In the world of courageous leadership, it’s easy to feel lonely. Courageous leaders look around desperate for colleagues, desperate for someone to validate their ideas, and desperate for affirmation that the time they have spent on their work has had value, worth, and made a difference. This loneliness drives many to feel burned out, unappreciated, and quit the intensity necessary to transform.
We need bundles of leadership in education. We need risk-takers, culture creators, and vision speakers. We need folks that work a better game than they talk. We also need leadership clusters because leading alone is no longer a sustainable mission.
Even with this push, desire, and plan, life gets in the way. Home life gets out of balance, mental health issues creep in, and/or dependence on alcohol and drugs to be down enough to sleep or up enough to perform becomes a hidden reality for the courageous leader. On top of all of that, acute life moments like birth, death, illness, and injury of self or family can also derail the leadership of the courageous leader.
Are we as a system seeing that leadership takes super ordinary energy to manage a building and the superhuman to truly lead the modern school? The reality is that the current conditions, in anything less than the "country club" school, and there aren't too many of those, have reached a tipping point. The veteran leaders are leaving, the young leaders can't sustain, and the courageous leaders are most likely playing a fool's game to think that they can last in a system that eats good leaders, makes the best lonely, and tames the greatest.