Category Archives: Morally dead situation

Future of the County –

…Heroes of tomorrow.

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 An Opinion.

Today we found ourselves visiting with several parents to monitor our children in several schools within the county to monitor progress made so far. We visited schools surrounded by people living in some of our most neglected communities in Oxon Hill, Capital Heights, Riverdale, Langley Park and Hyattsville. It is an interesting coincidence that got us thinking of the work that the heroes of yesterday began, and that our children and their children have to carry on with. Our county has had great men and women standing up at different times, but towards the same goal, of ensuring liberty, prosperity and justice for all.

The freedom fighters risked all to liberate us from the colonial yoke. After independence, another generation stepped in and risked everything when the very dreams that inspired the freedom fighters were being rolled back. These are the heroes of the first Liberation who faced numerous challenges including racism and segregation machines ultimately they reclaimed the rights and freedoms that were being taken away. For which they paid a great price. The heroes of our first, second, third, etc. Liberations have brought us this far. Some of these Heroes were Black, Indians, Whites, Latinos, and Asians amongst races. We are immensely indebted to them.

In July 2014 the United States of America turns 238 years old and counting. As we remember the heroes of the past centuries, we must focus on the next 50 years ahead and ask ourselves, who will be our heroes of that period and what will make them?

Listening to various leaders including governor O’Malley of Maryland, County Executive Rushern Baker, Senator Joan Benson of Prince George’s County speak about their challenges and promises of their respective areas, we found ourselves thinking of our country’s next fifty years, its old challenges that we have been unable to subdue and the new ones we are yet to start tackling.  It occurred to us that the heroes of the years ahead might be made in our county if we get it right.

Our county is certainly set to be the next theatre of action, opportunities, challenges and growth. That is why Washington, D.C. metropolitan area is  the most affluent metropolitan area in the United States. Prince George’s county in particular has been a magnet for international immigration since the late 1960s. It is also a magnet for internal migration (persons moving from one region of the U.S. to another). Many students in Prince George’s county bear great potential and promise for the future but they are never challenged for greater capabilities. What can we do to make their world mean something or rewarding?

In southern Maryland, NASA records the strongest all-round the year wind blowing in the same direction and capable of generating electricity for all of Prince George’s County. It has never been exploited. Like many other counties in Maryland, Prince George’s county is changing fast but transforming too slowly. The economy is growing, but so are poverty levels. Despite new challenges and new opportunities, outdated mindset  full of discriminatory tendencies persists. The heroes of the next fifty years of our county will be men and women who accept that we cannot create the future by clinging to the past. We should embrace diversity and work together for good of the county and the United States of America.

Prince George’s County and especially the County school system has a chance to open a new chapter with the coming of devolved units after HB1107. Already, a number of our county representatives are toying with grand visions but we should not let the old ways crop back in through the back door.

In the struggles of these representatives whether it is a senator, delegate or Board of Education member, we see a journey to determine the county’s future by expanding our county’s productivity. In this regard, the county carries great potential in determining our county’s next heroes. Unfortunately, the passion of the governor or other representatives or even the county Executive alone is not enough. Every defining moment in a nation’s history needs a champion at the center.  Abraham Lincoln stepped in to save the union that remains standing as the USA. He remains our country’s hero to date.

United States and especially Prince George’s County, needs people to champion and save devolution and secure our next fifty years. There is a simple logic that makes us passionate about the future of the county. The logic is that when we try to empower and make our neighbors rich, we create room for sharing, trading and making life rewarding for my neighbor, ourselves and myself.

Here in Prince George’s county, we still need to work hard to create better relations between our various ethnic groups. To win the battle against colonial powers, our founding fathers pulled together, in one direction. Today, we are falling apart at the seams. The heroes of the years ahead will be the men and women who will recognize this fact and act to permanently patch up the widening cracks between our ethnic groups whether white or black, Latino or Asian among other groups by addressing honestly and candidly the things that are setting various ethnic groups against another here in the county must be addressed. Let the leadership of the county Government be the model for others to follow. Let us challenge the state agencies like Maryland state Board of Education when they fail to perform in their duties properly and request proper accounting. Many of us paid a big price for advocating for change. We should not let the old ways of doing business continue unchallenged.

But we must also never forget that the struggle for freedom never ends. Future heroes will be men and women who remember the words of Ronald Reagan that…”Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on…”

Finally, whether we are ready for it or not, the world is moving into the era of innovation, science and technology.  Economists tell us that the world is getting smaller, but it is not coming together. The nations that innovate are going to rule the world.

United States as a whole has pioneered many things including planes, cellphones, internet, computers, etc. The planes are a unique United States contribution to the world. While it shows the capacity of United States to innovate, it may not be long before somebody comes up with something better. The heroes of the coming years will have to be men and women who keep United States of America on the front row through innovation, science and technology.  We live in an era when some corporations are richer than entire nations. We are confident that if we invest in them, the United States youth will give us the Sony, Citicorp, Philip Morris, Yahoo and Google of the next century and make them our heroes. The choice is ours.

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Delegate files complaint with ethics panel…

…over Dance’s consulting job

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Superintendent Dallas Dance (Pictured above) is involved in corruption and covered up by the Maryland State Board of Education.

A Maryland legislator has filed a complaint with the Baltimore County school board’s ethics panel, saying he wants them to rule on whether Superintendent Dallas Dance violated board policy when he took a part-time job with a company doing business with the school system.

Dance took a part-time job in August, training Chicago principals with a for-profit company that had received a $875,000 contract with the school system in December 2012. He also did not notify the board ahead of time about the job, which his contract required. He said that he thought he only had to disclose to the board once a year.

Dance resigned his job this month with SUPES Academy of Illinois after his association with the company was made public and he was criticized by legislators.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-ethics-complaint-20131230,0,5414134.story#ixzz2p1IbiTI5

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Criticism of Teacher Unions in 2013.

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Anthony Cody a teacher who spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high school reviews his own sharp criticism of teachers’ unions during the past year for their support of the Common Core standards in 2013.

Cody questions why teachers have no one to support them when they question the validity of the Common Core.

He doubts that a one-year moratorium on high-stakes testing of the Common Core will matter much.

In a column that he cites, he wrote:

In effect, the Common Core tests will refresh NCLB’s indictment of public schools and teachers, with supposedly scientific precision.

Teachers – and union leaders — may feel as if they should get on board, to try to steer this process. However, I think this is a ship of doom for our schools. I think its effect will be twofold. It will create a smoother, wider, more easily standardized market for curriculum and technology. This will, in turn, promote the standardization of curriculum and instruction, and further de-professionalize teaching. The assessments will reinforce this, by tying teachers closer to more frequent timelines and benchmark assessments, which will be, in many places, tied to teacher evaluations. And the widespread failures of public schools will be used to further “disrupt the public school monopoly,” spurring further expansion of vouchers and charters and private schools.

We must move beyond not only the bubble tests, but beyond the era of punitive high stakes tests. Only then will we be able to use standards in the way they ought to be used – as focal points for our creative work as educators. I would be glad to have a year’s delay for the consequences of these tests, but I think we need to actively oppose the entire high stakes testing paradigm. The Common Core standards should not be supported as long as they are embedded in this system.

He calls upon the unions to exert leadership–not just in helping to impose CCSS–but in thinking critically about the corporate agenda and CCSS’s role in that agenda.

He holds out hope for change in 2014, a hope that we all share.

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Read more >> Union Accountability needed in PG County

Read more>>>Violation of the Grievance system

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Cartoon of Income Inequality

Teen Shot, Killed after House Party

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Prince George’s County police said a teenager is dead after being shot early Saturday morning in Upper Marlboro, Md.

Officers arrived in the 11700 block of North Marlton Avenue shortly after midnight and found Rashad Andre Pinkney, 19, of Capitol Heights, Md., shot. Pinkney was taken to the hospital, where he died.

Police said officers had been in the area about an hour earlier for reports of gunshots and discovered hundreds of partygoers from a house part in the 11800 block of North Marlton Avenue out in the street.

According to NBC 4 News crew, An officer who was attempting to control the house party scene was assaulted by a 17-year old. As the officer tried to arrest her, she pushed the officer, breaking his leg and twisting his ankle.

The suspect is facing assault charges.

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Baker fills vacant seat on Pr. George’s Board of Education

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Ms. Sonya Williams – New Board of Education Member District 9

Upper Marlboro, MD – Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III announced that Sonya Williams has been appointed to serve on the Prince George’s County Board of Education to represent District 9.  Ms. Williams will fill the District 9 vacancy on the Board of Education created by the resignation of former School Board Member Donna Hathaway Beck.

“Ms. Williams will be a great addition to the Board of Education.  We had a strong pool of candidates to choose from and Ms. Williams certainly brings a set of unique skills that will serve our children and the school system well,” said County Executive Baker.  “I was impressed with her innovative ideas to get more parents involved in their children’s education and her commitment to making our schools overall the best they can be.  Her experience as a parent, as President of the Gwynn Park Parent Teachers and Students Association (PTSA), and her skill with development and management of complex projects will be a tremendous asset to the Board.”

Maryland House of Delegates Bill 1107 charges the County Executive with appointing a member to the Board of Education whenever a vacancy occurs. Although the law does not require it, County Executive Baker conducted an open search to fill this vacancy and provided residents of District 9 with an opportunity to apply for the position. Since this vacancy was created as a result of an elected board member leaving office, the County Executive’s appointee must be a resident of District 9.

Ms. Williams is the second appointee to replace an elected Board of Education member under the new education reform law in Prince George’s County.  The County Executive previously appointed Lyn Mundey to the District 7 vacancy in September of this year. >>> Read More Washington post

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Homeless Student Population Rises in Maryland

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COLLEGE PARK – Danny Lamont Jones seems like an average high schooler. He goes to class, and comes home and writes music when he can’t focus on his homework.

But for much of his high school career Jones, 18, wasn’t living like an average student. He attended four different high schools as he moved in and out of homes and shelters in Baltimore city. When he turned 12, he said, he moved into a shelter in for homeless teenagers.

“I had to make me own way from there,” said Jones, who now lives with his uncle.

Jones is one of thousands of students in Maryland who have experienced homelessness. The number of K-12 students identifying as homeless in U.S. public schools hit a record high 1.2 million during the 2011-2012 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. >>> Read More Capital News Service

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“Ashes to ashes” in PGCPS District Md.

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School board says Dance should have gotten its OK

…before taking consulting job

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Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance should have sought the school  board’s approval before taking a consulting job with a company that had a  contract with the system, board President Lawrence Schmidt said Tuesday  night.

Schmidt said in a statement that the board has directed Dance to let members  know in advance of any proposed consulting work in the future.

The board has reviewed Dance’s contract and the school system’s ethics policy  and has found that “there is no indication that Dr. Dance’s performance as  superintendent was in any way adversely impacted” by the consulting, according  to Schmidt.

The board spoke with Dance at a closed-door meeting Tuesday about his  part-time job with SUPES Academy, an Illinois-based company that provides  training for administrators.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/blog/bs-md-co-board-statement-dance-20131217,0,4187135.story#ixzz2npqQlyd3

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OPINION

Coming from the TOP school official, this looks real bad for Maryland State Board of Education and Mr. Dallas Dance. If he skirts the rules, who is to say what other unethical endeavors has he taken on.

This clearly is a slap in the face of the board who hired him, who was too young to lead Maryland teachers and implement his new Common Core philosophy. Many of the parents we spoke with are ashamed and embarrassed to live in Maryland more and more. The ignorance at every level of Maryland is really starting to show by allowing people unqualified to lead, hire, re hire and expand. Entitlement has gotten Maryland into a world of stupidity on a national level and showed America which state is most dependent on federal Government to maintain lifestyles.

No chief executive in the private sector would be allowed to do this. Donating 2/3 of the compensation does not mitigate the conflict of interest here.  Either Superintendent Dance gives up the employment with the company or the company gives up its contract with Baltimore County.  End of discussion.

The funny thing is that, teachers can’t tutor a student in their building for pay, even if that teacher doesn’t teach that student in any regular class.

So a teacher can’t pick up an extra $25 an hour for legitimate educational work, but the superintendent can take tens of thousands of dollars from a company that paid nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money?

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Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand investigations and initiation of changes… There is no smoke without fire!!

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In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure. Both leaders need to resign to create room for new leadership.

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Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system. She has demonstrated a culture of discrimination and racism while on the job.

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Superintendent Dallas Dance quit a consulting job Saturday amid questions  over the propriety of his work for a company that does business with the  Baltimore County school system.

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Read more ~~~>> Part I and Part II of the double standards involving Maryland School system Education leadership involved in corruption and the tax payer funds.

Prince George’s schools charge PTAs that use buildings

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The John Hanson Montessori Parent Teacher Student Association has offered after-school dance and chess lessons for years, believing that the enrichment programs help engage Prince George’s County students. The group charges a small fee to pay the course instructors, and until now had been using space at the school for free.

Or so the PTSA thought. Nicole Nelson, the PTSA’s vice president, said she recently received a bill from the school district asking for $2,502.70 in rental fees. Nelson believed it had to be a mistake, as the PTSA has barely $1,500 in its treasury, money it plans to use to honor teachers and to celebrate graduates. >>> Read more Washington Post

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OPINION

 PG Board of Education which continues to practice “pay to play” culture should NOT include after-school activities for their children. The essence of a good PTA is to supplement what teachers and students do in schools. Parental involvement is a child’s education is foremost, but there are many other aspects of PTA activities. After-school programs, like the classes mentioned in their article, is one. Then there are the traditional bake-sales; wrapping paper sales, plant sales, etc used to generate funds for PTA-sponsored activities. The money raised should be kept in a transparent manner. This should include proper accountability of the money raised by athletics Department throughout the county without proper checks and balances.

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Superintendent involved in a Conflict of Interest – Part II.

Dance quits consulting job with company doing business with school system
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Superintendent Dallas Dance quit a consulting job Saturday amid questions  over the propriety of his work for a company that does business with the  Baltimore County school system.

In an email Saturday to school board members, Dance said he had called the  Illinois- based SUPES Academy and told them that he would no longer coach  Chicago public school principals.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-dance-second-job-20131214,0,3238787.story#ixzz2nV4pkKBQ

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OPINION

Coming from the TOP school official, this looks real bad for Maryland State Board of Education and Mr. Dallas Dance. If he skirts the rules, who is to say what other unethical endeavors has he taken on.

This clearly is a slap in the face of the board who hired him, who was too young to lead Maryland teachers and implement his new Common Core philosophy. Many of the parents we spoke with are ashamed and embarrassed to live in Maryland more and more. The ignorance at every level of Maryland is really starting to show by allowing people unqualified to lead, hire, re hire and expand. Entitlement has gotten Maryland into a world of stupidity on a national level and showed America which state is most dependent on federal Government to maintain lifestyles.

No chief executive in the private sector would be allowed to do this. Donating 2/3 of the compensation does not mitigate the conflict of interest here.  Either Superintendent Dance gives up the employment with the company or the company gives up its contract with Baltimore County.  End of discussion.

The funny thing is that, teachers can’t tutor a student in their building for pay, even if that teacher doesn’t teach that student in any regular class.

So a teacher can’t pick up an extra $25 an hour for legitimate educational work, but the superintendent can take tens of thousands of dollars from a company that paid nearly a million dollars in taxpayer money?

Call your elected officials now and the media. Demand investigations and initiation of changes… There is no smoke without fire!!

dukes

In our opinion, We aver and therefore believe Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated a culture of corrupt leadership style and continues “an integrated pattern of pay to play” and manipulation during her tenure. Both leaders need to resign to create room for new leadership.

0

Dr. Lillian Lowery Embattled State Superintendent is currently presiding over deep-seated corruption in Maryland school system. She has demonstrated a culture of discrimination and racism while on the job.

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Superintendent Dallas Dance quit a consulting job Saturday amid questions  over the propriety of his work for a company that does business with the  Baltimore County school system.

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15 Ways To Identify Bad Leaders

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It’s important to realize that just because someone holds a position of leadership, doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Put another way, not all leaders are created equal. The problem many organizations are suffering from is a recognition problem – they can’t seem to recognize good leaders from bad ones. In today’s column  we will address how to identify bad leaders by pointing out a few things that should be obvious, but apparently aren’t.

1. Leaders who can’t see it, probably won’t find it: Leaders without vision will fail. Leaders who lack vision cannot inspire teams, motivate performance, or create sustainable value. Poor vision, tunnel vision, vision that is fickle, or a non-existent vision will cause leaders to fail. A leader’s job is to align the organization around a clear and achievable vision. This cannot occur when the blind lead the blind.

2. When leaders fail to lead themselves: A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure the test of time. It doesn’t matter how intelligent, affable, persuasive, or savvy a person is, if they are prone to rationalizing unethical behavior based upon current or future needs, they will eventually fall prey to their own undoing. Optics over ethics is not a formula for success.

3. Put-up or shut-up: Nothing smacks of poor leadership like a lack of performance. Nobody is perfect, but leaders who consistently fail are not leaders, no matter how much you wish they were. While past performance is not always a certain indicator of future events, a long-term track record of success should not be taken lightly. Someone who has consistently experienced success in leadership roles has a much better chance of success than someone who has not. It’s important to remember unproven leaders come with a high risk premium. Smart companies recognize potential, but they reward performance.

4. Beware the know-it-all: The best leaders are acutely aware of how much they don’t know. They have no need to be the smartest person in the room, but have the unyielding desire to learn from others. I’ve often said, leaders who are not growing cannot lead a growing enterprise. One of the hallmarks of great leaders is their insatiable curiosity. If a leader isn’t extremely curious about every aspect of their organization, trust me when I say there are huge problems on the horizon.

5. When there’s a failure to communicate: When leaders are constantly flummoxed by those who don’t seem to get it, there exists both a leadership and communications problem. Show me a leader with poor communication skills and I’ll show you someone who will be short-lived in their position. Great leaders can communicate effectively across mediums, constituencies, and environments. They are active listeners, fluid thinkers, and know when to dial it up, down, or off.

6. It’s all about them: If a leader doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not engender the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead. Any leader is only as good as his or her team’s desire to be led by them. An overabundance of ego, pride, and arrogance are not positive leadership traits. Real leaders take the blame and give the credit – not the other way around. Long story short; if a leader receives a vote of non-confidence from their subordinates…game over.

7. Sing a little Kumbaya: While love and leadership are certainly two words you don’t often hear in the same sentence, We can assure you that rarely does great leadership exist without love being present and practiced. In fact, if you examine failed leaders as a class, you’ll find that a lack of love, misplaced love, or misguided love were a contributing cause of said failures, if not the root cause. Empathy, humility and kindness are signs of leadership strength – not weakness.

8. One size fits all leadership style: The best leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach. They understand the power of, and necessity for contextual leadership. “My way or the highway” leadership styles don’t play well in today’s world, will result in a fractured culture, and ultimately a non-productive organization. Only those leaders who can quickly recognize and adapt their methods to the situation at hand will be successful over the long haul. Think open-source not proprietary, surrender not control, and collaborate not dictate.

9. Lack of focus: Leadership is less about balance and more about priority. The best leaders are ruthless in their pursuit of focus. Those leaders who lack the focus and attention to detail needed to apply leverage and resources in an aggressive and committed fashion will perish. Leaders who are not intentional and are not focused, will fail themselves and their team. Leaders who lack discipline will model the wrong behaviors and will inevitably spread themselves too thin. Organizations are at the greatest risk when leaders lose their focus. Intentions must be aligned with results for leaders to be effective.

10. Death by comfort zone: The best organizations beat their competition to the future, and the best leaders understand how to pull the future forward. Leaders satisfied with the status quo, or those who tend to be more concerned about survival than growth won’t do well over the long-run. The best leaders are focused on leading change and innovation to keep their organizations fresh, dynamic and growing. Bottom line – leaders who build a static business doom themselves to failure.

11. Not paying attention to the consumer: Leaders not attuned to the needs of the market will fail. As the old saying goes, if you’re not taking care of your customers, someone else will be more than happy to. Successful leaders focus on the consumer experience, which in turn leads to satisfaction and loyalty. The best leaders find ways to consistently engage the consumer and incorporate them into their innovation and planning initiatives. If you ignore, mistreat, or otherwise don’t value your customer base, your days as a leader are most certainly numbered.

12. Get Invested: Leaders not fully committed to investing in those they lead will fail. The best leaders support their team, build into their team, mentor and coach their team, and they truly care for their team. A leader not fully invested in their team won’t have a team – at least not an effective one. Never forget the old saying, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care – words to live by for leaders.

13. The “A” word: Real leaders are accountable. They don’t blame others, don’t claim credit for the success of their team, but always accept responsibility for failures that occur on their watch. Most of all, leaders are accountable to their team. I’ve always said that leaders not accountable to their people will eventually be held accountable by their people.

14. It’s the culture stupid: The lesson here is that culture matters – forget this and all other efforts with regard to talent initiatives will be dysfunctional, if not altogether lost. Don’t allow your culture to evolve by default, create it by design. The first step in cultural design is to be very, very careful who you let through the front door. People, their traits, attitudes, and work ethic (or lack thereof) are contagions. This can be positive or negative – the choice is yours. The old saying, “talent begets talent” is true, but talent that aligns with culture will produce better results than talent that does not.

15. Show some chutzpa: Leadership absent courage is a farce. We are not referring to arrogance or bravado, but real courage. It takes courage to break from the norm, challenge the status quo, seek new opportunities, cut your losses, make the tough decision, listen rather than speak, admit your faults, forgive the faults of others, not allow failure to dampen your spirit, stand for those not capable of standing for themselves, and to remain true to your core values. You can do none of these things without courage. Courage is having the strength of conviction to do the right thing when it would just be easier to do things right.

The moral of this story is leaders need to be honest, have a demonstrated track record of success, be excellent communicators, place an emphasis on serving those they lead, be fluid in approach, have laser focus, and a bias toward action. If these traits are not possessed by your current leadership team, or your emerging leaders, you will be in for a rocky road ahead…

Which of these traits stand out to you? Do you have any other signs of ineffective leaders worthy of mention? Leave a comment and share your insights with others…

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