Byron's Babbles

On The Journey To The Pinnacle

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, John Maxwell, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 31, 2023

A person in a board meeting I was in this week introduced himself as having reached the pinnacle of his career. I thought to myself, “What does that mean?” What is left is he has truly reached the pinnacle. I then Googled what pinnacle means. According to Merriam-Webster pinnacle means: “the highest point of development or achievement.” After reading this, I asked myself the question, “Do I ever want to reach the pinnacle of my career?” If I reach the pinnacle would that not mean I would be on the the way down from there? I want my mindset to be that I will always continue on the journey toward pinnacle.

I do, however, want to be a pinnacle leader, as John Maxwell defines it as part of his 5 Levels of Leadership. A pinnacle leader is one that people follow because of who they are and what they represent. Maxwell calls these Level 5 leaders and told us the leaders, “…create a legacy of leadership in the organization they serve.” I have always said I want to be remembered as a thoughtful leader who showed love for those I served by providing growth and development. The pinnacle is not easy to achieve. We start at Level1 leading by position only. Level 1 doesn’t last very long. Then as we build a relationship we move to Level 2 and lead by permission. At Level 3 others follow us because of results. At Level 3 we begin to gain followers because of what we have done for an organization. Then at Level 4 we are in the people development business. People follow us for what we have done for them. My goal is to become a Level 5 leader to as many as I can. Hopefully I can stay true to my never-ending journey to the pinnacle. Where are you on that journey?


Somebody Did It For Me

Leaders motivate us to go places that we would never otherwise go. They are needed both to change organizations and to produce results. In any organizational climate, good leadership is perhaps the most important competitive advantage an organization can have. Amazingly, followers of leaders are just as powerfully driven to follow as leaders are to lead. Great leaders have a way of supporting others to grow and become more productive. Great leadership means putting people in the right place at the right time and then letting them thrive there.

Mr. Combrinck & Ms. Figueroa’s Potato Heads

Yesterday, during our south Florida gathering of 3D Leadership participants, we did an activity that I love to do called “Who Am I As A Leader Now?” We use Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads to do this and participants build their Potato Head to represent themselves, at that moment, as a leader. It becomes such a powerful reflective time. Then, we gathered in a big circle and shared out. All of the share-outs were so meaningful, but one phrase really caught my attention that a participant ended with, represented by a Potato Head arm placed backward, “Somebody did it for me.” This really struck me because it is so true. Everyone has a “somebody did it for me” story. And this fit so nicely with the work we were going to do later around John Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership. Helping others develop into all they can be are those “People Development” and “Pinnacle” levels of great leadership.

Alexis Prieto’s Potato Head

It’s always inspiring to be in a room of educators because developing young women and men into all they can be is what we do. We get to provide that “somebody did it for me” story for many. But, let’s not forget that as leaders we have an obligation to be finding ways to provide those “somebody did it for me” stories for those in our organizational communities. It really comes down to being a servant leader. As I listened to all the stories and reasons for the Potato Head designs I was in awe of all the collective expertise in the room. This group of leaders truly wanted to be the best at serving others. Now, as I write this post I am reflecting on those in my life that have been that “somebody that did it for me” person. There have been a lot, and I would even say this group of south Florida educators “did it for me” yesterday. All of this reflection made me go back and reflect on a blog post I did back in 2013 where I reflected on those who had been a servant leader to me along the way and, in some cases, throughout my entire life. Check out my post, Matthew 20:26 on Being A Servant Leader to learn more about my journey and those who have “been there” along the way.

As we try to make some sense in this pandemic stricken world, I, and I believe all the other participants, needed to hear the stories of others – how they got where they are and how they are dealing with all things related to the global pandemic. We really developed a bonded sense of we are in this together, and while we all may be separated by only a few miles, or hundreds of miles we can all be kindred spirits and part of something bigger than ourselves to into great leaders providing “somebody did it for me” moments.

How about you? Who has provided those “somebody did it for me” moments in your life? And, who are you providing “somebody did it for me” moments for?