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And the Award for Best Supporting Cast Goes To…

Think of your favorite movie and how different it would be if it only had the lead actor and no supporting cast. How would the story and ending change?

Would Luke Skywalker have been able to destroy the Death Star and rescue Princess Leia without the help of Hans Solo and some friendly and helpful robots? Doubtful.

What about if Dorothy walked the Yellow Brick Road all by herself? Not nearly as good.

As leaders, we’ve got to remember that while we may have a starring role, we can’t positively impact the story of our students without the help of a strong supporting cast.

The truth is, the more voices we invite into the conversation, the more perspectives we get to hear, and the more student-centered decisions we can make.

How do you tease out the expertise on your team? Your team is your supportive cast, and everyone plays a critical role in the story of your service to others. However, what stops them from stepping into their power of their role is often:

  1. Fear of not believing they have anything to contribute

  2. Past experiences that enforced the message to stay in their lane

  3. Working in Silos

  4. Their position is not high enough to be see seen as a valued voice

  5. The leader has a preconceived answer and doesn’t want input from others

  6. The leader doesn’t know how to and/or doesn’t see the value in engaging others in the discussion and feels doing so takes too much time

I was talking to a client the other day who was frustrated because she has been made to feel that her voice doesn’t matter. She’s not being heard or being invited to the table.


This is a common complaint I hear. So many decisions are being made in the ivory tower and then the result of those decisions trickles down to everyone else. This is not real leadership.


Leaving the supporting cast out of the story doesn’t make for a better movie, and it doesn’t make for better decisions on behalf of the students.


Imagine what impact engaging your supportive cast would make in the decision making:

  1. Increased staff moral

  2. Increased staff engagement

  3. Increased sense of belonging for staff

  4. Reduced blind spots in decision making

  5. Reduced Silos and encouraging collaborative problem solving

In the coming weeks, take an honest look at how you are currently leading your team. Are you inviting them to the table for real conversations? Are you leveraging their experience and perspectives? Or are you hogging the spotlight all to yourself?

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