A Strong and Quiet Leader


Mike came in the back door. He was early for music practice. Mrs. Green was upstairs. Mike called out,

“Anybody home?”

Mrs. Green called down the stairs. “Be right down Mike. Make yourself at home.”

Mike put down his backpack and walked over to the piano. He sat down, stretched his fingers and began to pound on the keys. He played as loud as he could. He looked straight ahead as his fingers flew up and down the piano. His feet moved as if he was marching in the army. His jaw was clenched, his brow was straight, and his brown hair fell into his eyes with each key change.

He didn’t hear Mrs. Green when she walked in behind him. Mrs. Green puttered around the room. Mrs. Green knew Mike well. He was quiet and often overlooked. She saw great things in him that he had yet to see in himself. Mike had a patient, quiet demeanor that made people comfortable around him. It was a kind of leadership Mike had yet to see in himself.

Mrs. Green picked up a full candy dish and brought it into the kitchen as if it belonged there. She folded a blanket on the sofa, and moved a vase from one table to the next. Mrs. Green looked busy, but she was really paying close attention.

The song came to an end and Mike still stared straight ahead. Mrs. Green sat at the dining room table with her hands folded. She waited a beat and then spoke.

“You know, hands are a funny thing.”

Mike looked over at Mrs. Green. Her voice snapped him out of his momentary spell. He walked over, sat down and studied Mrs. Green’s hands folded on the table.

Mrs. Green knew she had his attention so she continued.

“I knew a man growing up. He was very quiet and people didn’t notice him much. People liked him but they overlooked him as well. He worked very hard doing construction. He had big hands. He had bigger hands than any hands I had ever seen. One day he had an accident and he couldn’t use his right hand anymore. Everyone was worried about him. He stayed calm and steady as ever.

He began to teach. He was very good at it.  He taught people to hang drywall, to do their own carpentry, hang windows and anything else he knew how to do. Everyone called him when they had a project. It was one thing to hire someone to do work for you, it was another thing to hire someone to teach you how to do it yourself. He became very successful. Do you know why he was so successful Mike?”

Mike searched Mrs. Green’s eyes for the answer. She waited and then gave it to him.

“It was his patient, quiet, demeanor. People were comfortable around him. It is a form of leadership that is rare and often overlooked.”

Mrs. Green looked Mike right in the eye.

“His hands were big, but it was his character that made him strong.”

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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