Patricia Zell is a frequent commenter on my blog. I especially appreciate those who take the time not only to read the posts I write, but participate in the discussion of them. Patricia and I have commented back and forth before about her role as a teacher. She has left comments such as, “I’m not necessarily a leader, but as a teacher…”, to which I always reply something such as, “That sounds like a leader to me.” If we believe that leadership is about influence, then teachers are some of the most influential leaders we have. They certainly impact our society in a powerful way. In my life, some of my biggest influencers have been teachers. You can follow Patricia on Twitter HERE.
Here are 10 questions with a great LEADER, Patricia Ezell:
When you were growing up, is this what you thought you would be doing vocationally? If not, what did you want to do?
I’m pretty much doing what I thought I would do–I’m Mom to seven children and I’m teaching school. I have always loved children.
What’s the most different job you’ve had from what you are doing now and how did that job help you with what you are doing now?
Back in 1969, I began working in a bank and I helped set their Master Card system–I worked summer and Christmas breaks there during college. I learned early on what a bad credit report can do to a person.
Who is one person, besides Christ, who most helped to shape your leadership and how did they help you?
I would say my earthly father has helped me most because he made education the top priority for my life and he challenged me in debates which helped me to think quickly on my feet and to use reason.
Besides the Bible, what is one book that has most helped to shape your thought process in life and ministry?
The biography of Smith Wigglesworth taught me a huge lesson. As Smith became successful as a plumber, he started walking away from God while his wife Polly continued to faithfully attend church. One evening Smith was so upset, he locked the front door. Polly didn’t get flustered–she just walked to the back door, came in, and laughed at her husband. That action broke the ice and Smith came back to the Lord and went on to have a tremendous world-wide ministry. The moral of this life experience has stuck with me: when I can’t get in through the front door, I walk to the back door and go in.
What are three words other people would use to describe your work style/ethic?
Slightly scattered, compassionate, diligent
What is your greatest strength in leadership?
I listen to what people say and have been known to change course.
What is your greatest weakness in leadership?
I tend to be quite disorganized with physical stuff. My mind tends to be organized, though.
What is the hardest thing you have to do in leadership?
Deal with students who don’t value education and don’t see much value in doing academic work.
What is one misconception about your position you think people in your church may have?
That I am too nice–I keep hearing that. I do not agree with that assessment–I let students be frank with me because what I am doing directly impacts their futures. They should have some say in what is happening. Besides, encouraging them to think and reason is a good thing.
If you could give one piece of advise to young leaders from what you’ve learned by experience, what would it be?
Actually, I would give them two pieces of advice that go hand in hand. Don’t be afraid to listen and don’t be afraid of change.
To honor Patricia and other teachers in this post, who is one teacher that influenced your life? If possible, share what difference their influence made in your life?