TED Conversations

Scott Taylor

Superintendent , Kenilworth Public School District

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Educational leadership

The Battle of Shiloh is considered by American historians as one of the bloodiest wartime fights of the modern era. General Ulysses S. Grant led his troops to Union victory and, as biographer Jean Edward Smith accounts in his highly respected, well researched 2001 book titled "Grant," showed a leadership trait that should be emulated by anyone who strives to win a "battle."

"A general imparts attitude to an army. It is not simply a matter of issuing orders, but infusing spirit and initiative. An inchoate bond develops between a successful commander and the army. His will becomes theirs...The men fought because they knew that Grant expected them to, and they trusted his judgment that they could do so."

The key to the relationship Grant forged with his troops was the success he showed in battle. The general is known to have lost as many battles as he won, but the "wins" he scored in the fighting were significant and game-changing.

Grant's soldiers followed him through thick and thin. I recognize, as an educational leader, that I will have to show successes before I can expect my "troops" to follow my vision. I realize the leaders, teachers, and parents in my schools will not support my work whole-heartedly unless I can prove that their adherence to my plans for student achievement will pay off in the end.

0
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 20 2013: I cannot really believe this conversation got this much attention.

    Grant was a drunk.
    Soldiers were illiterate by today's standards.
    Deserters were shot.

    Wars and Hero's are made by the media.
    Political office is made and filled by the media.
    Media is controlled by political advertising revenue sources.

    The Moon is not made of cheese.
    There is no Man in the Moon.
    The cow does not jump over the Moon.

    Reality is hard to like, but it remains what it is.

    I like ghost stories.
    • thumb
      Jun 20 2013: Frank- I do not believe anyone here is suggesting Grant was an effective person, general, or president. It's hard to doubt scholarly research that pulls good leadership traits from flawed historical characters. Why can't we learn from the failures and successes of previous leaders?
      • Jun 20 2013: Scott, thank you, you wrote.
        "Why can't we learn from the failures and successes of previous leaders?"

        I want to answer with this. --
        As time passes, new generations without the historical experiences of their
        elders, accept most flaws in character that more experienced persons would
        find hazardous.

        US Grant, a Drunk was followed 150+ years later by GW Bush.
        These two national leaders exhibited behavioral flaws, and selfish traits,
        built upon acceptance by voters led by an overly well paid media.
        Their drunkenness's were careful hidden by their political caretakers,
        their families, and friends.

        Grant was a public success and Bush was not. In both cases the
        voters were deceived. Nothing new.

        Voters are deceived by our political circus 24/7/365.
        As long as the media can be paid to sway public opinion, those
        who pay to play, are our dictators. The really funny thing is that the
        US Dictators are always unseen shadows. Pulling the puppet's
        strings.

        In summary, having a drunk, or a moral infant become the voters pied-piper
        is no big deal. Turn on your radio, television, or website, see a movie.
        You can be sure of the truth when told by any of them and Hollywood.
        Can't you?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.