"Kids" books and teaching leadership

Posted by jlubans on February 28, 2011

Hardly "kids" books! I used these two children's literature titles in teaching my Latvian library management students about strong followers, sheep, yes men, survivors, & nodders, too.

20110228-king-bidgoods.jpg King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub. (Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood).
This richly illustrated book demonstrates not only how the least among us can be the most effective follower, it also demonstrates that the simplest –yet bravest - solution is often the best. It’s Occam’s razor made explicit: “When you hear hoof beats, think horses not zebras.” Who empowered the page, the follower who pulled the plug in the king’s bathtub?

After all have failed, rank matters less. When things are desperate enough - the king won't get out of the tub - we will ask others – the quiet, unnoticed staffer - for help or they will speak up on their own. Of course, the plug pulling page has the most to lose. The rich kow-towing nobility have name, fame, fortune, The page could be dismissed or worse. Why did the page speak up? Where did his courage come from? What if the King really liked being in the tub. Is the page brave or foolhardy? He could have lost his head - just like we could lose our jobs if we take on a toxic boss in public! Here the class listens to a team presentation on the king and the heroic page:
20110303-presentation king.jpeg

20110228-tippy toe.jpgTippy-Toe Chick, GO! By George Shannon, illustrated by Laura Dronzek
The story: Hen takes chickens daily to garden to snack on bugs. Little chick is a wanderer and adventurer, not willing to settle for the daily routine. One day a chained-up dog keeps them from the garden. We’re hungry, whine –if chickens can whine - the chickens. Hen says, We’re out of luck, we’ll never get past the dog. Big Chicken says I’ll take care of it. Dog barks. Big Chick runs back to Mom. Middle Chick scolds the dog. The dog barks and Middle Chick takes shelter behind Momma Chick. Little Chick runs at dog, stopping short when she feels his breath. Little Chick runs sideways and the poor dog runs around tree and ties himself up. Time to eat, says little chick. The effective follower concept was clearly demonstrated by this student team:
20110303-follower work book1.JPG

Here's another team's more literal match up of this book to Kelley's follower chart:
20110303-literal follower.jpeg


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