Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Leadership of the Offensive Line -- Another American Football Analogy

Huskies vs. Bisons Blackout
Thanks to Huskie Outsider for the photo.
We never think of the offensive line in American Football as the leadership of the team; instead, we usually think of the coach or the quarterback as the "leader." It is true that the traditional leader of the team is the coach and the leader on the field is the quarterback, but I feel that the leadership style of the offensive line is the model that educational leaders can take a great lesson from in our roles. First, the offensive line is a thankless task.  It isn't about glory or popularity; it's about diligence and hard work. During a game, no one notices if the offensive line is doing its job well, it is only noticed when the job goes wrong -- a penalty, missed block resulting in a sack, blocked punt, etc. Those are the moments that the line is noticed -- during a mistake. Think of all those times we make mistakes as educational leaders; it seems like those are the only moments people really seem to notice us. We should take those moments in stride, like the offensive line does. The offensive line encourages each other; they pick themselves up and move on to the next play a little more wise.

When the offensive line is doing its job well, no one really sees it, because they are supporting the entire team. The line blocks, the line communicates, the line supports -- nothing more, but that is quite a load of work. If we think of our jobs as members of the offensive line, we are more willing to step back and allow others to shine. We become the unsung heroes of the community. Our quarterback, running backs, and receivers gain first downs and score touchdowns and they know that our efforts helped them achieve these goals for the entire team. We should provide the support necessary and communicate with our entire community/team. We should be the offensive line for our students, teachers, and parents.

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