In his more than 30 years as a principal, teacher and coach, Robert Siegel Jr. has had more than a few chances to exercise leadership.
One was with a mother so distraught over her child’s problems in school that she slumped to the floor in his office. Another was the defiant fourth-grader who spread negativity throughout the school until Siegel sat him down, challenged him to be a role model – and told the troublemaker that he loved him.
Siegel cites these and other examples in his new book, “Learn to Lead with Love: A Field Guide to Building a Team with Heart” (Rogue River Books). The longtime Valley View Elementary principal said he wants to share what he’s learned about leadership with others in education and business.
“I’ve had all these incredible leadership experiences, and I’ve been blessed to have some keen insights on how to lead effectively,” said Siegel, who also teaches educational leadership at Grand Valley State University. “It’s about putting those you lead before yourself. It’s about connecting with people and developing meaningful relationships.”
Siegel will hold a book-signing event from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11 at Red’s on the River restaurant in Rockford.
The book reflects his long career, which includes teaching and coaching track and cross country for Forest Hills Public Schools. It’s also informed by his strong faith, and his conviction that showing love and cultivating relationships are key to good leadership.
“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “You treat people right and go out of your way to do good things by them, good things will happen.”