Servant Leadership

As I mentioned last week, I have outlined three main areas of focus for us as a school community and I want to  move on to explore the second of these this week…leadership.

It is scary how late on in my life and career it was before I really knew anything about leadership and I fear that, as a result, I was pretty poor at it in the various opportunities that I had to show it.

I have come to realise (somewhat belatedly!) that a great deal about effective leadership is to do with relationships. I have also learned that leadership is a symbiotic endeavour, and much as it is true that the team has responsibilities to the leader, so too does the leader to the team. It is for these reasons that, after much stumbling around in the dark, I settled on the servant leadership model as the one for me.

I would argue that the two leaders who have had the greatest impact on shaping our modern world are Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad and I would further contend that they were both epitomes of servant leadership. Think of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet and the whole message of self-sacrifice that his life exampled or the Prophet Muhammad who said, “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for your flock”.

Humility and empathy are key characteristics of a servant leader, and so too is integrity. If we are to have real faith in our leaders and be truly inspired by them then we must believe, and believe in, what they do and say, whether publicly or privately. Much wiser men than me have put it better:

“……..every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character, and therefore what one has done in the secret chamber one has some day to cry aloud on the house-tops.”  Oscar Wilde

“Integrity….doesn’t blow in the wind or change with the weather. It is your inner image of yourself, and if you look in there and see a man who won’t cheat, then you know he never will” John D MacDonald

”Have the courage to say no….do the right thing because it is right” W Clement Stone 

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking.  There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught”.  J.C. Watts

“There is nothing weighs heavier in the scales than good character” Prophet Muhammad

“I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.” Abraham Lincoln

I am great believer that we all need to show leadership in our lives. Each day presents us with a myriad of opportunities to lift up others-to make the tough decision- to walk the road less travelled- to be courageous and resilient- and any organization that encourages all of its stakeholders to embrace the challenges that these opportunities present will surely flourish.

I was absolutely delighted to hear this morning how our current Year 6 students have risen to the challenge to leadership I set them. A staggering 19 of them (well over half) took the leap to stand for House Captain roles. The teachers who listened to their presentations were blown away by their quality and sincerity and found it noticeable how many of them spoke about their main motivation being to serve the other members of their respective Houses. Inspirational stuff!

But my challenge to embrace the opportunities to show leadership that each day brings is not just to our young people but to all members of our school community. I do not say it will be easy, it most certainly won’t, but if we can rise to it we will be so much the better both as individuals and as a community.