What Would You Put In Your Leadership Locker?



School kids are very protective of their lockers. They store everything inside of these boxes from textbooks to jackets to food items and yes even money. These special compartments have locks to conceal each student’s necessities. Sometimes they decorate them to reflect who they are and what they stand for. They are all alike on the outside, yet when you look inside, each student stuffs them with their unique articles. What if these lockers represented you and your leadership style? How would you fill or decorate your leadership locker?


The first thing to consider might be the poster or mantras we think represent our leadership spirit. 

“Go Team Go”

“We’re All In This Together”

“ Another Day, Another Dollar”

“Just Do It”

 Would you choose a bright color or a more subdued color to describe your leadership personality? My favorite color is purple. I love everything about it from being a mixture of blue and red to standing out a little.


So what lessons have you learned along the way that have had a huge impact on your leadership?

 Start with the way you communicate with others and engage with them. Have you learned the significance of strategic listening or the importance of not interrupting to get a full and accurate story? Do you ask others for input of their ideas and are able to be clear about  your needs? Does respect dominate your interactions so people walk away feeling you have their back and want what is best for them too?

 Think of leadership gurus, friends, colleagues or teachers out there who have impacted your life. What behaviors or attitudes did you learn from them? What made them great leaders? Did they believe in you even more than you believed in yourself? I learned that lesson from an old boss.


Each of us shows or controls our emotions in a unique way. Allowing our emotions to show can be a very effective way to connect with others. By displaying some vulnerability, leaders can build stronger and more honest relationships. However, too much emotion can sometimes distort our decisions. Have you found the right balance for your leadership model?

 We need to recognize that dealing with people involves feeling and leading with our hearts. That is being authentic and showing compassion for others.


Great leaders can create a vision for the future for themselves and for those around them. They are not afraid to take risks to cultivate a better situation for their team.

 What would your dreams look like? Are you floating up in the sky or are your feet firmly placed on the ground with a more definite path? Do you see clearly where your journey needs to go and if you are at a crossroad, are you asking yourself the right questions and getting the best help?

 What would you stuff into your leadership locker that might represent the kind of leader you are or strive to be?


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22 thoughts on “What Would You Put In Your Leadership Locker?

  1. A big thing in my locker was the dry erase board which contained messages from friends who stopped by. My leadership locker contains a strong network of folks I learn with and from each day, who inspire me to grow.

  2. My locker way back when and today contains lots of books. I love to read, learn, and grow. I do that best by reading, studying, connecting and engaging with others, and through life’s experiences.

    My question is this, is your locker messy or orderly?

  3. Wonderful post, Terri! In my leadership locker I keep the memories of how people have made me FEEL in different situations (positive and negative)so that I remember how to engage with people in a positive way that helps them grow. I value the bosses I’ve had who knew I could do more and pushed me in a positive way to stretch myself. Leadership Locker. I’m stealing it! 😉

  4. Karin, I loved hearing about your erase board and keeping track of who stopped by! You actually had on on-going attendance sheet right in your locker!

    Having your network inside is perfect for any leader. Thanks so much for your additions, Karin!

  5. Love what you kept and still keep in your locker, Dan! Books are the best and can truly help us when we are at a crossroad in our life or career. I am loving the new Malcolm Gladwell book, “David and Goliath”!

    My locker is extremely organized, but filled with tons of stuff. I prefer order as I grew up in a loving, but chaotic house. Ha!

    Thanks for your great comments, Dan!

  6. Thanks Chrys for stopping by and sharing your wonderful comments!

    I agree that the emotions we feel in learning experiences stay with us and hopefully fuel us to tackle the many challenges we face.

    You are very lucky to have had bosses who believed in you and pushed you to greater heights. I think that when we work for those leaders, they can see things in us that we are not able to visualize.

    I appreciate you taking the time and contributing to my post! And please feel free to steal it!!!!

  7. My locker is present in my heart….and in my heart locker nothing is locked away.

    I cherish those I meet, I engage with those I encounter. I care about those I experience and I empowering everyone to be their very best.

    For me my heart leads….

    Great an INTERESTING POST. It certainly made me THINK.

  8. Lolly, your leadership locker is all HEART! If I were to put a design that reflects you, it would be a giant HEART!

    You do empower everyone you meet to be their very best. That is your true gift and we love you for caring so much!

    Thanks for all your additions! Terri

  9. Terri, what an awesome post! In my locker in school, I had lots of pictures of my friends, therefore they would be considered ‘my team’! If I had a locker today, it would be filled with inspirational quotes and motivational magazines that I read! And lots of pictures of the people that inspire me. And my locker would be very colorful!

  10. Purple is an awesome color…I like it too!

    I would put my relationships in my locker…they mean a lot to me because I couldn’t move forward without them.

    Followed closely by gratitude and thanksgiving for the life I have.

    Great post, Terri!

  11. I would put in my locker two key things — A reminder to never, ever stop learning and to never, ever give up.

    Thanks, Terri, for a great way to highlight what’s important!


  12. My leadership locker is to keep an own mind about everything and be a learner. I can’t please everyone but I try to do my best and keep
    Improving on what I do of what I am daily.

    Loved your post Terri. I love the way you have expressed your thoughts on such an important topic.

  13. Fun post Terri!

    …I learned something new about you today – Purple is your favorite color!

    I love the idea of getting to look into each other’s lockers! My locker is full of books, full of music, full of pictures of people I’ve learned from, with notes everywhere of thoughts and ideas that are like pieces of a larger puzzle that I’m collecting and connecting!

  14. What a beautiful leadership locker you have described, Cynthia! I could definitely visualize all the colors. Isn’t it interesting how our childhood lockers might not look so similar to our adult ones. While your friends were your world at school, in adulthood you combine both the inspirational people in your life with the lessons of books and teachings that truly guide us.
    I so appreciate you adding your colorful and insightful comments!

  15. What a perfect way to fill your locker, LaRae! And I guess you are a purple freak too!

    The people in our lives and the relationships we have built do provide us with motivation and direction. Without them our lives would feel less whole.

    And I agree that being grateful for all we have truly belongs in our leadership lockers. Love it!

  16. I just love what you have stuffed into your locker, Jon!

    Leadership is all about lifelong learning and a thirst for new ideas from both people and books. If leaders ever stop growing they will get stuck in one spot.

    And persistence is essential as well. We need to understand that when we hit “blips” along the way, we need to figure out ways to overcome them. I love the idea of “never, ever give up”!

    Thanks Jon.

  17. What a magnificent item to put into your leadership locker, Lalita- an open mind! If all leaders could empower themselves to welcome others’ suggestions and ideas, I think we would have even higher performing teams.

    Being able to keep growing and learning is also a great item to put in the locker as you truly epitomize the concept of growing and bettering yourself in any way you can. That openness can really energize us.

    Thanks Lalita for all your kind words!

  18. So are you a purple person too, Chery?

    It is fun seeing what valuable items leaders would stuff into their lockers. It sounds like thoughts, reflections and ideas are what guide you and give you energy. That doesn’t surprise me knowing your writing and thinking. You are a big picture leader with so many innovative ideas to share. And I love learning all about the journey you are on!

    I so appreciate you, Chery!

  19. This post is amazing because it invites me to think about how all of that private stuff on the inside of my locker gets seen and experienced when I open the door. The only thing I remember about my high school locker is a picture of Micael Hutchence from INXS and all of my school books.

    I’m going to reflect on my leadership locker some more (thanks to you!) but I do know that I am willing to open the locker door wide when others are around and commit to being unafraid that someone will get a glimpse of something I don’t want them to see.

    Great post, Terri!

  20. First of all, Alli, I don’t even know who Michael Hutchence from INXS is. Who is he? And yes I can imagine the numerous amount of books in your locker! Ha!

    I love how you are allowing others to see inside your unique leadership locker as you are proud of what you stand for and openly want to share it with others. More leaders might want to take the lesson from you and let others see what they value and why it is important.

    I am glad I got you reflecting!


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