On Leadership and the Impact of Not Being Noticed

My family bought me a running hat as a Father’s Day gift.

Here it is:



You notice the drops of sweat surrounding it as I wore it the same morning I received it and ran 23 kilometers. It doesn’t look like much, but I love it. I will tell you why.

I am a creature of habit, and I tend to do the same things each week, with only minor tweaks to optimize performance in my runs.

If I have a bad long run on a Sunday, I go through everything I ate the week prior, especially the night before. Did it help or hinder?

A couple of weeks prior, I noticed that it was pretty hot, and the hat I usually wear weighed on my head and annoyed me while I was running. Still, it is the same hat I wear each week, and I am a bit superstitious in my approach to things. But with my kids watching, and it being their Father’s Day gift to me, I put on my new gift and went off for my run.

As I returned home, Paige saw me coming up the sidewalk and asked, “How is your new hat?”

I responded, “Honestly, I didn’t even notice it.”

That makes it a good running hat.

A new tweak has now been added to my training.

I used to ref basketball, and what I learned about the process is that the best referees in any sport are the ones you don’t notice.

Think about it. If you are frustrated with the referee, and they are becoming the game’s focal point, they probably aren’t doing a great job.

The same idea holds true in leadership. When the leader becomes the focal point, more often than not, it can be a viewed as a negative.

But like my running hat, a great leader will help you accomplish what you need to achieve and probably not be that noticeable.

As I worked with school-based and central-office administrators this past week, I asked them the question, “Is your job focused on removing as many barriers away from your staff so they can focus on their job in front of them, or do you add to their plate to justify your own position?”

I have never been a fan of “My admin just lets me do whatever I want!” Like a great coach, a great leader will help you improve and grow.

But the focus will be more on you becoming your best rather than them looking their best.

Weirdly enough, like a great hat and a great referee, if they help you become your best, they will benefit tremendously in their own career.

Leadership is about lifting others, which in turn, will elevate you. It does have to go in that order.

Just some thoughts from a Sunday run with a nice new hat.


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