Grade A Leadership

When we hear the word ‘grade’ we think in terms of school, what scholastic accolades did you receive, was your GPA a 4.0, where you a beta-Cappa something? While researching this topic I came across a variety of information, some were humorous where children were asked what a leader was. In an article that said B students make the best leaders, the article outlines that A students make great individual contributions, these are the scientists, engineers, professors however typically the A student does not develop the same interpersonal skills (soft skills) as the B students. In today’s world of social disconnect, it is becoming more and more important that leaders have these skills soft skills: empathy, hardworking, dependability, effective communication, adaptability and so much more.

Leadership is not about your intelligence; it is about your compassion; leadership is how well you can inspire others and has nothing to do with your position in the company. In the book “The Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn he told the story of a passenger in a busy airport. The compassion and kindness of one person made the sanitation employee feel appreciated and gave them the morale boost they needed. Have you ever had the experience where a young child is a leader? I love hearing about the feel-good stories of children who want to make an impact and do so. These stories often center around a child who has started some nonprofit to help someone else in the community. The point is that there is no age limit to leadership.

Simon Sinek said that leadership is helping the people to the left of you and the right of you, helping each other. Leaders are intentional and adapt their leadership style to the needs of those you lead.

Deshauna Barber is an American beauty pageant titleholder and a captain in the United States Army Reserve.  She presented at Leadercast for Women. She had 3 keys to grade A leadership:

  • Adaptiveness
    • Observe
    • Request feedback
    • Listen more than you speak. Practice being the last to speak.
    • Identify and eliminate toxic conduct
    • Create a governing philosophy
      • The goal is to create self-governing teams who collaborate and work together to solve minor problems on their own. In my first management position, I oversaw the day to day production of curriculum and supervised 3 teams comprising of 18 people. Two of the teams worked well together, they collaborated and had open comminution. One team, however, was more toxic and I felt more like an adult babysitter as they would constantly send messages and come to my office with petty complaints about each other. This was not only toxic for the team but also draining on my time. I quickly had to learn to adapt my leadership style with this one team and find a way to empower them to solve their issues with one another.
    • Balance
      • Health
      • Family
      • Personal (me) Time
      • Work

A balanced leader has a balanced attitude and is better equipped to lead. Do you allow yourself to recharge? What does recharge look like to you?

For example, over the years people have often referred to me as the energizer bunny, in their perception, I just keep ongoing. We all have breaking points when things pile up, it could be extra stress at home or unexpected deadlines at work. Give yourself permission to stop and recharge. For me, my recharging comes with my early morning daily exercise. If I don’t get that time at the gym, I am grumpy and less focused throughout the day.

Getting adequate sleep is huge. Be sure that you know your limits and when you have reached your limit give yourself permission to stop and recharge. You will be a happier person and a better leader.

  • Accountability
    • Accountability over responsibility. Responsibility is the duty, accountability is your compassion

Leaders are not born, they are created. As a leader, what is the example you are demonstrating to your co-workers, family, and friends? Does your behavior or words represent you in the best light?

Cheryl Viola, Executive Director


Schleckser, J. (2018, December 11). Why B Students Make the Best Leaders. Retrieved from

Sinek, S. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved from

What Is Transformational Leadership? (2020, January 30). Retrieved from