The Protagonist: Leading With Purpose

Are you a rebel or a leader? 

That was the challenge (and accompanying Harvard Business Review article) posed by a trusted colleague with her own streak of rabble rousing—solutions-oriented, of course.

Are you a rebel or a leader? 

That was the challenge (and accompanying Harvard Business Review article) posed by a trusted colleague with her own streak of rabble rousing—solutions-oriented, of course.

You can be a rebel without being a leader, but you can rarely be an effective leader without also having a little bit of rebel in you.”

Education is filled with plenty of rebels on both sides of the ideological spectrum. Often irritating and always self-promoting, they challenge sacred cows and ancient dogmas. Rebels challenge our perspectives and help clarify our thinking, but rarely are they known for leading the charge towards solutions. (The speaking fees aren’t nearly as generous for solutions as for problems.) Rebels push against an idea while leaders advocate for an idea.

So what about those of us in the middle? Those who agitate for solutions?

In the article that inspired this post, Nilofer Merchant called for a “neutral” term somewhere between rebel and leader: the protagonist.

A protagonist is a principal champion of a cause or program or action. The protagonist does not wait for permission to lead, innovate, or strategize. They do what is right […], without regard to status. Their goal is to do what’s good for the whole.

Despite my fiction allergy (currently in treatment; send book recommendations), The Protagonist is an apt description for a blog that will narrate the storyline while attempting to influence it.

Too rare are reporters who “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

This space will revive that spirit of storytelling.

It will challenge well-intentioned narratives, individuals, and movements proffering silver-bullet solutions from perches outside the K-12 classroom. It will celebrate teachers contributing to the collective expertise of their profession.

And it will invite you to contribute to the dialogue.

Chapter 1 — Union Leadership Produces Highest Number of NBCTs in the US* (Coming soon!). 

*The Seattle Times took a more subdued approach to the story, which didn’t make it in to the print edition. 

Related categories: ,