Byron's Babbles

The Synchronized Team

Posted in Communication, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Relationships, Trust by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 22, 2022

“The camp worked together like a synchronized team.” This was the wagon master speaking of the group he was leading westward in Book 2 of Threads West An American Saga: Maps of Fate by the award winning historical fiction author Reid Lance Rosenthal. As I read that line I imagined the pioneers as synchronous swimmers, floating around their wagons, oxen, horses, and cooking fires, practicing marksmanship for those new to firearms, and getting all the important things done. Like, cooking food, greasing and tightening wagon wheel axles, making jerky from a freshly harvested deer, or the myriad of other duties necessary for a very long and arduous journey to be successful. I imagined every person having some role they were particularly good at and then learning new skills as they chipped in and helped each other. A synchronized team, just like in synchronized swimming, consists of differing roles or dimensions that are balanced to ensure success.

In synchronized swimming the choice of music and choreography enhance the team’s performance and highlighting of the best attributes of team members. The wagon master had displayed this leadership skill by building relationships with those he was leading, allowing him to understand strengths, weaknesses, and skills. This allowed him to choreograph each stop to be perfectly synchronized. Everyone had to move together and everyone had to be able function together as a team. Sound familiar? This is what all our teams need to do. So what are the keys? Here’s what the wagon master taught us:

  1. Build relationships
  2. Have a shared vision/goal
  3. Build trust
  4. Create transparency and accountability
  5. Understand each others’ strengths
  6. Communication

Are you serving as a good leadership wagon master?

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Knitting Relationships

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Relationships, Trust by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 18, 2022

Relationships have always mattered. This past week I was complimenting a school team I work with and the superintendent said, “Well, it always comes back to the relationships we’ve built and are building.” Those are such true words and a reminder that building relationships is a top of the list item for us to always be working on. I am reading Book 2 of Threads West An American Saga: Maps of Fate by the award winning historical fiction author Reid Lance Rosenthal. In this book the wagon master told the group he was leading west that, “groups where everyone gets to know each other are more likely to cover each other’s back.” That covering of each other’s backs was pretty important during the 1850’s migration westward. But, it is just as important today as we navigate through the 21st century.

Me & Reid Lance Rosenthal

Great relationships bring with them an implicit trust that increases the opportunity for collaboration and cooperation. These relationships many times turn into intelligence communities that could potentially solve the world’s most complex problems. What I really believe the superintendent above was saying was that the people around us help us make better decisions. We in turn, can also help them make better decisions. Now, back to the wagon train. I can’t imagine taking that several month journey westward. But, I really can’t imagine taking it without the building of relationships. Really, that is one of the great things that Rosenthal brings out. People of uncommon origins form bonds and relationships that weave together to explore and innovate in an unknown land. It really is, as Rosenthal told me when I visited with him last month, “Our story.” Actually, getting to know Rosenthal has made reading the books even more meaningful. I got to know him and about his motivation for writing the books. Again, relationships matter!

I’ve heard it said that we are “human beings” not “human resources.” So true! As I read about the knitting (🧶 pun intended) of relationships, I am reminded of how every relationship, good or bad, matters. As I read about some of the relationships I kept yelling, “Get away from them!” And for others I would say, “Get closer.” Reid was right; this is our story. We need to lean into those strong relationships and get away from those that are bringing us down. Happy knitting!