Over the last week we have inducted our Primary, Middle and Senior School leaders. These are significant events in the life of our College.
(All the photos are now available to GCC parents on Pixevety and you can click on the following albums to see them: Primary Leadership Induction; Middle School Leadership Induction; Senior School Leadership Induction. Parents can click on “My VIPs” to see their children.)
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 in that way. 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.
To be called on to lead is a great honour and an awesome privilege. It is to be a person of influence, to point the way and to make a difference.
We must never forget though that leadership ultimately is service to those who you seek to lead. This is called servant leadership and our student leaders will be hearing that phrase a lot in their leadership journey.
Three keys to student leadership
At the leadership inductions, I gave three keys that will unlock our students’ servant leadership potential this year. This is also true to anyone who aspires to leadership in the future.
Integrity “Say what you mean and mean what you say”
The first of these keys is integrity. To be someone of influence, you need to be a leader of integrity. Integrity is being consistent with your words and actions. A person with integrity says what they mean and means what they say.
At each induction assembly the students took the College Leadership Pledge. A pledge is a promise, an oath in front of their fellow students, those they seek to influence, guide and ultimately lead. For leadership to be effective this year these words need to marry up with actions.
Hypocrisy is the enemy
The opposite of someone with integrity is someone who is a hypocrite. This is when their words or their badge says one thing but their actions demonstrate that this is not really who they are. Hypocrisy is the enemy of leadership. Leaders need to guard against this and be people who say what they mean and mean what they say.
Competency: leaders must be organised
The second key is competency. Our leaders are called to perform many duties. There will be meetings that they’ll need to attend, speeches they need to prepare for, and events they need to plan or be a part of.
Great leaders need to realise that they are a part of a wider leadership team. For that team to be successful, everyone will need to pull their own weight. Our leaders need to be prepared to work hard, follow through with commitments that they make and be prepared to make sacrifices. Our leaders need to ensure that when it is their turn to perform a duty, it is done well.
Empathy caring about those you are leading, not leaving a legacy
The final key I want to talk about is empathy.
Empathy really means “authentic care”. Our leaders need to be motivated by genuine care for their fellow students. The plans that they have this year should be plans that are focused on those whom they are leading. As a leader they must not be motivated by “leaving a legacy” or about furthering any ambition or ego.
A servant seeks what is best for their master and works hard towards achieving this. Servant leadership is about having this attitude towards those who are to be led.
Listen, be approachable and have good relationships.
To lead with empathy, with authentic care leaders need to listen to what their followers are saying. To do that effectively, leaders need to be approachable, available and be able to cultivate good relationships which include but go above and beyond their usual circle of friends.
Leaders need to approach every day with fresh eyes and good judgement to try and identify the genuine needs of the collective student body.
Advice to Joshua about leadership: “Be strong and courageous”
Finally, the Bible has a lot of good advice and great wisdom about leadership. Our verse for this year comes from Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”. It is worthy to note that this was God speaking to Joshua just as he was about to take the reins of leadership himself for the first time and lead the Israelite nation into the promised land.
There is no doubt that great leadership takes strength and courage. It is difficult to stand with integrity in the face of opposition, or to balance the extra duties of being a leader with those of study and assignments. Or to continue to love the students you are leading when at times they appear ungrateful or uncaring.
I pray that over the course of this year God will direct our leaders’ paths and grant them supernatural wisdom and discernment that they need. I have every confidence that our newly inducted leaders will serve the students of this College well and that their leadership will make a positive difference.
Mike Curtis, Principal