Leadership motivation can come from the most unexpected places. Earlier this year I read a children’s book by Chris Kurtz called The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (Harcourt 2013). I blogged about the book at Bookends Blog back in August, but was reminded about the sensible leadership advice in this book while preparing for a conference presentation this week. Flora is some pig. She is not content to spend her life in the pig pen. She wants to explore. Setting her sights on being a sled-pig on a sled-dog team, Flora eventually finds herself aboard a ship headed to Antarctica but the cook, who calls her his “Little Hambone,” has different ideas about her role on the ship.
Never fear, Flora is innovative and courageous, and persistent in her goals. There is danger, but she does not end up on a breakfast plate. The story, though, heralds the idea that brains and talent can come from unlikely places and celebrates teamwork. The animals learn that it is important to pursue your own interests and talents. To support others and to allow others to support you. To share your talents and strengths. And, that leadership can ebb and flow in a group. Certainly this book will be a popular elementary classroom read aloud but perhaps it will help grow future leaders. Meanwhile, it can provide library leaders with some ideas to chew on. Who can you encourage to take on a leadership role in a new project? Who has talents and strengths that you have not tapped? And who on your staff can you call on to support you? Thinking about these things just might save your bacon.