by Brigitte Theunissen
(Deputy Head – Academics)
“Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” ~ Alan Keith
This quote is what the Grade 7 boys hear often, because it gets to the essence of leadership.
* Inspire a Shared Vision
* Enable People to Act
To be a good leader you have to be forward looking – able to imagine what could be. Creating this vision of a “better future” is the rudder that they will use to keep their Grade 7 team working in a coordinated manner. However, it’s not enough to simply have a vision of the future you’d like to see. Your vision needs to inspire your team.
As a leader, your primary focus should be on people. Enabling people to act is a continuous process, taking place long before any specific vision or project is even thought of. Building relationships begins this process. You want to develop relationships of trust and confidence. Setting the example, communicating openly, and following through on your commitments are some ways you can build these types of relationships with others.
Relationships of trust work in both directions. Not only do you want others to trust you, but you need to trust others. This will give you the confidence you need to empower your team to take the actions necessary to create your team’s shared vision.
At WHPS we do not identify and reward leaders, rather we develop leadership skills in every boy. We stress that having the right attitude in life is important, but more so having the right attitude in leadership. Attitude is in the realm of choice, meaning that you can control it at any point in time, no matter the circumstances you are facing.
We provide opportunities for growth… these include community service projects, House Captains, Family assemblies, buddy days and much more. Dealing with failure and disappointments is crucial in developing leadership skills.
Michael Johnson says, “Life is often compared to a marathon, but I think it is more like being a sprinter: long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which we are given the opportunity to perform at our best.”
The Critical Thinking programme together with the 16 Habits of Mind drive, further develop and enhance the leadership programme. These positive universal qualities are a critical aspect of what makes a good leader.