Leadership Lessons from a True Hero

We use the term “hero” loosely these days. While the term “hero” should be reserved for those who risk their lives serving our country or those who sacrifice to save the lives of others, we sometimes hear sports superstars and even entertainers described as heroes. Neither really are.

Susan Jordan is a hero. She is the school principal from Indiana who, last week, lost her life when she jumped in front of a school bus and saved two 10 year old students at her school. It was truly a heroic act, one in which she paid the ultimate price to save the students in her care.

After reading an article about Principal Jordan, I learned that she was not just a hero. She was also an incredible person and leader. Here are some of the things being said about Principal Jordan last week:

“She had a remarkable way of making everyone she came in contact with feel valued and important.”

“She had a passion for children that is unmatched.”

Principal Jordan knew how people felt about her. She knew this because last May her students and staff made a video telling her how much she meant to them. They got the chance to express their feelings about Principal Jordan through the video, making comments such as:

“She is kind. She’s caring. She’s loving. She’s sincere, and she’s a professional. She makes all of us want to be even better.”

“She’s the definition of wonderful.”

Susan Jordan is a hero. Not just for this one incredibly unselfish act, but for the way she lived life everyday. She made people feel special and valued. And as a result, those who worked with her and for her, really respected her. There are some leadership lessons for us from Principal Jordan’s story:

  1. We never know when life will end, so make sure you tell others how you feel about them.
  2. If you care deeply for the people you lead, they will typically reciprocate.
  3. When you are passionate about your organization and your team, it’s easier to care deeply; so if you haven’t found your passion, keep searching.
  4. Make it your goal to be described by others as the “definition of wonderful.” If you strive for that everyday, you will lead a rich, full life, one that has positively impacted those around you.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. – Follow me on Twitter, @jvearle, and share my blog with others who love leadership and positivity!


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