A Parable About Leadership 739.5

As the nasty rhetoric of the upcoming presidential campaign sends the message that leadership must be aggressive and confrontational, 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.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 6

  1. This is cool. Benny had been the leader, but he’s no longer there. Leadership is situational. The new guy stepped forward as the new leader, and his daily greeting has a positive, ripple effect on everyone on the bus, just as Benny had previously done.

  2. I am sincerely sadden by KNX’s decision to stop airing you commentary. I have been listening for the last 10 or so years. You’re going to be missed. I hope you’re able keep the email going. I still share them with my staff.

  3. Good morning,
    Please do not cease publishing your fabulous newsletters which I receive at my e-mail address.
    I am a retired public school teacher and currently employed as the public relations director in a large dental office. We have a staff of over 140. At our staff meetings, I share your essays with my staff. I also volunteer at a juvenile youth detention facility where I share your essays and quotes with these youth.
    Please keep up your Godly work!
    Gail

  4. Sorry to hear that the commentaries will no longer by aired on KNX. Weekly I enjoy listening to them and of course love reading them each week via email. I receive quiet joy when I read the stories and often share them with my family, church members and staff. Thanks for the positive influence you have in my small office each week.
    Keep up the good work no matter where it takes you.
    Jeff F.

  5. This is the saddest news to me, even more so because my birthday is October 17th….a very unwelcome turn of events. I am a middle school math teacher who teachers 180 students a day in class and sees many more on campus. Your insights are sometimes shared directly (my favorite is the emerging butterfly) and other times indirectly by example. You have a profound effect on me, and it ripples out to the next generation.

  6. Sorry to hear you will no longer be on radio. I have never heard the radio show. My contact is through the internet. I find the articles, encouraging and relevant. As a counselor working with young people l constantly find times to share a story, or make a point based on insight l’ve gained from your newsletter. i would hate to see you discontinue it.

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