Kia ora e te whanau
I have been privileged to have had many leadership roles throughout my career and when I was young my focus wasn’t initially on serving people, it was on doing big things and getting ahead. Working in Catholic schools I was always being challenged to think more with my heart than my head, but the many years of training give you a hierarchical approach to leadership. Over time and with good guidance I have learnt that my core focus needs to be on serving people. If you give people what they want, they will help you get what you want. Trying to get others to help me and do things for me, instead of trying to help them meant my attitude wasn’t right.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”
Servant Leadership is leading not through power and force of position, but by serving others and setting an example they choose to follow. There have been many great Servant-Leaders throughout history, but Jesus Christ is the greatest example, since He not only served, but laid down His life for His friends. Servant Leadership is important, because it changes other people, impacting them for service on their own. People will do something if they have no other choice, but true influence occurs when people willingly serve because of the example set by others. How we choose to lead changes the world around us. So, if we want a world where people love one another and are willing to sacrifice, we must create that world by leading the way.
This week the Year 12 students came together for a day long retreat at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament where we experienced liturgy and activities all centred around the concept of Servant Leadership. It is those qualities we are looking for in our Student Executive Leadership Team for 2022. We have already begun this journey from changing our Student Council who looked to see what the school could do for them, to a Servant Leadership council where members seek to serve the school. Next year St Peter’s College will change the leadership structure to better suit this model. We will have one head boy and one head girl, no deputies, and one leader for each of our school values: Compassion, Commitment and Community.
This team of 5 that will also include the student BoT representative will lead the student body next year with support from all the Year 13 students. All Year 13 students will have a leadership role in being the leaders for the new whanau groups in each house. Effectively making all Year 13’s, house leaders. During this retreat the students spent some time putting together their applications for why they believe they have the qualities of servant leadership and how they show them in their everyday lives. They also nominated other students they thought exemplified these qualities. At St Peter’s College we are looking for servant leaders with the following qualities:
- They listen.
- They have empathy for others.
- They seek to heal, not wound.
- They are aware of those around them.
- They are able to persuade, rather than force others to their side.
- They are good stewards of what has been given to them.
- They are committed to the growth of other people.
- They are able to build community around them.
Over the next fortnight we as a staff will vote on who has earned these positions and I would stress that these positions are not earned through how many prizes, trophies and accolades students have achieved over the years. It is a balance of showing servant leadership qualities and having the confidence, strength and resilience to lead. There is no criteria for this and I know it is hard for parents and students to accept the final decisions each year. We must pray for and support those students who are chosen and help all of our Year 13’s to show leadership through their role as whanau house leaders. The 5/6 leaders will be informed no later than Friday, 10th December if they are in the Student Executive Team for 2022, they will not know their role until next years Powhiri on Tuesday, 8th February. The team will lead and plan for the new student orientation on Wednesday, 3rd February after which we will make our final decision on the roles each will fulfil.
A successful servant leader listens to other people, empathizes with the hardships and challenges of others, is committed to win-win-win situations, and builds true friendships wherever he or she goes. Perhaps, the greatest summary of servant leadership is found in Jesus' so called Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (see Matthew 7:12).
Charity Fulfils the Law