Leadership Training or Something Else?

So I had an idea that I suggested to two of my classes. I wanted my students to look up the definitions of 3 historical terms.

I told each class I was going to have a volunteer come up and stand with me. Then I was going to have the students guess what the historical terms might be. Each time they guessed wrong, I was going to pull the hair of the volunteer. I told my students that I assumed compassion would well up in them, and they would be very focused and try their best to get the right answers, thus alleviating the suffering of their friend.

Okay, I did not actually pull anyone’s hair. I like my students.

I also like my job.

Why do I say such things in class? I do it because 30 seconds spent on something ridiculous like this (after I have spent weeks earning their trust) amuses them, which helps them focus on what I am doing in the front of the room, which is discussing history.

Why did I share this here? I wrote about it because it was an (admittedly poor) excuse to lead you to something else. A friend shared this thing he’d heard that was something along the lines of “people don’t get burned out from over work; they get burned out because they lack sufficient reason to keep going.”

Of course the threat of pulled hair isn’t such a positive incentive (though a little humor here and there makes the journey more pleasant). My point is that my friend offered some great insight into leadership. We can motivate people to keep working if we keep giving them reasons to press on.

Go out and inspire people to do good things. You can do it.