The Transition To Leadership

from Seth’s Blog

The flawed theory is that A+ students become good leaders.

There’s no reason to think that this should be true.

Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction–these are three hallmarks of someone who is good at school.

None of these are important once you’re charged with charting a new path, with figuring out what to do next. In fact, they get in the way.

We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most empathic or the most intuitive.

More here.

Posted in Leadership and tagged .


  1. In this edition of Seth’s Blog, he brings up the point that the best students in the class are destined to become good leaders. He says that this is due to the fact that getting perfect grades in school just means that you can listen well to what is being asked of you, and then doing work well in response to what they have asked. Lastly, he says that this then hurts your ability to become a leader because you are only trained to be a worker and not come up with your own questions to answer. I completely agree with this entire philosophy. Countless times we see that the leaders in the world today, of the biggest companies, did bad in school. We usually hear this from watching commencement speeches of famous people, at equally famous colleges. They try to tell us that they got their success mostly through their own doing and thinking for themselves, rather than listening to others. When we listen to others, we confine ourselves to their definition of what is possible and get rid of our ability to think on our own to create something special. Being perfect in school is not a bad thing, but It means that you have given in to one of the purposes of schools, which is to beat the somewhat of the creativity out of you. You have gotten great at listening to others and doing their work. This does not also mean that students that get perfect grades cannot not go on to be creative and be leaders in our community. People are just trying to show that grades are not everything in life and people with lower grades are just as likely, or even more likely to be the leader in their own lives and other peoples’ lives as well. A great example of this is the man that runs Vayner Media, Gary Vaynerchuck. Gary is a leading member on social media because he delivers this same message that Seth is trying to bring across. This is the message that being a leader comes from your personal traits and passions, rather than have ben a great student in the past. Gary tells a story that when he was in high school, he flunked most of his classes. Multiple teachers told him that he would not amount to anything. Instead of going to college he took over his family’s liquor business for a while and skyrocketed the value through using advertisements over the internet and social media. His parents then kicked him out of the business. Instead of bowing out, he started his own successful media company with nothing. He now leads a lot of young minds to do the same and find their inner passion so that they can be successful in life if they do not have the passion for school. This further proves the point that he was successful without school, because he wanted to be and did it for himself. Anything is possible without necessarily going down the path of schooling, you just have to put in the work to make it possible, rather than being a factory worker to a company.

  2. Seth addresses a pressing cross-cultural stereotype of leadership by stating that the educational regime was created to produce compliant factory workers, not the bravest, most empathetic or most intuitive thinkers who can chart out their own path and inspire a following.

    I find it interesting how the dogma of our institutions before college are crafted to use the SATs, the AP, the International Baccalaureate, GPA and other grade-point metrics as indicators of success. For many parents investing in their children’s future, a parent-teacher conference on how their child is performing with their grades is often all that it takes for a parent to believe in the fruit of the seeds once sown in their first classes of Kindergarten. But what must be reinterpreted is that those metrics prepare a student for work under an old-time educational structure prepared for line workers in manufacturing companies during the Industrial Revolution. Your child may be excellent in decrypting a Calculus integral, but how does he fair in the way he thinks of new ideas for pasttime activities? Beyond obedience, does the student take strides to reform old systems at home, school or church? How often are they expose to public speaking opportunities? These questions must linger in the minds of every institution that is prepared to make quotes on their ability to prepare students for the real world. Leadership does not start in the CEO conference meetings; it is a skill that can be nurtured in its earliest stages. And not all students have to be leaders – many of the most highly selected individuals today were hard-working followers who did well on tests, paid attention to what’s being asked, and remained diligent in short-term error correction.

  3. This article is so critical and important to understand. Being a 20 year, African American, first generation college student there is a certain pressure that is faced when it comes to academics. We must go to school and receive top honors and make it to the top of our graduate class so that at the end of the day we can be seen as something worth talking about. It is a struggle to choose whether to conform or to stand out and innovate. Most A+ students have tunnel vision and a level surface understanding when it comes to life. They are told that academics is the only way out and that a higher education is the sole key to success. Although education is important, it is not the only thing worth mentioning when it comes to be a leader and being successful. This article is completely correct when stating that “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most empathic or the most intuitive”. I often question the people who write novels or award-winning memoirs etc… and wondered why the things they write even exist. I believe it is fear that is holding these authors back from being initiators and true leaders. If all the answers are in a book and the solutions are all in between a hardcover, then why aren’t they making any valiant efforts in their respective fields. Most A+ students just know facts on top of facts and do not have any true intuition and lack the critical skill of execution. A lot if A+ students think very short term and rarely have a prolong outlook on life and life beyond life. Sure, if I were to own my own business then I would hire the best A+ students to all of the tedious, number crunching work while I scope the job market for true innovators and creatives who may be C+ students to run a more diverse business.

  4. This blog post reminds me of Professor Shannon’s closing remark “think different”. In my opinion, the people who know how to think different are the ones who get ahead in life. They don’t simply do the same process that we all learned in grade school over and over again to achieve the same results. Think about the people who have invented a product or service that has changed the world as we know it…these people surely had to think outside the box to create a life altering product. My point is, I agree with Seth’s post about how people who get A’s in school don’t always make the best leaders. Let’s take a step back from the world’s most influential leaders, like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk (ok- it’s debatable if he’s a good leader..). Smaller scale leaders still have qualities that aren’t at all related to getting good grades. Those qualities are passion, confidence, and the ability to innovate with the times.

    Comparing great leadership to getting A’s makes no sense, as, according to Forbes, leadership has more to do with inspiring employees with the leader’s vision. In this, a leader has to be inspirational, not just book smart. Think about the people who inspire you- they may not be fully educated in every subject, however, they are extremely passionate and well-educated in whatever organization they are leading. The best example that comes to mind is my grandfather. He always used to tell me that he got terrible grades when he attended Lehigh because he was not interested in every subject the school required him to take. However, he went on to own five successful businesses throughout his lifetime because of his ability to think differently paired with his undying passion. People were inspired by my grandfather and loved to work with him because he was so invested in what he was doing, which was a quality that trickled down to his employees. He was also one of the most confident people I have ever known; while his ideas didn’t always succeed at first, he would adjust and try again until they worked. He also understood that even if a business is thriving one year, it will not continue to thrive if there is no innovation to fit the current time period. For example, when he was 70 years old, my grandfather saw the trend to be environmentally aware was booming, so he started a solar panel business.

    Ultimately, getting good grades in school has no correlation with being a successful leader. Being a good leader revolves around passion, confidence, and the ability to innovate with the times. While there are definitely some good students who turn out being good leaders, not all good students will be good leaders.

  5. Throughout the last century, the American school systems have been trying to educate the future of this nation in a time where arguably, the most leadership is necessary since the Cold War. However, if the American education system continues to develop the way to has been, the numbers of leaders being formed will die out due to the ineffective nature of the schooling systems.

    I very much enjoyed reading this entry on Seth’s blog since I can personally resonate to the topic he is touching on. Since we are born, we are rooted to the idea that in order to have be “successful” with a high paying job you have to get a prestigious college in order to get a “good” education and that the only way to get into a prestigious college is to good grades in high school as well as a good standardized test score. The main problem with an education system like this is that it hones in far too much on grades as the only/main correlator for a good applicant. However although grades should play a big role, other factors should be taken into account more heavily, especially qualities of leadership. At the end of the day I would rather see an individual who displays key leadership traits with mediocre grades be accepted into a top name school instead of a follower with good grades be accepted because at the end of the day, the point of education is to inform the leaders of tomorrow. But, how can the leaders of tomorrow be pampered for success if those in charge of educating are dismissing them at the gate because of grades. Speaking of which the topic of these “grades” needs to be addressed, just because an individual doesn’t find direct success in exams and scoring, does not mean that they do not understand the material in cases. Some people (like myself) simply are not good test takers for example, there are times when I have done poorly on an exam when I knew a majority of the material however, due to factors such as nervs and pressure, anxiety can kick in resulting in a poor grade. All in all, the style of education that has been present in the United States over the past century has to be addressed since everday potential future leaders for this country are shown the cold shoulder and not allowed an opportunity for the proper nourishment needed for success just for not being the reach “success” in the broken system they were thrown into.

  6. In this article, Seth brings up the idea that getting good grades in school does not necessarily set up a student for a bright future. He explains that simply getting good grades only means one is good at school, but not ready for a career in the professional world. Learning is important, of course, but in real life, students can learn a great deal in high school and college without actually earning the grades to match their knowledge. Getting good grades simply means you are good at school. Grades are important in college for graduate school and many highly selective corporations. Like it or not, your high school grades are important signals to college admissions counselors in determining future academic achievement. However, the most important life skills are not taught inside the classroom. Though high school and college are excellent in teaching many valuable skills, our current academic curriculum doesn’t teach many aspects necessary to succeeding and thriving in life in general, such as financial responsibilities and investments, how to think logically–retaining information and not merely temporarily memorizing information, and how to apply such abilities to real-world scenarios which are bound to occur. Some of these skills are the most important skills that we will use in our lives, with the highest stakes. For some, skills necessary for real-world scenarios come naturally, but for others, once they reach the real world, they are left clueless because it was not something drilled into their head during high school and college. This is why I think students in high school must be involved. Joining clubs or sports teams’ forces students to take on a responsibility or leadership roles that are essential to their future. I agree with Seth, if all students are doing in high school and college are studying and getting good grades, it means they are simply good at school, but being good at school does not prepare students for their future job or career. To be successful does not always mean getting good grades, it means learning new things and developing skills that will benefit you in the future.

  7. This article was very thought provoking and beautifully brief. I felt as though he’d taken the words straight out of my head. I’ve always said when discussing the subject of our education system with friends or family that simply succeeding within the structure of American education does not equate to success in the business or professional world. In order to be a good leader you need to be creative and constructive, it takes courage and sometimes undeserved confidence to excel and carve a path for the future. These qualities are not emphasized within elementary and high school systems but instead take the back seat to more “useful” and “safe” skills and habits such as diligence and detail oriented focus. Obviously our society would cease to function without the reliable hard work of the many but it is within the few who are gifted with big picture sight and an ability to organize on a larger scale where we are able to progress into newer better technologies. The features of leadership are also so often married to a mixture of impatience and hyperactivity which cause some to do markedly worse within the rigid school systems. This subject has long bothered me as I’ve seen through my friends and family that those gifted to lead are often at a disadvantage within the established learning institutions in America and I hope that through some reform and the expansion of learning programs in the US we can continue to foster the kind of leadership which has made the USA one of the greatest countries on the planet.

  8. Seth’s blog resembles everything that we have been taught over the course of this semester. After the end of every PowerPoint there has been the think different picture. Seth’s blog also reminds me of when Professor Shannon said that the point of his class was to break us of the habits that we have continuously been taught throughout our many years of school. Throughout the years, the U.S. educational system has been trying to take the creativity out of learning and make us all into some sort of working robots. We have always been taught to do well in school in order to get a good job to make good money. Although in some aspects this is true, these tactics do not necessarily lead to good leaders. Some of the best leaders are those that never did well in school. Being able to sit in a chair for 6+ hours and doing what you’re told is good for school, but not for leadership. In order to be a good leader, you have to be able to think on your own and think creatively, which is not able to happen if you are someone who follows all the rules in school. I do not think Seth is saying that it is impossible for someone with straight A’s to be a good leader, but he is saying that you do not need to be a straight A student to become a leader. Most of the time, we hear about how these big leaders did absolutely horrible in school and that it wasn’t for them. It makes me wonder what we all are doing in school/ striving for a 4.0 average when some of the best leaders were those that did not succeed in school.

  9. 13 years of school give or take, not one class has taught me “leadership,” Not a single letter grade I received indicated whether or not I was a good leader in class. The last part “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers,” is exactly right. Frederick the “Great” of Germany, invented a publicly funded school system so that every child would learn to be a perfect soldier. Other countries followed suite, and taught their students to be perfect workers. We are more than hundred years removed from Frederick now, and yet we still have not adapted what is taught in schools, or how we access how skills are learned. The letter grade in a lot of ways is not indicative of how much a student has learned, and with different teachers, and different grading processes, it is almost arbitrary. So combining the bad idea of the letter grade with the education system that promotes creating human robots for the workforce, and you wonder, how have we stuck with this system for over a 100 years? Unless the capitalists in power, want to stay that way.

  10. As the saying goes, “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Some have falsely attributed this quote to Einstein, but its really author is unknown.

    Yet, it rings so true today, where American youth are conditioned to believe that their intelligence can be boiled down to a letter grade, which is largely based on memorization and repetition skills. Take a look at New York University, where 6 students jumped to their deaths from the Manhattan Bridge over the course of one year. [1] An article published in NYU’s independent student newspaper alleges that the University has consistently failed to address the problem. [2]

    Why do things like this happen?

    We can venture to say that many of these students are overwhelmed by their schoolwork or not performing as well as they would have liked, but how do they arrive at suicide as their only option? What causes them to feel so helpless?

    The answer lies partly, I believe, in the goal of our education system, which is to create obedient workers that will contribute to the GDP.

    GDP, is, in the modern age, the go-to metric by which we determine whether a country is doing well or not. Mass immigration is justified by politicians who argue that millions of new arrivals will propel our GDP upward, and other potential negative consequences are swept under the rug. [3]

    President Trump points to a lower unemployment as a demonstration of his success in improving the economy [4], yet Americans are becoming more and more incapable of taking vacations [5].

    The harsh truth is that GDP should not be end goal, it is not the ultimate good. A higher GDP can be a great thing, but the happiness of our citizens has taken a back seat.

    Students at NYU (and across the country) that are failing to do well in school feel unintelligent. This leads them to feel helpless and useless. Attitudes like this are certainly a gateway to suicidal thoughts or actions.

    It seems that everything is backwards now. Imagination and creativity are shut down in schools. Young students who are a bit more active and rambunctious than the rest are told that they have a condition called ADD (or ADHD) and are drugged into being better listeners, and better employees in the future.

    If we look at what ‘intelligence’ really means, we’ll find that there is not a whole lot of agreement on what constitutes smart and what does not [6]. This fact alone should be a strong indicator that our education system should be scrutinized more carefully.

  11. Throughout school, we are taught that, in order to succeed, we must listen and follow instructions. When we do listen and follow instructions, we are rewarded with good grades. When we apply for college, our good grades are rewarded with monetary scholarships. These scholarships serve as a gateway to higher education, often making it possible for people to afford to go to college. Throughout this process, rule-following is encouraged and creativity is discouraged. As Seth wrote, our education system is built to turn out factory workers, and it does this very well. The goal is that by the end of it all, most of the students will have received the same education and be on the same level. However, the idea that this makes the students better leaders is simply false. Like I said, these students are taught how to do certain things and when you don’t do something the right way, you will be punished. Yes, a leader needs to know right from wrong and also what process is most efficient, but this public schooling system does not provide the other factors of being a leader. Leaders must also have a certain level of creativity and intuition. These people are making big decisions everyday and must know when to take the risk and when not to. In order to figure out how to lead in school, you have to resort to extracurricular activities. The basic core curriculum, which includes English, Math, Science, and History, do not prepare you for leadership. They prepare you to finish assignments that all have a clear and distinctive way about them. Problems begin to arrive when you get into discussion and no one really disagrees or has much to add because everyone has been taught how to feel about a certain subject.
    One example of how this barrier can be broken is our class. When we get assignments, they are very open-ended. The TID’s have broad topics and we get to decide what to do with them. With data, some people focussed on legislative efforts and other people focussed on international problems, and so on. This gave way for great discussion in which we all were able to learn something from one another. We all also had to educate ourselves on the subjects we wished to cover which not only made us more aware individuals but also taught us how to teach ourselves about topics.
    The ability to teach oneself is also an incredibly important leadership skill. You can’t rely on someone else to teach you once you leave school. With how fast our world is changing, in order to stay relevant in their jobs, most people are going to have to continue to educate themselves on topics. This allows them to educate others and delegate responsibilities. It is people who break out of the barriers of schooling that will become leaders. These people may also happen to be A+ students, but, more than that, they have been taught how to break out of that mold.

  12. In this addition of Seth’s Blog, he addresses a feat all A+ students hate to admit, doing well in school does not necessarily correlate to doing well in the career field and finding a successful profession. However, this is a favorable statistic to those who do not necessarily get straight A’s in school. This makes complete sense because as Seth stated, “Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction–these are three hallmarks of someone who is good at school.” There can be a correlation between other traits for instance, being good at multitasking, having good people skills and collaborating well with others. Indeed these are skills that can be picked up in the classroom but are not explicitly taught or more importantly in this case, tested by teachers. If teacher’s tested on these qualities then the statement that good grades correlates with good grades would be accurate.
    Since professional success is the ultimate goal of most if not all students, it makes me think that teachers and professors should test on these qualities that would be reflected in their futures and careers. This is an optimistic world where high school students are tested in leadership, communication, and time management for example. This would make the new potential workforce entering the job force extremely qualified, this would likely enhance the competition that exists in the market and improve the quality of work exemplified by young employees. Is this an ideal world or one that we are not ready for?

  13. In this addition to Seth’s Blog, Seth hits the nail on the head when speaking of how students who get straight A’s become good leaders is a flawed theory. From the time you enter school, you learn to color inside the lines, learn simple things such as the alphabet, addition and subtraction, amongst other things. Once the students transition into middle school, the system becomes full of flaws as students are only meant to study material and fill in the answer key on a test. Students aren’t put in positions to further communication skills and students aren’t taught how thinking outside of the box can bring about new and grand ideas. Students during their elementary and middle school learning period are put in a system where they are basically programmed, in my opinion, to read information off a whiteboard or a PowerPoint and recite that information into their notebooks to then recite it again on a test paper.

    Once students reach the high school level, students are put in a better position to learn more about subjects that are outside of the box. My high school offered plenty of electives that dealt with business, art, world languages, etc. These are courses that allow students to get out of their comfort zone and take classes that may resemble their passions in life. High schools should continue to offer classes that deal with the real world and the challenges to expect from it. School shouldn’t be somewhere a child or young teenager goes to regurgitate information on a test paper, it should be a place where it provides the child a place of growth mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    School has become too much of a tool to program children into becoming factory workers, as Seth mentioned, but that way of life is coming to an end. The advancements of technology are contributing to A.I. taking over these factory jobs and allowing companies and factories to have less of a human based work force. The school systems old ways of teaching are becoming useless in helping the younger generations succeed. There isn’t enough critical thinking, learning about real world challenges, learning about the responsibilities of being an adult. The school systems teach us to learn information and write it down on a test for a letter grade which isn’t going to be mentioned when we get a job. School doesn’t teach us enough of what to do after, how we can find our passions, it teaches us to much how to follow orders and be programmed into becoming a factory. This way of teaching has become outdated and no real statistics ever proved this way of teaching created great leaders. It is through real world experiences and guidance from people who have useful knowledge is where we can become leaders and successful rather than having a letter grade represent us.

  14. While Seth’s argument in this blog post has plenty of validity behind, I believe that it undermines a lot of amazing things about the education system. While it is true that skills and qualities found in almost every good student, doing well on tests, doing what’s asked, and being diligent don’t necessarily reflect success in the real world, there are many other aspects of education that foster some of the most creative and intelligent minds we know to this day. While not every good leader is a straight A+ student, there are still plenty of individuals who did do very well in school that carry excellent leadership qualities. I believe that skills such as doing what is asked of one and being diligent in no way interfere with charting new paths and figuring out what to do next, if anything they strengthen them. Part of being a good leader and a pioneer in any field requires a certain tenacity, discipline, and attentiveness that many of today’s great leaders develop in school. Given, many people develop these characteristics outside of school, but many do. Many individuals who argue that the education system doesn’t produce leaders will bring up the fact that many prominent figures in business dropped out, or never completed any form of college education. However, they fail to mention the number of leaders who did do very well in school. I believe that in general people tend to lean too heavily towards either end of the argument when the issue is quite simple; school isn’t for everyone. In my own experience, I have met both people who do incredibly well in school who are very good leaders and those who are just as Seth calls, “factory workers” who only know how to regurgitate information they hear from their professors. There are specific skills that only pertain to success in school that I believe will never translate to a real-world situation, specifically test-taking. The process of memorizing material that will never be used again and spitting it out on a paper is possibly one of the most overrated skills that schools rely heavily on to assess performance. There are flaws in the education system, however, education can often reveal specific skills that individuals have. If a student tends to do well in specific such as subjects such as math and science, this can drive them to pursue specific career paths in which they can thrive and lead others. If a student does well in school, it does not mean that they do not have the skills to be successful in the real world.

  15. To think that only a grade A+ student could become a leader in their own team seems to be a misleading statement. While I can see how many would assume this to be true, there is really no reason to believe such an assumption. There are many key traits I believe are associated with a good leader, and while there is no real specific thing that makes someone a good leader, the amalgamation of multiple key traits and ethics are what drives an individual’s ability to lead. And while some of these traits may develop in the classroom environment, to say that a grade in a course reflects the complex series of traits and abilities that define a good leader is like comparing apples to oranges. Seth’s argument in his blog post holds a lot of water in my opinion, since a letter grade can mean many things about a student. While leadership skills are most certainly fostered in a school environment, it is not reflected by a student’s grades. A student that studies well alone and is shy but achieves perfect grades will not be able to rally and lead a group of peers, but a jock that’s not as smart but has more charisma and confidence may be more inclined to get the ball rolling. I know from my experiences in high school, certain types of people can grab the attention of the room. Somehow, they can get all eyes on them, and once they’ve got your attention, you can’t help but hear what they have to say. These types of people were never the smartest students or the valedictorian, not even by a longshot. My personal experience is the main reason I agree with Seth’s argument, since although in theory students that achieved better grades would be better leaders, things do not play out as planned in reality. Also, given how often students are dishonest when it comes to classwork, papers, projects, even quizzes and exams, in some cases the student with the highest score is a cheater. Does a trait like this make for a good leader? Some might argue it is; intuition, gathering a group to cheat together, communicating in a way other than normal talking, someone who figures this out may actually have the traits of a good leader. But I digress, since there is too much variability when looking at letter grades, one cannot say with confidence that they are a good enough tell of somebody’s leadership capabilities.

  16. The argument that is brought up in Seth’s Blog is a real issue that our society faces. Many people believe that all they need to do is get good grades in school and everything else in life will just come to them. Getting good grades in school should not be the only goal students should strive for. Instead of focusing all their time on grades, they could spend more time working on social skills or just working to become a more well-rounded person. Being skilled in only one area is not how great leaders are formed. Getting good grades can create great teachers but that does not mean they will become good leaders. Most leaders are skilled in many areas to better be able to lead others that come from different backgrounds. Leaders need to know how to lead by example if they must. If a leader only knows how to take notes, how are they supposed to lead those in the real world when not everybody learns the same way as them.
    I also believe that a good leader needs to be able to adapt to any situation that could happen to them. They need to be able to analyze the situation and be able to communicate with their team or unit how they want to take care of the problem. Most students in today’s classes are so used to technology and being able to do all their work on the computer. When something malfunctions or goes wrong with technology, most students do not know what to do next. They become stuck and see the malfunction as an excuse to not do their work. Great leaders do not use excuses and will not allow others to use excuses. They are accountable for their actions and they make others accountable for their actions. Good leaders can notice when others are struggling and help them when they need it. They do not allow others to fall back, they will give them that extra boost so everyone can stay on the same level.
    Leaders also know how to keep people together and can retain good relationships with people. Now with technology, people are losing that skill to communicate with others when it is not over a screen. When people can work well and under good leadership, this can lead to fewer arguments and tension between others and can bring up bad attitudes in people. Good leaders know how to keep attitudes down and have everyone work for the success of the team. My dad always told me that attitude reflects leadership.

  17. After reading Seth’s blog on how getting an A+ in school does not mean you’re going to be a great leader… I have to say that I agree with him. In his blog post, he starts off with a common misconception that an A+ student ends up becoming good leaders and he argues that what happens in school does not correlate to what’s going to happen after school: in your career. He ends his blog post saying that education is there to produce “compliant factory workers” but he also adds that the most compliant isn’t always fitted to be “brave, the most empathic or the most intuitive”.

    Just because one gets A+’s in school does not mean they have the capabilities to be a good leader or be fitted to work in a career-related environment better than one who does not get A+’s. Picture this, a reserved grade A+ student versus an outgoing, cunning and talkative grade C or D student, the reserved grade A student is most likely going to fit in the category “compliant factory workers” while on the other hand, the grade C or D student would be suitable as a “good leader” because of his communicative as well as his sly characteristics rather than just a “compliant factory worker” because becoming a good leader requires communication skills to lead others through a path.

    My leadership skills along with other volunteers were demonstrated last semester when we had to volunteer for a minimum of 10 service hours as part of passing “University Life”. I personally wasn’t a straight A+ student but I was conversational enough to provide my insight and ideas on how to tackle the problem we were facing and think of a solution. Although I didn’t think of myself as a “good leader” I did think of myself as to being able to lead my fellow group members and get the job done. Now that I think back to it, my leadership skills demonstrated that day showed me that the educational regime does not directly teach you leadership skills and that you have to learn and practice it elsewhere.

  18. Seth’s blog creates several agreeable claims. The current educational institutions in place don’t breed independent thinking, rather it encourages regurgitation of information which leads students relying on someone to deliver that information to them. This point is emphasized in Seth’s claim that the current system is a “regime of compliant factory workers. The format of our current learning skills needs to be cleansed. Instead, practical skills should be a core focus, along with the core curriculum of the school. Good leadership, at its core, stems from a person’s ability to think for themselves and come to a conclusion that is not readily clear. Being an A+ student can mean that you are able to follow directions.

    Not only does the current education system not equip students for the real world, but it is also detrimental to their future. By being a cog in this system, it solidifies this as the standard at which students should be learning. Once they are outside of this environment, they become lost. Seth addresses this issue saying that once students are required to think for themselves, not having that environment they are comfortable with “gets in the way”.

    Speaking from personal experience, I know that I was a good student and I did very well in school. When it came to group projects, I always took a backseat role and followed the lead of someone else in my group. Although I would complete my share with good quality, I was never the person to jump to the forefront of our projects. A system that does not promote each student to experience real leadership situations, will result in students being compliant and reliant on other people. Not only with peers but with teachers. My personal experience solidifies Seth’s claim that good students do not necessarily translate to good leaders.

    Many students play sports, many of these sports require athletes to cooperate and enhance their team chemistry. According to, this is the type of environment where leaders are bred. This is where the discrepancy can be found, leadership can by a byproduct of sports, not necessarily from our education system. As Seth says, compliant people don’t directly translate to being brave, empathetic or intuitive, all of which are qualities of leaders. These qualities can only be molded once placed under pressure to improve them.

  19. The blog post is similar to the mantra taught on our first day of class, “Think Different”. Seth states that our educational system today is archaic in the sense that it is not breeding true leaders or thinkers. I can agree with this. Throughout my time in High School, I would not consider myself a leader, or even a free thinker at that. There was almost always a wealth of thought, however, it would stop right there 99% of the time. There was a lack of confidence in my thoughts, and my actions which had always prevented me from acting on said thoughts. To become a leader, and to be more confident in my reasoning behind my acts was something I learned outside of the academic environment – it was learned in the work setting that I placed myself in.
    Within this work environment, I was constantly tested as an individual to stand out and always exceed the expectations placed before me. I had learned to think outside the box, especially to handle situations, ones that which school had never warned me about. Complacency had to go out the window. All of this is especially evident when it comes to the bar environment. I could not be complacent, I had to be my own leader and intuitive. Before this it was always, “Do X, Do Y” and not even questioning as to why certain actions had to be done, in fact, I had help come up with alternative options to the previous actions in order to garner a larger revenue for the bar that I was working in. Something that which, if not for previous years of experience in this “testing” environment, I would not have done.

  20. In this addition of Seth’s blog, I feel that he really exceeded in getting across the point that just because one is a good student in terms of getting A’s, does not necessarily make them a good leader. Good leaders are not always the most “book smart” but are those who can use life experience, passion, communication, and critical thinking to help those around them become the best version of themselves. In every classroom setting, we are not being challenged to stand out and as Professor Shannon emphasizes, “Think Different”. It is very simple to be able to recite material that is being read over and over in class, but are we truly understanding, grasping, and finding a way to teach and help others? Leaders are truly innovative and if they happened to get good grades also that is a plus. The term “good grades” is not always relevant to be a leader or boss one day. However, I feel in our current society, people look more and more at test scores and do not give many people the chance to prove themselves in a non classroom based environment.

    One of the best examples of a leader that comes to my mind is my father. From a young age he has taught me the power of using my brain and using it effectively. He always tells me that in this world to be successful I have to of course do well in school, but also excel in the areas that are not so cut and dry such as, communication, respect, being helpful, inspiring others, and working as hard as I possibly can in everything that I do. My father is a college football coach and as I have grown up, I have had the pleasure of watching him intensely, passionately, and wholeheartedly, lead a group of grown men. The ways that he gets the best out of his players does not stem from him teaching what they attempt to learn every day in class, but was focused on explaining and showing them how to handle life lessons that would translate into them leading one day also. My dad was never great in school but is extremely innovative and knows how to get the best out of anyone.

    Not every entity of our life should be geared around books. We as young adults need real life applications that can help us develop new ideas, technologies, and reasons for the next generation to feel like they have hope. As future leaders, it is extremely important that we not be afraid to fail. We have to embrace these failures and use them as lessons, so that we may lead the best we know how.

  21. Grades are something that I have never have had trouble with. I almost effortlessly get A’s in most of my classes, and I take great pride in that. This however does not define who I am. I put a great deal of thought into grades and what they mean, and I always come to the determination that most grades are a measurement of how good one is at memorization. The more important attributes such as creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving are not as evident in a grading system because they are hard to objectify.

    I participated in a creativity competition in grade school known as Odyssey of the Mind. This competition involved a creative “long-term” solution that we worked on for months, and a spontaneous solution that we would be presented with at the competition. In our first year we took our gifted and talented program and divided it into two teams. Despite our team being known as the lesser of the two from a grade perspective, we performed much better. I believe the cause for this is the leadership and creativity that was provided by the members who did not necessarily get the best grades.

    Leadership is not a trait that is directly correlated with grades in school as Seth says, and it is important to give everyone an equal chance to show their leadership. Instead of teacher leaning towards kids who get good grades to lead their class discussions, they should give some of the kids with less success in their report cards a chance. This would potentially allow them to realize that they are good leaders.

    As Seth says in his blog, our education system is made for an industrial based society. Frankly, we are well into a technology and service based economy. The education should shift with this change from one of concrete fact memorization to one that supports creativity and leadership, and one that teaches students to thrive in today’s world. Being able to form their own ideas from a young age and discovering the principles of effective leadership, the next generation will be better prepared for the work force. Instead of knowing the the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, we could have the next generation of students thinking creatively to find a cure for the worlds most potent problems.

  22. The blog post “The Transition to Leadership” made by Seth’s blog very blatantly describes how A+ students in schools aren’t guaranteed to be the most successful. While he indicates that these students are talented at “ paying attention to what’s being asked”, as well as “ being diligent”; he does not associate these attributes to being “the bravest, the most empathetic or the most intuitive”. With this, it is easy to assume that because the majority of students are not A+ students, they will not face this problem in the workforce. I disagree with Seth’s belief.
    Seth describes how the education system was introduced to “produce compliant factory workers”. While this may have been true at the time, the United States is almost unrecognizable from the manufacturing country it once was. Now, the United States income primarily focuses on the services it can provide, rather than the products it can produce. Seth’s argument that people have been educated to be more obedient instead of competent is not what is reflected U.S economic market.
    If Seth’s theory is correct, this leaves no incentive for students to go to school. If there is no valid reason to work harder, learn more and get a A, all students need to do is show up for, if that. Because of this, students are losing time and money spent on their education just to produce mediocre results. If companies truly value the “most empathic” employee, there is no need for future candidates to get a degree. Colleges provide a higher education in a specific profession, not the ability to understand and share emotions towards other people. Ultimately, having people go to school with no regard to how they perform will lead to poorly educated people and lessen the value of a degree. If everyone at a school does poorly, the status of the school decreases.
    While Seth’s point does introduce a new foundation of learning, the standards for education should not change. Seth categorizes students with A+ grades to be those who simply memorize facts and cannot deal with a problem or difficulty. Students with higher grades tend to put in more effort to earn them. Employers should value their hard work and attentiveness.

  23. Seth is correct when he begins his blog by stating, “The flawed theory is that A+ students become good leaders”. Grades do not reflect what kind of leader a person is. For the students that are A+ ‘s students they have clearly have found a way to succeed in the educational system. After completing their education, getting good grades might help these students receive high quality jobs. However, once hired not every “A+ student” will automatically become a good leader.

    Kevin Kruse of Forbes defines leadership as, “the process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”. In my opinion, just because you were in an A+ student during High School or College doesn’t mean you will be able to help others towards reaching a goal. Knowing how to manipulate the education system does not mean you will be able to influence others to do better.

    When I define a good leader I automatically point to my father. He was by no means was the best student in College, but in the end that did not matter at all. My father oversees a restaurant group which has over 300 employees. One thing he has always said to me growing up was, “ If you show respect, respect will be given”. Everytime my family and I go to one of the restaurants he oversees, employees come up to us all the time telling us how great my father is and how he has helped them become a better person. A good leader is someone who has experience and is willing to share advice in a manner where someone will benefit and learn from.

    Seth ends the “Transition to Leadership” blog by stating, “ We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most emphatic or the most intuitive”. Seth’s statement is correct because does anyone want a leader who isn’t brave or intuitive? A good leader shouldn’t be defined on what grades you receive. Overall, a good leader is a person who is willing to go above and beyond to do good and think outside the box. A person who has been trained their entire life to be a compliant factory worker will have a hard time breaking that mold and leading others.

  24. After my reading of Seth’s blog on how getting an A+ doesn’t necessarily correlate to becoming a good leader, I realized that I couldn’t agree more. Growing up, I attended school as everyone else did, and a short while into that schooling, I learned that to be successful, I need to listen to the teachers and do what they say. When it comes to doing work, I need to write their way and solve math problems their way; I was never thinking for myself self I was following the system. It was if I was just part of a program following along with the rules and never thinking for myself, and I did just fine. I had high grades, and all I had to do was do what the teachers told me to do. I never thought anything of it just assumed that was what life was until I had my first job. The position I fulfilled was the leader of a group of people; I was to tell them what to do and how to do it. At the beginning of the job I struggled, because my whole life, I just followed the rules I never made them. After I while I started to get better at it only because I had one of my friends on my side who was someone that was never the greatest at school but very good with people, he helped me figure out what it meant to be a leader proving just how flawed people are in their conceptions. Thinking that because someone is good at following the rules in the school system and receives good grades that it makes them an excellent candidate to be a leader. When in turn, it is the people who understand other humans and how to connect with them, that are good leaders.
    Now, why could this be? Why is it that sometimes the A+ students are not the most exceptional leaders? Well, as Seth’s Blog stated, it is because “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most empathic or the most intuitive”. In this, the author states how the grade A+ isn’t always a measure of smarts; it is, in actuality, a measure of compliance with those who receive them often being the most compliant. In many cases, this is true; however, some people are just smart and still secure A+ grades and are great leaders, but the overwhelming majority of those who get A+ grades are only good at following a system and not thinking for themself. While reflecting upon this, it is evident that something needs to happen to fix this system of education so that it highlights not only those who are smart but also those who are great leaders instead of those who are just good at being compliant and following a system.
    Where our current society is, we require great leaders who can help our nation conquer the vast issues it has instead of people who will sit there and follow the system. Seth’s blog backs this up by stating how those who are good at following the system aren’t always the most empathetic and where society is at as a whole; we as people need an empathetic leader. Seth’s blog is dead accurate in stating that the way the school system is it highlights those that follow the rules and not those who are true leaders.

  25. The argument presented in Seth’s blog gave me an interesting insight on why being a good leader comes with more than the ability to receive good grades while completing school. Being a good leader is based on a long list of traits regarding your decision making, creativity, managing high expectations, and performance in times of stress and struggle. These can hold a big impact on your ability to lead and ultimately, your mindset will determine your success in being a leader. Leadership isn’t a given ability but like Seth highlights in his blog, it is important to have your own process and thought to be able to create something great. Being able to do good in school highlights the fact that you can listen and define other peoples ideas, but it is your own ideas that make a good leader. He says that this then hurts your ability to become a leader because you are only trained to be a worker and your insight will stunt your growth because it only contains thoughts of people you have listened to, not your own. This has an impact on creating your own path and figuring out what to do in times of backlash, and chaos. I believe the traits of a good leader is the ability to be open minded and to always have creative thoughts flowing through their mind because the most creative thoughts come without the perception of others, just when you’re in a quiet space to have a free mind. Being a leader comes with a level of trust you have to gain and then that will gain attention to your innovations. Being patient in gaining trust is prominent in the sense that it will benefit you in the long run because once you gain that trust, engagement on your innovations will be the result. I found it interesting that Seth emphasized the fact that gaining trust is important because a customer will always choose trust over commotion. It really resonated with me the fact that Seth points out that most competitions you enter will result in failure. It is the ability to keep the ideas flowing and keep being creative because eventually one of these innovations will pan out and that separates the successful leaders from the unsuccessful. Being able to perform well in school is the result of being a good listener and listening to the guidelines you have received. It is the successful people that go above and beyond those guidelines which are successful

  26. I see the content in this article reflected in my own personal life. Half of my friends from high school went to university, and the other half to community college. While it may seem a little elementary to compare this them, this article is after all targeting my age group precisely. Friend A is 18, goes to a university and has never had a job a day in her life. To elaborate, her family is financially comfortable, and she has never needed to. Friend B is 19, goes to community college and works two jobs. He manages his time better than most adults I know. Friend A clearly demonstrates the A+ student, whereas friend B was more of a B/C student in high school. Seth’s blog noted that “Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction–these are three hallmarks of someone who is good at school.” While in school friend B didn’t fit to this mold, but in his job where there are no tests, he demonstrates quick footed thinking and long-term error correction. In his jobs, friend B holds both manager and supervisor positions which show qualities of leadership. The thing is, when students are taught to test, the ones who find test taking difficult tend to give up. But it’s often these kids who have more real experience with work ethic then those of us who consider “hard work” reading a textbook until 5 am the night before an AP test.
    In class we briefly discussed the short shelf life for most professions nowadays. We discussed how students with multiple majors and/or minors in the same field often aren’t as professionally beneficial. It is easy for a business major to be versed in economics, finance, IT accounting, ectara. As it becomes more common than not to have these degrees more and more workers become expendable. This ties back to my analysis of my friends. Friend A will most likely launch into the work force and profit on an upward trend during her twenties. But, once it’s time to buy a house or start a family her skills will be outdated, and new jobs will be handed over to the new inflow of students. Friend B may have taken over and expanded the family business at this point. So, what’s the better turn on investment, especially factoring in the $200,000 college tuition fee.
    In history we learn of the greatest generation and the boomer generation who believe in sticking with your job until you retire. While I don’t necessarily agree with this, I do think the current system is starting cost more than it’s worth. But what opinion do I really have when I myself am the straight A, test taking, short-term stereotype myself. The fact of the matter is Seth’s blog shows that we see the system isn’t foolproof, but we make no effort to fix it. If we hope that a failing system can produce a solution, we need we might just get stuck in a waiting game.
    Growing up I would always say I didn’t know what I wanted to be because I had no hands-on experience with anything. We should be promoting exposure to hands on activities instead of teaching people that the only letters they really need to know are A through E on a scantron.

  27. Finally found these, Sorry about the late reply.
    In This Seth’s blog he talks about the flawed theory that all A+ students would be great leaders and would do great in the real world.
    To me, I’ve always thought that is not true at all. I’ve always thought that there is different kinds of intelligence. People who get straight A’s are usually good readers and can remember things they read and learn, but they might lack in other types of intelligence. My father, who did not go to college, is one of the most intelligent people I know. His emotional and social intelligence is very high. He knows what to say in every situation. He has friends all over the world and is often complimented of being very empathetic. He has founded a business in 2009 and in 2020, they have almost 30 different locations all around Finland. I think it would be idiotic to think that he is not intelligent just because he doesn’t have a college degree. On the other hand, I’ve met a lot of people who are not getting good grades, yet they insist that they are the smartest people in the school. In my opinion, you can not claim to be brilliant, if you have a D+ in a class and think it is because the teacher hates you. “Grades don’t show intelligence”. It doesn’t necessarily show your intelligence, but it is an indication of how well you can follow simple instructions, and how well you do what is asked from you to do. It is harder to convince people that you are smart when you have a C instead of an A.

    Getting A+ grades in college is obviously helpful and it is an indication of intelligence of some sort, but it doesn’t mean that you will be a good leader. In my biased opinion, good leaders come from situations where they need to be social and attentive to others. This would be sport teams, or fraternities and sororities. It could be clubs. I think good leaders are molded from these kinds of environments.

    My critique for Seth’s blog post comes from one of his last points. He claims that “Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction” will not be important when you are “charged with charting a new path, with figuring out what to do next”. I think that all 3 show intelligence and will be helpful in the in the new tasks. Would you rather have someone who does terrible in tests to be your leader or someone who is a straight A student?

    I loved the last sentence. I think it is important to find someone who is compliant, brave and empathetic for a leadership role. Leaders need to have more expertise than normal worker.

  28. This article is so important to be read by everyone especially, students who are currently enrolled in college or are graduating high school. Seth states that getting an A+ doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be a great leader which I believe is true. Being able to succeed in the classroom gets students prepared to work a 9 to 5 job in a small cubical being an interchangeable worker. From a young age, we are told that getting good grades is ultimately the only way to have a successful career beyond school but good grades are not what define us as great leaders. Leadership comes from experiences and how we learn to overcome hardships with difficult decisions. Leaders on sports teams are the players that coaches see taking charge on the field and keeping the team on track.

    My father came from Poland 27 years ago just barely squeezing by in high school. He did not complete any college and is now a successful business owner. He came here barely speaking English and learned the trade of tile until he felt comfortable enough to successfully open his own business. His story relates to this article because he was not the A+ student, he barely passed his classes in high school and is now the leader of his own company. He learned how to be a good leader from his colleagues and from experience, not from textbooks. The world is constantly evolving and no textbook will ever be able to keep up with our society’s changes.

  29. I’ll start off with this, I wish this article would have been longer and further expanded on because Seth shares an extremely crucial viewpoint towards today’s educational system in the United States. Straight A students students have been put on a pedestal since education first began. Anyone below that expectation was seen as insufficient for years. The competition students face now just to get into a “prestigious” university blows my mind. The pressure to get a perfect GPA and a perfect SAT score and have perfect grade is honestly disgusting to me. Education is no longer about expanding your knowledge or questioning beyond what is being taught to you. No. It is about memorization and regurgitation. It is about creating the perfect robot instead of working on bettering a student as they are. Seth brings up a good point when he mentions that the credentials taught to students today will be their major obstacle when entering the “real world.” To me it makes no sense. For twelve (or more) years students are told how to behave, when to speak, what they should think, never to challenge their teachers, and to simply conform to the rules of the school, but then are suddenly expected to be adults once they hit the age of 17. Students nowadays are so terrified of failure that they rather stress themselves to the point of no return rather than getting anything below a B-. And yet the education system sees nothing wrong with it. As long as the test scores are high enough to get more funding everything is fine, right? I mean the first thing we are taught in school (other than reading and writing) is how to take a test. From that moment on we are taught to be test takers instead of functional human beings. What I am starting to notice now is that colleges are starting to pick up on this. More and more institutions are rendering test scores obsolete. The student is being seen. Who they are is being valued. It is no longer about the number you score but the challenges you’ve overcome and the experience you have during high school that will determine your acceptance.

    A wise man once told me “It is more important to have street smarts than book smarts but if you have both, you can write your ticket.” From my personal experience as a student, I was NEVER an “A” student. Up until high school I was C average. I always felt dumb and never good enough compared to my other classmates. In high school I changed that. I started applying myself and questioning more. Took a lot of AP courses and became a “B+” average student. Now as a college student, I am not afraid. Getting a C in my first semester did not face me because of my past failures. Meanwhile, there’s students today that cry at the fact of getting B (my advice: get over it). My point here is to not tear down A students but rather to enlighten. Getting over the fear of failing will grant you eternal freedom regarding you academics. That is the one thing I enjoy most about college, most professors preach embracing failure rather than fearing it. My take on this article is that Seth is trying to highlight the fact that a student is more than their grades. We grow from mistakes and we learn from failure. If you don’t fail, how will you mature?

    One last comment,
    With all due respect, a word count does not define adequate work.

  30. This article is very brief but also straightforward; the article highlights a problem that I believe our society has had for quite some time. The article talks about how A+ students are not necessarily the people who become the great leaders, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Just because you are the best in the classroom does not mean you are the most qualified to be a leader. This contributes to my belief that as a society, we overvalue or put too much emphasis on the letter grades or academic achievements we receive. It starts at a young age and it continues as we progress through the educational system.

    Seth describes it perfectly: “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most empathic or the most intuitive.” Some of the most brilliant people and leaders in the world were not that good in school. Leadership is not something that can be tested and shown through a paper examination. I know people who struggle with classes and test; but outside of class they are some of the smartest and bright people I know. Requirements for doing well in school, for example paying attention in class and doing well on papers and tests, are not the requirements for being a great leader. Making a student a leader over another because of their A+ grade is better than the others C+ is flat out ridiculous. Grades are not the only measure; they are not what defines students or even people in general. There are traits that a great leader has, that no class or teacher will ever be able to teach.

    We have overvalued and put too much emphasis on academic achievements for too long. From a young age we are taught that we should get good grades, which is indeed true. However, if we do not it is not the end of the world nor are, we automatically failures. An A student is not more likely to succeed or fail than a C student. Many people have not finished college or even graduate high school and have gone on to do great things with their lives. Not everyone that has a 4.0 or graduates college goes on to be successful as well. Everyone is on their own unique path that they are following. You can do anything in the world that you put your mind to and work hard at it.

  31. I started my first college semester with the common goal of graduating with a 4.0 GPA. After having completed the semester, my goals have shifted greatly. This is due to the fact that I have discovered the key to unlocking the true meaning of education. In high school, I mastered the art of cramming information in my brain until a test, where I would then forget almost everything I memorized. After my first semester as a college student, I have recognized that acing a test would not be as easy as it once was, nor was it as important to me. The best professors I’ve had so far have proven to me that even if I tried to simply memorize the book, it wouldn’t give me the A that I wanted. Getting an A means that you truly understand the material, and in most instances, I did not. So even if I received an A from my professor, I did not receive one from myself- which is just as important. Nowadays, comprehending the concepts of what I am being taught is much more important to me than getting an A.
    Academic excellence does not determine career success. Take some of the world’s most influential and successful people, for instance. Steve Jobs finished high school with a GPA of 2.65, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr finished with only one A in his four years at Morehouse. This comes to show that you do not need straight As to be a valuable asset to an institution, a job, or the world.
    Moreover, this flawed theory Seth describes is a major component in the college application process and is an aspect that should be reassessed. For instance, standardized testing may be a major factor in the application process, but it hardly gauges a student’s ability to critical thinking which is an essential trait one must possess in higher education. Standardized tests do not measure the understanding of a subject matter, which is why even the brightest students struggle. By keeping this element of the college application process, institutions are truly missing out on some of the best leaders and critical thinkers. Instead, they should focus their attention on what a student does beyond the classroom.
    I started my first college semester with the common goal of graduating with a 4.0 GPA and ended with the goal of possessing the ability to critically think, and effectively articulate my thought processes- which are the qualities all exceptional leaders possess. These traits will grant me genuine success in my career field.

  32. To me, one of the most irritating things is when students let their grade point average dictate who they are. GPA’s usually gets to people’s heads letting them boost their ego for a while or it can just tarnish someone’s confidence because their GPA is not as high as the next persons. What’s so frustrating is that most people forget that there is more to offer than a number. From the very beginning of Seth’s blog, he states, “The flawed theory is that A+ students become good leaders.” I think the sets the tone of this “argument” being that not being an A+ students, automatically means that you’re not a good leader or not have these good leadership qualities that make a good leader. I think that grades are so misleading because a person could have a C+ average and we look at them as an “average student”. But what we don’t look into all the time is context. There can be so many factors that could hinder grades that goes completely over our heads. Therefore, I believe that its not always about grades but more about the individual person. A mix between grades and personality could make a great leader!
    What stuck out the most to me was the line in blog where it states, “Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction–these are three hallmarks of someone who is good at school.” What our generation is guilty of is going to school and worrying about the grades rather than actually learning. I mean, I don’t really blame our generation because of the limitations that exist when we don’t get the grades that schools and colleges expect. We listen and memorize things for the solid A in the class for the GPA we desire so bad! Although this is a great thing the moment you get those grades, in the long run that time was wasted because you’ve developed nothing. Everything you memorized came in one year and completely out the other ad you’re not truly prepared for the future. Which is why that line in Seth’s blog is so important for our generation to realize. This includes students, colleges, and everything in between!

  33. I believe that to becoming a good leader, you do not have to be a A+ student because not everyone learns the same way. Each person has a way of learning and how they express themselves. Just because someone went to a top school with the best grades that does not mean they are most suited for a leadership position. To be a leader, one must understand everything there is on what being a leader is all about. Someone who possible did not do well in school and hardly graduated, could be really well at leading a team and have good leadership qualities. GPA’s and degrees should not be what defines someone in total. Someone can be the top of their class, but might not know how to be a good leader.

  34. Seth’s blog speaks about a preconceived assumption about the schooling system and leadership. The schooling system is essentially how well an individual can regurgitate knowledge of a subject. It is content based using paper and pencil and has little to do with how well an individual can perform a job or be a leader. Leadership involves personality skills that are gained through hands on experience with other individuals; a textbook on common core knowledge cannot provide this for you. For example, let’s look at Walt Disney, he dropped out of high school at 16 and joined the Red Cross. Eventually, he was sent to France and was assigned to drive an ambulance. Disney learned more about culture, work, and leadership working with Red Cross than he would have if he was sitting in high school classes. His personal experiences built the steppingstones to become a multimillionaire and a legacy that will never die.
    Many people believe that schooling is a multi-platform system that will lead you to anything you wish. I believe it is a rigid system that allows little to no creativity. The schooling system limits an individual’s abstract thinking ability and could close doors for opportunity and success. Have you ever heard of a leader who was not creative? How about a leader who cannot think outside the box in order to get the job done? The best way to grow as a leader is to explore options in life, be open minded, listen to other’s ideas, and act on those ideas or thoughts in a precise and accurate manner. The common core education system does not practice these virtues, which could lead to missed opportunities later in life.

  35. In Seth’s blog he talks about the flawed theory of A+ students being good leaders. I completely agree with his views. Just because someone is qualified on paper does not mean that they are going to be great at a position, especially a leadership position. Seth mentions that the present-day educational regime was created during the industrial revolution for compliant factory workers. He’s completely right about this, I’ve done my fair share of research on the education system in the United States and the system, especially K-12, does not provide an environment for creativity and innovation. For a student to become apart of the top ten percent of their peers it is not hard to crack the code. Students nowadays know how to cheat the system. As long as a student does the basics such as homework and study, then add a few extracurriculars in their resume, they are seen as a great candidate, even if they are doing the bare minimum. Just as Seth said, it does not mean they will be the “bravest, the most empathetic or the most intuitive.” There are many talented students that get overlooked because they simply are not bothered to comply to the outdated system. Each student is unique and just because one may be horrible at English and great at math, does not mean they cannot be a great leader. Students do not have to be great at everything they do, which is what is a problem in school systems today. Providing basic education to students is great but forcing them into something where they have no passion for will simply lead them to failure. In a way, the rebellious kids, who do not care if they aren’t perfect at English but are great in math, shows that they know their worth and are great at understanding that not everyone is cut from the same cloth. To create a great team a leader must rely on others to do their part, to understand that everyone has valuable skills in different areas and in order to work together they must be able to create an environment where they can communicate and work together to reach their goals.

  36. Seth’s article talks deeply on a controversial topic that has been plaguing minds for years — do excellent grades lead to well rounded leaders? In my opinion? Not really. Does getting good grades help? Sure!

    If anything, to me, good grades are more an indicator of work ethic than anything else. Besides this, I don’t think grades are in anyway an indication of leadership skills. I’ve seen “A” students in both camps — both extroverted leaders and antisocial geniuses. But for some reason, many people are convinced that our greatest minds are the ones who got the greatest grades. While there are many many examples of A+ geniuses that go onto create huge tech giants and software companies, there are also many high-school and college dropouts who have achieved greatness on a path of their own.

    To be honest, and this may be a controversial opinion, but sometimes the kids who are great at all subjects aren’t meant to become leaders — because they’re a jack of all trades. Sometimes, it takes someone who is really dedicated and talented at one area to lead a group. By the time these students are hitting college anyways, they’ll have to specialize. I know plenty of people who score high on all sections of standardized testing such as the SAT and ACT. But at the same time, I also know students who didn’t even study and were achieving extremely high scores on one section instead — possibly because they had a natural aptitude for it.

    While I think that getting good grades indicates good work ethic (not in all scenarios however), it is important to understand that this is only one quality of being a good leader. It isn’t so much about the grades, but the student themselves.

  37. I found this article very interesting, and even thought is not very long what they explain about leadership makes you think about if a good leader necessary is a person who had outstanding grades during his life. In my opinion, good leaders are not determined by their grades in the past but, they are determined by their actions in the work field. For me, a good leader, is a person who has passion for what he does. A leader must be enthusiastic about his work, showing passion for him and absolute dedication. Otherwise, it can hardly inspire and transmit the values of the company to the rest of the team. Of course, the good leader has to “go down” to the field. Regardless of what your main tasks are, the team should see you as a member of it, someone who works side by side to achieve the company’s common goals.

    In addition, a good leader will also be someone with a great capacity for work, but as important as daily work is knowing (and wanting) to delegate certain tasks. It is common that, when an employee has a managerial role, he has problems delegating. As he was used to doing all the work assigned to him, he lacks experience in the transfer of tasks, but it should be clear that this is one of the keys to success towards leadership, and it will also help employees see it as “a good boss “, since delegating is a good way to convey confidence to the team. A good leader must be clear about how far the process of transferring a task goes and when it should go back and not interfere.

    A leader must be able to convey clear information, inspire confidence, spread his motivation … and everything he achieves with a good communication ability. Sometimes we forget, communicating is not only talking, but also listening. The ability to sit with team members whenever they need it is much more important, to better understand and contribute the help they need at all times. Therefore, a leader with good communication skills will be able to anticipate problems, not only with his team members, but also with customers, partners and competitors.

    Finally, a good leader must be committed to the company, its employees and its customers. In the business field, commitment means being present for the good and for the bad, seeking continuous improvement of all processes for the good of the company and that of its customers. In addition, a committed leader spreads this attitude to the rest of his team members, which will eventually lead to an improvement in productivity and motivation.

  38. Right away I was interested in Seth’s Blog, as all of the blog posts I have done so far have been about an article, so commenting on another blog intrigued me. As for the blog post Seth titled the post “The transition to leadership”, based on what Seth talks about in this post I believe he is referring to young adults and the transition we make into becoming leaders in the real world once we enter our occupation. Seth starts the post off by saying “The flawed theory is that A+ students become good leaders.” Through out my life I never was a straight A student but I would do much better in some classes then others, with that said I always believed that your grades don’t always reflect you as a person or your leadership skills, this of course is not true for every student but I feel all students learn differently and most people can become leaders when placed in the right position with the proper training. I understand your grades reflect how much responsibility you have but I feel most classes are not a true test of your leadership skills, just because you may have bad test taking skills or have trouble with writing essays that shouldn’t represent your leadership skills. During middle school and high school sometimes when I was learning something I would ask myself, “When am I actually going to use this in the real world?”, I realize now that was a stupid question but it is partically true, just because you may fail calculus that shouldn’t represent your leadership skills. I feel most leaders have had some kind of weakness in school throughout there life, if anything I feel that your failures make you into a stronger leader in the real world.
    Overall I completely agree with Seth’s blog post about the transition of leadership, its short and sweet. Seth highlights the flawed theory that A+ students become good leaders, usually I feel most straight A students will become good leaders, but I feel Seth does not think grades are a good reflection of your leadership skills. Just cause you may have trouble taking tests or paying attention doesn’t mean you cant become a good leader in your desired field, Seth points out that our education system has been set up to be a pass or fail system but really it should be more then that as life is more then just passing or failing.

  39. This article states that only A+ students make good leaders.This is not true. Not everyone that is a genius knows how to make a good teammate and can lead a group of people for correct success. They might have a lot of knowledge on the topic or area, but that does not imply that one knows how to work with others well. Speaking from personal experience, I am not a A+ student. However, I am Treasurer of Alpha Phi Omega, which is a Co-Ed Community Service Fraternity Organization.
    I worked on myself ever since I joined and worked my way up into this position. I learned how to be a team player and I am still learning. I am always learning how to deal with random situations but that does not mean I get straight A’s in school because truth be told, I don’t. In fact, I am often a procrastinator. I learned how to be apart of something bigger than myself for a year, until I learned I am capable of a leadership role.

  40. Reading this article presented by Seth’s blog brought up an important idea that needs to be discussed today. Do getting good grades in school mean anything more than excelling academically, not in real life?
    One saying that I could not understand until recently has been that the C+ students will be the bosses of the A+ students. I understood it now was due to me being liberated from the state curriculum that emphasizes memorization, and taking tests instead of concept understanding with application in real situations. The C+ students build creativity, passion and grab the skills needed to do their goals. They do not spend hours trying to become perfect, instead they do just enough to pass. The extra time is for whatever they love, which in the future can be building a business that hires the A+ student who lived his whole life being a great listener, and following orders easily. The A+ has become a sheep like Seth declared in the article saying school was used to build factory workers. The C+ student is liberated from constraints to have to become the best student and can become himself. We live in an environment at school where being wrong is seen as being stupid, but the greatest lessons we humans learn are from mistakes. This constant environment of needing to be right all the time makes us more vulnerable in real life settings where mistakes happen and when they do we become un prepared to handle these situations
    There are two smarts, Street, and book, both require different skills. Street smart is an understanding of reality, and how to implement book smart in real life. Only being book smart shows you one side of the coin with the other not letting you utilize that book smart. The C+ plus students (Me) during High School had a mix of both smarts that helped me go through life with clear glasses, instead of the A+ students who went with fogged glasses. The greatest leaders of our time were not the Valedictorians nor the Einsteins, but the ones who understood the reality and implemented the book smarts they needed to get ahead. They understood concepts, ideals, and life to become who they were.
    Schools need to spend more time with specialized learning for future generations instead of a general curriculum that forces kids to fit in a mold that could forever keep a kid in place. In the future I would like to hear debates around this topic to change our education policies since the younger generations are the leaders of tomorrow.

  41. I believe that Seth is entirely correct in his belief that the best student in school is not always the best leader. He writes in regards to our current education system that, “we invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers. But the most compliant aren’t always suited to be the bravest, the most empathic or the most intuitive.” The need for a modern approach to education is a separate issue, but it is a reason why A+ students aren’t necessarily the best leaders. Many of the tasks that are required of students these days are not applicable to the real world. Memorizing and regurgitating what the teacher said on the test is not a skill that anyone in the workforce needs. It is easy to do well in school and not have what it takes to be a leader.
    Leadership requires a level of effective communication that is too often ignored in our current education system. Students must learn how to address a team of people and inspire them to complete a task. The implementation of more team-oriented tasks would be a change that would prepare more students to be leaders. In addition, leadership requires creativity. These team-oriented projects would have to be more creative than what is currently expected of students in school. Every student knows exactly how to write a five-paragraph essay, or create a basic, bullet point-filled powerpoint presentation. It would be a new challenge for students to have to step out of their comfort zone and be more creative with everyday assignments. This would prepare them to be leaders much more than what our current education system expects from students.
    Another quality of leadership that is not taught in schools is conflict management. When leading a group, everyone will most likely not be on the same page about how to complete a certain task. It is the job of the leader to make sure conflicting ideas don’t lead to tension within the group. This practical, real-life skill of conflict management is critically important for students to learn at a young age if they are to become leaders in the future.
    I fully agree with Seth that the typical A+ student is not always the one who will make a great leader. Too many of the skills that we are taught in school are outdated. Most students will not be adequately prepared for a leadership position. We must make a change in how our educators teach young students and the skills that they are taught. Practical skills like communication and conflict management should be emphasized to all students in school. These changes will help better prepare our students for leadership positions.

  42. In bearing the worlds theory in that good students will always become successful is just wrong. Millions of good students each year find it hard to find work and are struggling to make the money they thought was guaranteed through securing a degree. This has made people realize the only knowledge necessary to succeed is not just found in schools. The knowledge needed to achieve is more than just A’s in calculus or economics. Getting an A in all your classes may show determination but it does not necessarily mean you are a leader or even a person with the mind set to receive the job you are searching for. There are many factors that go into becoming a leader and failure is often one of these factors. In my life I have failed more times than I can count but every time I do, I feel like I have learned something valuable or even learned to just listen to other people more. This one characteristic shows more to employers and does more for your character in work ethic than an A ever could. The students of Harvard and Yale who all of there lives have been used to be the top of top in everything do have a hard time adapting to the change college can bring. There grades are lower they are no longer the smartest kid in every room they even begin to feel dumb. Many of the students can reveal symptoms of impostor syndrome this means since they are no longer the best they feel as if they no longer belong at Harvard. This mind set keeps kids down and promotes the opposite of leaders the competition in the classroom to have the best grades is a tactic schools use to get you to do the work they want. They keep students in desks away from there friends and in rows to simulate there working environment that schools want you to be in. The people who are at the top of the business world did not get there by following all the rules and trying to be the best student ever. Yes a college degree does help but in reality the grade does not matter. Getting an A and B in college is not much of a difference. The real selling point to get a job is your personality and how you are carrying yourself more often.

  43. Personally I feel like this topic has followed me all throughout my undergraduate experience at Rider University. After reading this brief blog post I know one thing is for certain. Leaders are not born they are made. It is the culmination of their struggles, life experiences, and constant uncomfortability that pushes them to grow and adapt as humans. With that being said, I would like to tie this topic into how I developed and grew into the leader that I am today.

    On campus, I have pushed myself constantly to get involved in multiple organizations. One organization in particular that has had a significant impact in molding me into a young professional, mentor, and effective leader is Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc.. I have held many positions within this organization beginning with being elected chapter treasurer within my first year as a member. Although, many may think the only way to be a leader is to hold the president or vice president title I took the initiative to embrace my role and took pride in effectively managing, budgeting, and fundraising for my chapter in respect to the president’s vision. During my time serving as the treasurer I was able to create initiatives to raise over $2,500 in one semester, a result of 3 campus wide fundraising events. This was no small undertaking, however, yearning for that next step, that next challenge, I decided to apply for another position.

    During my junior year, I had the privilege of being elected vice president of my chapter. Along with being the right hand man to the president, this position also gave me full control of the recruitment aspect of the organization. This position compelled me to find comfort outside of my comfort zone. I had to learn how to engage students, attract them to a recruitment event, and retain their interest moving forward. This took immense creativity, developed my social interaction skills, and challenged me to truly invest time into another being outside of my immediate family or friend group. Again, facing this new challenge headstrong I brought new recruitment initiatives to the table that resulted in more campus wide engagement and over higher recruitment numbers for my entire term as vice president. As you may have guessed, my journey did not end there.

    Once more, I decided to push myself outside of my comfort zone and confidently stepped into being the president for my chapter at Rider University for the past year. A role that I aspired to take on the minute I decided to join this organization. It was also a role that came with even more challenges and puzzles. As I reflect on my term as president, although it is far from over, I can admit I had doubts about my ability to bring a group of individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds together to buy into my vision and ambition for the chapter. I will let you into a little secret, I had no guideline on how to do it. There was no straight path to success, not a textbook I could read that would give me clear direction on how to tackle this challenge. I simply took charge of the reigns, learned from the leaders who sat in the seat before me, and gave it my best effort. It has definitely been a hell of a ride. During my term as president, we exceeded our fundraising goals and projections by 15% and among other things are currently in the process of bringing more gentlemen into this organization. This position allowed me to gain more confidence in myself, my voice, and my leadership capabilities.

    Overall, I undeniably agree with Seth’s blog. Leaders are not made in a class room and institutions everywhere are robbing them from the chance to reach their true potential however, I do believe ambition and the willingness to challenge yourself makes the difference between those who are leaders and those who are followers. One must want to change, grow, and challenge themselves or ultimately settle for stagnation.

  44. This article, despite being quite short, was quite thought-provoking. For many years now I have always thought about all the kids I went to middle school and high school with that excelled in the classroom. I would always think about how these kids would do if they were put in leadership positions. I have been a member of hundreds of groups over the years and each of these groups needed a leader to insure that the task was completed. Most of the time I have found myself in this leadership position due to the fact that I was blessed with many of the characteristics found in good leaders, but sometimes I enjoy just laying back and letting somebody else take charge. I have never been a great student to be quite honest, and this is because most of the information I have been taught in school just doesn’t interest me. However, I have found that time and time again that the kids that were excellent students were horrible leaders. School doesn’t teach you how to stand up for what is right. School doesn’t teach you to stand by your decision even though you were criticized by countless people. I firmly believe that the best leaders are those that grew up bending the rules, the ones that went right when everyone else went left. I was able to get a great understanding of this concept over the summer at the United States Marine Corps’ Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. I spent the entire summer learning how to be an effective leader in combat situations and I also got to observe 60 other men my age learn how to do this as well. Many of these officer candidates were kids that excelled in school and never broke any of the rules and they were “compliant factory workers” as the article discusses. The officer candidates that proved to be the best leaders were those that grew up going through some tough times and didn’t have everything spoon fed to them. They might not necessarily have been the best students, but they were passionate about serving their country and it showed when they were put into a leadership position.

  45. From my personal experiences and observations, I noticed that leaders always find a way to express themselves. There is no need to have a background of the best grades possible. You can have decent grades, but be a very profound influencer. Leaders find a way to motivate, and A’s are not needed to accomplish this. Leaders always give their opinions to add to the various ideas that have already been thought of. In terms of personality, I have seen different variations from different types of people. I have seen leaders that exhibit confidence and are outgoing as can be. I have also seen leaders that are confident, but at the same time, do not need to talk much to get their point across. Rather, they lead through their actions and when they do need to speak, its short, concise, and to the point. Although different leaders can display different types of personalities, they are all able to lead individuals, whether it be one or many. At my current tax internship, I have on manager by the name of Paul who I think is an excellent leader. He is very confident and knows what words to say at the right time. He is also very outgoing, and people love being around him. My other manager Amy is also an excellent leader. However, her characteristics differ from Paul’s. She is more reserved in what she does and has a soft voice, and although this may be the case, she is very good at leading by example. Whenever someone needs help with excel, or IT related things, she is a person that we can depend on to help everyone. In addition, when she does give directions, they are so well written and concise, which makes everyone’s life much easier. At this internship, I too have had the chance to be a leader. I have had the opportunity to lead and train any new interns that become a part of our team. Similar to Amy, I am more reserved and love to lead by example. However, I am always happy to assist anyone that needs my help. When I do lead, I make sure to do so with confidence, so that the other interns can begin to put their trust in me.

    Although various individuals have the potential to be a leader, it vastly depends on the situational factors at hand. For example, in an environment that requires a lot of changes throughout the work day, or is always hectic, you would want a leader that is able to work well under pressure, as well as having the ability to multitask. In a more relaxed environment, such as an office, you may want a leader that is good at leading by example, and is also well-spoken. If we were to put each leader in the opposite scenario, the leader of the office environment may not cope well with the speed and changes of the first mentioned environment. Vice versa, if we were to put the first leader in the office environment, it may not fit his area of expertise, thus his potential may be wasted.

  46. Though many schools paint the picture of wanting to create the leaders of tomorrow, the way that school is set up is in a way that it is teaching everyone to be followers. Those who are able to follow the rules of the classroom and follow everything the teacher says usually end up being the best in the class, but in no way does this teach leadership. Yes, it teaches self-discipline, hard work, perseverance, and dedication, but it is not teaching students to forge a new path or a new way to get things done. School has been the same for decades and because of the way that it is set up everyone just keeps doing the same things because in a classroom setting that is what is rewarded the most. We hear all these stories of the world’s most successful individuals breaking the status quo and doing their own thing that it is baffling how the set up of these institutions has remained the same all these years. I think the situations in which I have learned the most were not those that were in a classroom setting in which I needed to find the correct answer, but in a situation where there is no one definitive answer but about being able to analyze all of the information available to me and make the right judgment call based on that. While it may seem somewhat trivial at a time like this, in the position I hold within my sorority I was in charge of organizing an event for the organization that was supposed to occur in the latter half of the spring semester. When it became apparent that we were not going back, there were a lot of questions about what was going to happen and I was presented with a few different options from the International Headquarters in which there was no real right answer of what the correct thing was to do. It took a while of asking specific questions, reaching out to different people, and trying to understand the overall opinion of over 115 women in order to come to the decision that I thought suited the situation best. This is something that I know is very common in many careers, but it is something that I have never had to face in an academic setting, further solidifying the lack of real-world leadership experience that we are likely to face once we get out of college.

  47. In generations prior, there was not as much emphasis on kids going to college. Now there is a focus on making sure you make into college and make sure you get god grades in school because if you do not you will be looked down upon by society. I the article Seth states, “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers.” When the educational system was made it was during a time when after high school there was no college to go. When you graduated you went out and got a job in a factory. Due to this, they designed the educational system so that you could be successful working in a factory right out of high school. But society has changed, and the educational system did not change with it. The U.S. educational system has been trying to take the creativity out of learning and make us all into some sort of working robots. You go through 16 years of school, get your degree, and then go out and get a job and then work for the rest of your life. But for people who did not want to fall into the system and take a risk some made it out big. Three of the most successful businessman, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs are a few from a long list of businessmen who do not have a college degree. A college degree does not define who you are. When it comes to being an A+ student in high school, I have been going to school 13 years, and not one class has taught me “leadership.” Not a single letter grade I received indicated whether or not I was a good leader in class. However, the most important life skills are not taught inside the classroom anymore. So even if you do get good grade in school it does not mean that you are going be a leader or even be successful. Even though high school and college are excellent in teaching many valuable skills, our current academic curriculum does not teach many necessary things to succeeding and thriving in life in general. Such as financial responsibilities and investments, how to think logically and retain information and not temporarily memorize information to spit back at a later date, and how to apply the things you have learned throughout the years to real-world scenarios which are bound to occur.

  48. Leadership can be demonstrated in many ways, but what makes a true leader? Seth’s blog denies the fact that “A+ students become good leaders,” and I could not agree with that more. Throughout my life I have always struggled with many things, but being a leader was not one of them. I never did good in school; matter a fact I was in almost all lower classes and still barley passed them. I have not learned much from school, but I have learned a lot by living life. School can not teach you the things that living can. The way the education system is, is just messed up. All students learn is how to pass an exam, sit in a class and learn/do what is being asked of them. School does not teach how to be a leader because that simply cannot be taught. Being a leader is fighting through adversity, being someone who is looked up to/trusted. I love how Seth said, “We invented the educational regime to produce compliant factory workers.” School teaches one how to listen and obey rules, to be like the rest of the pack. This is a problem because it creates fewer leaders. Throughout my time playing basketball I was never the best on the court. The reason I started throughout high school and AAU is because of my leadership. I was always the most vocal person and had a great attitude. One of my biggest successes in being a leader is my confrontation skills. This is a skill that is not taught very well in schools, the way I learned this skill through life. It is very hard for A+ students to be very good leaders because of the way they think. It is always about facts because that is mainly what they have learned from school. At the end of the day anyone can be a leader, it just depends on how one views and lives life. Leadership can be defined and shown in many ways, but at the end of the day school does not teach it. That is why people who are not A+ students are better leaders because they have spent more time on life. No one can be taught how to be a leader because it comes from within.

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