What makes a good leader? If you could choose someone to be your leader, what would you look for?
At this time of year, we have been selecting student leaders for 2021, and it is an interesting process to reflect on the skills and attributes that are required from our students to lead the College. If you read anything about leadership, you will soon see that many of the abilities expected of a leader are contradictory. Leaders are expected to be decisive, but also are expected to be consultative; they are expected to be agile and flexible, but also to provide stability and consistency. They are expected to be charismatic and confident, but also humble; they need to be optimistic and positive while also being sceptical, planning for worst-case scenarios.
It takes wisdom, good judgement and experience for a leader to be able to successfully navigate these paradoxes, and over the course of our students’ schooling, there have been a multitude of opportunities for students to take on leadership roles and to build their experience and judgement when it comes to leading others. While there are larger leadership roles such as being involved in Round Square events, leading or coaching a sporting team, driving an environmental group, leading a fundraiser or being a leader for younger students on Education Outdoors programs, there are also numerous day-to-day opportunities for students to show leadership in class activities, in the playground, and within their peer group.
Leadership is about being able to influence others, and how people use that influence can be fascinating to observe. Poor leaders use their influence to make things better for themselves, while good leaders make things better for everyone. Good leaders use their influence to bring people together, create unity, and build trust, while poor leaders create division and suspicion. Most importantly, good leaders lead by example, put their words into action, and have a strong ethic of service towards others. Interestingly, none of these descriptions of good leadership require a badge or official position to be enacted. Every single one of us has the power to positively influence people, to build trust and unity, and to be a great example to others on a daily basis, and I look forward to all students across the College embracing and developing this concept in the coming year.
Dean of Students