers care about the kids who ride their buses and build strong relationships with the children, their parents and co-workers.

Lincoln was a collaborative leader who sought feedback from those around him. School bus drivers work together with others to build a cohesive team. Lincoln and Lee had a stature that portrayed a commanding presence. Drivers exhibit a similar presence when boarding a busload of children — it says, “This is my bus, and we are all going to treat it respectfully.”
Leadership at all levels  
School bus drivers are important leaders at their level in an organization. Lincoln, Grant and Lee were important leaders at their respective levels as well. All were and are adept at recognizing the inner makeup of everyone, building upon their experiences to form a cohesive team of employees.

While Lee grew to prominence through his family tradition of leadership, Lincoln and Grant gained distinction due to their hard work and success. School bus drivers are equally successful in their chosen field of expertise. These people’s leadership has served the needs of others from different levels in society.

But leadership is not about the person’s position of employment, the company he or she works for or one’s station in life. It is about the characteristics of the individual, whether on the job or alone in the dark, helping others, and doing the right thing.

Anyone can be a leader. Are there exemplary leaders throughout your organization? 

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