Modeling Excellence

I always felt that it was my job as a teacher to help kids feel empowered and encouraged. I would tell them that I saw them as bright, capable and terrific young people. And as a group, my students were people who I respected, admired and wanted to do well.

I treated the people who worked for me the same way. I wanted them to know that they are incredible people and that I appreciate and notice all that they do.

I found that when you make people feel like this, when you show them all the goodness they possess, they want to do the right thing.They have the feeling that they are going to do their best because that’s the standard.

As a teacher I told my students that excellence was our minimum standard. They knew that we would do excellent work.

When I took trips with our high school band, I told the kids that I expected the hotel manager to tell me what an incredible group of people I had. And when we stopped at McDonald’s for dinner, the students should step aside for any couple that came through the door because they shouldn’t have to wait for a group of students to get their meal.

When you encourage things like that, they become the standard. The students or the employees want to do these things rather than thinking of it as something they have to do.

But this only holds true when they have a leader or teacher who models these qualities for them. I didn’t invent the wheel; these characteristics were modeled for and expected of me when I was a student and an employee.

And I’m just glad I could model them for others.