Leader of the Pack

By Howard Good

You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, what with their slow gaits and sad, brown eyes, but cows may be savvier than school boards when it comes to selecting leaders. Or so the latest research suggests.

Scientists who studied a group of 15 cows at a farm in France found that bullying, selfishness, size, and strength weren’t recognized within the herd as suitable leadership qualities. Intelligence, inquisitiveness, confidence, experience, and good social skills were.

“Usually leadership and dominance are not correlated,” Bertrand Dumont, whose team conducted the research, explained. “In other words, leaders are not the strongest animals.”

The process by which school boards govern themselves doesn’t operate half as wisely. For those of you who think that’s “bull” (pun -- sorry! -- intended), consider whether you’ve ever seen cows hold long, unproductive meetings or turn a mere policy disagreement into a vicious personal feud.

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