A Lesson About Leadership

Listening to politicians’ nasty rhetoric, one might think

that leadership has to be aggressive and confrontational,

but consider this parable about leadership.

A student assigned to write an essay about an effective

leader wrote this story:

I’ve been taking a bus to school for years. Most

passengers keep to themselves and no one ever talks to

anyone else.

About a year ago, an elderly man got on the bus and said

loudly to the driver, ‘Good morning!’ Most people looked up,

annoyed, and the bus driver just grunted. The next day the

man got on at the same stop and again he said loudly, ‘Good

morning!’ to the driver. Another grunt. By the fifth day,

the driver relented and greeted the man with a semi-

cheerful ‘Good morning!’ The man announced, ‘My name is

Benny,’ and asked the driver, ‘What’s yours?’ The driver

said his name was Ralph.

That was the first time any of us heard the driver’s name

and soon people began to talk to each other and say hello

to Ralph and Benny. Soon Benny extended his cheerful

‘Good morning!’ to the whole bus. Within a few days his

‘Good morning!’ was returned by a whole bunch of ‘Good

mornings’ and the entire bus seemed to be friendlier. People

got to know each other.

“If a leader is someone who makes something happen,

Benny was our leader in friendliness.”

A month ago, Benny didn’t get on the bus and we haven’t

seen him since. Everyone began to ask about Benny and

lots of people said he may have died. No one knew what to

do and the bus got awful quiet again. So last week, I

started to act like Benny and say, ‘Good morning!’ to

everyone and they cheered up again. I guess I’m the leader

now. I hope Benny comes back to see what he started.

What do you think?

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