See you at the fairs with the language of friends


Most of my friends and coworkers clearly understand that I possess more of a creative mind than an intellectual one.
I function on energy and ideas. Some of you may be shaking your heads in agreement, as you have witnessed me trying to decipher technology and something mechanical.

However, these lack luster moments do not deter my desire to pursue intellectual opportunities.

Admittedly, I enjoy reading and on occasion a scenic picture or some clever headlines will peak my curiosity.

Recently, it was an article defining leadership language. The term was great, but the definition was a lengthy one.


The examples were pretty good, but it called my attention to a poster that I have had for nearly 25 years of my teaching career.

Wherever I have worked, it has been placed above my doorway to remind me that it is not only WHAT I say but HOW I say it.

It occurred to me this small poster may have done more for leadership language than a well documented article.

Leadership language

I am glad to share with you what it says.

  • It is not “I want” but “I would like.”
  • The six most important words are “I admit I made a mistake.”
  • The three most important words used together are please and thank you.
  • It is not that you did not have time, but you did not MAKE time to finish the task.
  • We are not a group of students, we are a team working together to learn.
  • We are not shoppers, but consumers.
  • We are not just a group of people, but a family that lives together in a home, NOT a house.

This is leadership language based on core values and you can interpret their intent with little or no difficulty. They provide emphasis on what should matter most in our lives.

Perhaps if we all tried just a bit harder to define and practice these, relationships and learning would have more significance.

Thankfully, I have been carefully taught by my students that they CAN and DO yield magical results. I appreciate intellectual endeavors, I thrive on creativity, but the common sense embodied in those simple words should be the true meaning of leadership language. See you at the fairs with the language of friends.


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Bonnie Ayars is a dairy program specialist at Ohio State University, coordinating all state 4-H dairy programs and coaching the OSU collegiate and 4-H dairy judging teams. She and her husband also own and operate a Brown Swiss and Guernsey cattle farm. In 1994, Bonnie was named Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis.



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