Great Leaders Focus and Build Teams

Forbes blog post, "Suddenly Noticed By Big Investors, Kevin Tanner's RIA Is Bracing For Billions Of AUM," caught my attention as I thought about educational leadership.

Kevin Tanner focused on his strengths and passions. "He was never as interested in financial planning and spent his time perfecting his investing methodologies."

He wasn't content with running things the way others did just because that's how it's always been done.

Great Leadership

Great leaders invest in their strengths and imagine the possibilities. Great leaders see where they are going, plan for it, remain focused on the goal, and know how to develop others.

John Maxwell, author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, describes this as "the law of navigation." The fear of change doesn't hold back great leaders because they intuitively strategize and plan for success.

They value the strengths of others, and recognize that building other leaders and tapping into their strengths just makes them better at what they do.

Kevin Tanner knew this. He hired people to do all the non-investment tasks so he could focus on his strengths and passions -- investing.

Tanner's company, Saratoga Research & Investment Management, is in the top 1%.

Connecting Leaders and Learners

Building relationships and connecting is key in this process. Lyn Hilt addressed this point in "Becoming the Lead Learner" on the Connected Principal:
We must connect. If you’re capable of connecting and learning from those in your physical realm, consider the power of building relationships with other inspiring educators from around the world. Too often we think: how could that person’s experiences help me when their schools and circumstances differ so greatly from mine? That’s precisely the reason we can learn so much from one another. I have as much to learn from a high school principal in an urban school setting as I do from an elementary principal in a neighboring district. The varied perspectives are invaluable.
Invest in Others

Leaders invest in others to pursue their passions and try something new.  When we target the goal, such as pursuing what's best for learners, then change should be expected.

Jeff Delp's posted about helping others develop their passions on the Connected Principal. Check out this true story of passion, vision, and using their strengths:

It's a journey that can't be done alone. It requires a team working together towards a common goal.

Great leaders know investing in others as leaders are worth every ounce of energy, because in the long run everyone profits.

Personal Connections

I  am slowly connecting the dots to what leadership means. As I do, I notice leaders everywhere. Some I barely know, but recognize their building others in their classrooms and PLNs. Some, I have the honor of working with and appreciate their dedication to building team. Other leaders I've known my whole life, and never thought to pause and say Wow.

Final Thoughts

I'd love to hear what insight you have to share about leadership!

How do you build relationships and connect with others?
What else makes a leader great?
How do great leaders build team?

This post was inspired by great leaders who connect with others. Thanks to Kathleen Morris, Linda Yollis, Miss W, and Sue Waters for all you do to build others. Thanks to Larry LaPrise for investing in and building leaders. Thanks to Jon Castelhano for believing in me, encouraging me to do my best, and having strengths where I do not. Special thanks to Kevin Tanner for being an inspiration to me my entire life -- I love you Big Brother and am so proud of you!


  1. Hi Tracy
    Interesting thoughts on leadership - and John Maxwell certainly does have amazing wisdom on the subject - but then he does gain it from the wisest of sources. :-) I was particularly interested in what John Maxwell said about change and how they don't fear it but strategize for success. I heard an interesting take on that the other day that has really stuck with me - turn your problems into plans - from Mark O'Driscoll (Mars Hill) A wonderful way of coping with what life throws at you these days.
    Have added an update to my blog if you're interested. :-) Have also gained so much from scrolling down some of your rabbit trails - there is so! much out there.
    Glad to have connected with you.
    God Bless

  2. Hi Fiona!

    So very true about Maxwell! I like what you added about turning problems into plans. I'll have to look up more from O'Driscoll.

    Your wiki is fabulous! The tools you used in it were great choices because they modeled your message of collaboration. The AnswerGarden is a great way to publish/share ideas for collaboration, and hadn't actually seen it in use before. Thanks for this idea!

    I have a question, how do you come up with your cunning titles "Much Ado about Collaborative Learning" and "Raining Chats and Blogs" ? I love it, and struggle with titles, so yours are inspiring.

    So glad we connected through the Edublog Student Challenge... and for coming to my blog to comment.

    Kind regards,


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