Want to Lead? Learn to Love.

April 19, 2011 — Leave A Comment

Gregg Breinberg is a regular elementary school teacher in an ordinary public elementary school. So why is his 5th grade chorus singing at the Oscars later this year?

I found out about Gregg and the PS22 Chorus (Public School #22) a few weeks ago through a random “related” link on YouTube. And for the next hour or more, I was absolutely mesmerized by song after song that this ordinary 5th grade chorus from Stanton Island had uploaded to the internet. Amazing stuff–see for yourself. And I’m not the only one to think so. Since their debut on YouTube, the PS22 Chorus has been visited by numerous high-profile musical artists as well as actors. They’ve stood together on some pretty famous stages, and even performed at the White House. As I watched video after video, I really wanted to know: Who is this guy who’s been able to create this national phenomenon out of a bunch of ordinary 5th graders? This short video gave me the answer:

Perhaps we don’t look often enough to public school teachers as examples of great leadership, but here is one case it would benefit any leader to explore. What is it about Gregg’s leadership that inspires his students to stretch so far and achieve so much–far more than most 5th graders in most schools around the country (public or otherwise)? What does he offer those he leads that empowers them to shine so brilliantly?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? It’s love. It’s that passionate, joyful pour-my-soul-out-for-you kind of love. It’s not hard at all to imagine that Gregg would go the mat for any one of his students. It’s not hard to imagine that he fights for them, believes in them, delights in them, and pushes them hard. Because that’s what love does. You can see it clearly, even in a 4-minute video.

I can’t help but wonder, “What is stopping me from leading more like Gregg? What would that look like for me? What is the path?”

If love is a verb, then…

Do you love the people you lead? What might be possible for them (and for you) if you loved them even more?

Michael Warden

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