This week we inducted our Middle and Senior School leaders on Tuesday. I would like to congratulate these students on their selection for leadership and I would like to thank them for volunteering their energy, time and talents to serve the greater student body through leadership. I am confident that by the end of their time in this role they will have made a lasting and enduring improvement in the culture of our College.
Leadership is an honour; to be a person of influence, to be someone who has the ability to affect change, to inspire people to achieve better things is an awesome privilege that is afforded to the very few. It is something to be treasured.
Becoming a great leader means to influence others to accomplish an objective or goal while at the same time strengthening and furthering the purposes of this great College. A great leader is one who puts others above him or her self and aims to help them achieve their goals. These are goals that might not even be clear in the minds of those who follow.
One of my favourite quotes about leadership is this one by John Maxwell, “A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”.
A Leader Knows the Way.
Knowing the way means having a clear vision and purpose. You cannot take others on a journey with an unknown destination. You need to know where you are going, and how you are going to get there. As the leader, you must have complete clarity about where you would like to be.
All great leaders knew what it was they were trying to accomplish. Look at some of these vision statements from some of the wonderful leaders of the past century;
The first quote is from Martin Luther King, the great civil rights leader of the 60s in America that summed his dream with an incredible speech that he delivered to over 250,000 people in Washington in 1963 with his famous “I have a dream” speech.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” MLK
The second quote is from Nelson Mandela. He gave this speech before being sentenced to prison where he spent the next 27 years;
“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela
A few years after being released in 1994 he became the first democratically elected leader of South Africa and helped bring the end to the racist laws that had existed there for fifty years!
What is your dream for this year? If you are a Faith and Community Captain what is your dream for Chapels and lunchtime bible studies? If you are a House Captain what are your dreams for your house this year? Is it to see more house spirit, to win the Legacy Cup at the end of the year, to improve participation rates in events?
Quite simply there is no point taking people on a journey if you don’t know where you are taking them. You are better off getting out of the way and letting someone else take the lead.
It is one thing to have a dream, and that vision may be compelling and even inspiring, it may be catchy and memorable. But it doesn’t mean much if the leader then does not embody that vision and live in the reality of that vision. This brings me to my next point;
A Leader Goes the Way.
Going the way means going beyond just understanding your vision and purpose, you’re actually living it out, you have a plan in place and you have a laser-like focus on realising that vision.
What do I mean by this? Well, imagine that our student leadership forms a vision to see a greater connection across the year levels and a more unified tudent body. That is a noble dream and a compelling vision.
But then imagine that the student leadership is not visible at lunchtimes, they stick to themselves in a small group and are never around. They don’t make themselves known to the other students.
It is not just good enough to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk as well. If unity is important, it needs to be more than just words; it needs to be backed up by action.
There is no surer way of eroding the effectiveness of your leadership by saying one thing and doing another. This is called hypocrisy and people hate it from their leaders.
A Leader Shows the Way
Showing the way means you’re helping others to catch your vision in their own lives so it is no longer “my” vision but “our” vision. A leader needs to inspire those who are following to “catch the vision”.
The effective leader is someone who talks passionately about their destination, what is it going to look like when we get there? Why is it better than where we are now? The leader needs to convince their followers that the vision is worth the sacrifice of change and breaking out of complacency and the comfort zone.
That will not be easy and people will only buy into the vision if leaders are passionate about it, embody it, live like they are genuinely working towards it and if they feel it is achievable. There is no point having goals that are so far removed from reality that they are never going to eventuate. It is good to have bold audacious goals but they still need to be rooted in the real world.
Here is a good checklist that I would encourage our leaders to use to measure the effectiveness of their leadership this year.
- Is my vision for my role this year clear? Do I have a vision or am I just in it for the badge?
- Am I living like this vision could be a reality and what am I doing to make that happen in my personal life and the things that I value? Am I talking the talk and walking the walk?
- Am I asking people to join me on this journey towards the vision? Am I rushing too much towards my goals and am I not being patient enough to develop people with a genuine and lasting commitment to the vision? Am I not putting others above myself?
I pray that over the course of this year God will direct our leaders’ paths in leadership and he will grant you that supernatural wisdom and discernment that you need to “know the way, go the way and show the way” I have every confidence that our 2020 GCC leaders will serve the students of this College well and their leadership will have incredible and enduring impact.
Mike Curtis, Principal