Byron's Babbles

Leading Like A Glue Stick

As an educator and leader I understand the value of a good glue stick. Glue sticks are very convenient for class and leadership retreat activities, but don’t last as long. The time they save in the classroom and the ability to create quickly is worth it. I can’t even imagine having to go back to bottles of messy glue that takes forever (it seems) to hold things in place. All of that being said, however, I would like this morning to look at the glue stick as a leadership metaphor.

This past week I had the opportunity to be a part of a convening of business/industry leaders, local/state government officials, school leaders, and community stakeholders in Goshen, Indiana – Elkhart County Indiana. The group was convened by Horizon Education Alliance (HEA). Dr. Jason Harrison, Director Of Facilitation for HEA, did an outstanding job of facilitating our convening. It is awesome how HEA has become the glue stick for Elkhart County to come together to improve all aspects of the community. Specifically, how to make sure our young scholars are prepared for any post secondary endeavor they choose. The idea is for all stakeholders to understand the needs and obstacles of each other. Then remove the obstacles and create great things for everyone in the community. Now that’s leading like a glue stick!

Here is an article in The Elkhart Truth I was interviewed for at the conclusion:

Additionally, I had a former team member text me this morning and I texted back to keep being the glue of the organization. She texted back and said that sometimes we need to be Super Glue. True. Then I got to thinking, what does it take to be the glue stick of an organization? I have heard it said that the indicators of a great team are its level of grit and the strength of its glue.

To me the glue of an organization measures how a team sticks together and how its members meld into an effective team, especially in tough times. Abraham Lincoln is famous for a quote he used when describing the division during the Civil War in the United States 🇺🇸: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He actually borrowed that phrase from the New Testament of the Bible. Probably why it is such a powerful quote no matter what divisions are being struggled with. The “house” can apply to our state or federal governments, our organizations, our teams, our local communities, or our families.

Relationships matter. Really, we need to know each other, trust each other, and hold a healthy respect for each other to achieve excellent results. Mutual respect and understanding of each other’s beliefs and values is key. These relationships are the glue that holds us together. Leaders need to create the space for team members to work together and encourage them to take the time to really see and learn from each other. This also means giving all team members the ability to lead from where they are. Everyone is a leader, and if treated as such, this can be Super Glue.

Furthermore, these relationships serve as glue sticks because teammates who build each other up, show appreciation for one another, and connect with each other are key parts of any great team. When we all work to be the leadership glue sticks of an organization it becomes a community working toward a common vision. This allows big and bold things to happen.

Are you a glue stick in your organization? How can you better distribute and develop all the glue sticks in your organization?


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