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How Much Leadership is Enough?

I was working on a project outside this weekend and had to chuckle to myself about the leadership that's been required from educators over the past several months. (And when I say, "chuckle" I think I mean wince.) I'll share more about the project I was working on in a second, but first I want to acknowledge something.

I know many educators are pouring themselves into their work and the people they serve. And it's been incredibly difficult for reasons we know all too well. This got me thinking about leadership and a question came to mind, How much leadership is enough?

Before I answer this, I want to share a little more about the project I was working on. This weekend I stopped by a home improvement store to pick up some landscaping mulch. After ticking a few other items off my home improvement to-do list, I eventually made it to the mulch aisle and started heaving giant bags on a flatbed cart.

As my cart transformed into a mountain of mulch, I started to wonder if I was going overboard. When I felt sure I had enough, I bent down and grabbed two more bags for good measure. (This wasn't my first landscaping project.)

Once I got back home, I grabbed a rake and lugged 15 bags of mulch towards a grouping of pine trees in the backyard. When all was said and done, the mulch I had purchased only covered half of the area I needed it to. To make a long story short, my wife and I ended up making a second mulch trip the following day and loaded up two more flatbed carts full of mulch.

Here's the thing...when I was at the store the first time it seemed as though I had enough mulch to top-off an entire elementary school playground. I mean it seriously felt like I was set. However, once those bags of mulch were scattered around the pine trees in my backyard the scale seemed to change. And this got me thinking about leadership.

It's impossible to carry all the tools, answers, strategies, and skills you might need into any given leadership challenge. Fortunately, we can carry enough of the right skills and strategies into a leadership challenge to be helpful. The key is being sure you take the things that matter most.

So what are the things that matter most?!

I was fortunate to be asked to share a message on this for the Teacher Success Summit. My message will be about carrying the right things and it's titled "3 Gifts that will Help You Help Others." It's a heartfelt summary of the three things that I try to carry with me wherever I go as a leader.

You can sign-up for the Teacher Success Summit for FREE by going to

The summit is open to everyone at no cost from October 19-23, 2020. As a disclaimer, you can choose to get expanded access to 100+ sessions for a full year for a fee and a portion of that fee would go to me. However, that's not why I'm here.

I'm sharing this blog post and my message at the summit because leadership isn't about how much we carry. Leadership is about finding the few precious things people actually need us to carry in order to serve them more effectively.

If this blog post resonated, you might like my newest book, Reclaiming Our Calling: Hold on to the Heart, Mind, and Hope of Education. The book tackles a tension many educators are feeling using a combination of stories and practical strategies. If you’re interested in technology integration, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students is a best-seller with Corwin Press. Both books are built on the belief that everything we do in education starts with relationships and connectedness.




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