One who knows the way
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”
— John C. Maxwell
As Reneé, Roger, Tammy and I walked through one of the outdoor courtyards at Walter Reed NMC, one of them said, “Look, a mother duck and her babies!” Naturally, I had to take some photos. It was really interesting to watch how the mother duck reacted to my presence, and how her nine ducklings responded to her every move. They were clearly accustomed to people, and showed no fear as long as we kept a distance. The mother would waddle along and the babies would hop along behind her, often in single file. But the instant she stopped — which she did whenever I got too close — the ducklings would cluster next to her and freeze until she moved again.
We watched them until they traversed the courtyard and turned into the bushes on the other side, although they froze several times when I approached, and their actions followed an amazingly identical pattern each time. As far as I could tell, she gave them no vocal signals, nor even a gesture with her wings, unless it was so subtle that I missed it. But her confidence must have been enough for the ducklings, who watched closely and imitated her actions without fail.
My best teachers in life are people I remember mostly for who they were and what they did, not for things they said. Certainly verbal instruction is an important skill, but no didactic lesson compares with an example in action. Wherever your career, interests or circumstances lead you, I hope you will have some great leaders who know, go and show…and maybe you can be one yourself!