I spoke yesterday to the teachers and administrators at the Channahon school district and watched an outstanding leader in action. Karin Evans is the district superintendent and I thought she exhibited four traits of a quality leader in her running the first meeting of the 2013-14 year. She sure demonstrated the characteristics of a great leader articulated in my soon-to-be released book – Attitude – The Cornerstone of Leadership.
First, she was very organized. She developed a theme for the year – Go the Distance and Never Give Up. She showed two excellent videos that highlighted this theme. They were a great way to complement and supplement her goals for the year.
Secondly, she had to get a very lengthy and complicated report to the State of Illinois during the summer months and she did something that the late UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, used to say about leadership. He said, “Give all the credit away.” Karin did just that and integrated it into the first part of her theme, “Go the Distance.” She honored five teachers who came in during the summer and completed the State’s report. They were honored in front of their peers for going the distance.
Third, the audience involved all the people in the district. Not only were the teachers and administrators present, but the bus drivers, the custodians, and the kitchen workers also attended. As the leader of the district, Karin was acknowledging that everyone’s job was important. They all have to work together to serve the students in the very best way possible.
Finally, humor and fun were an integral part of the meeting. Karin made the meeting very enjoyable and laughs were plentiful. I think great leaders demand that their constituents give their best effort every day, but they also can and do add levity into their demands. Karin did both.
It was really enjoyable for me to watch a superb administrator lead her people.