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
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.