21st Century Leadership

21Centuryleadership Article

Much has been written and spoken about the changes and complexities brought on by our progress into the 21st century. It is easily recognised how fast the pace of change is and often paradoxical in its nature. This has presented us with new opportunities and challenges for how we educate and prepare young people to meaningfully take their place in the world, particularly in terms of the leadership skills and attitudes needed.

In our fast-changing world, it is necessary for our young people to acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to adapt and to thrive. The education they experience should prepare them for living, working and leading in a globalised society. The big issues affecting our planet, such as climate change, global poverty and instances of cultural and religious intolerance require an innovative generation that is empathetic and knows how to find solutions. We need creative people who recognise the importance and value of active participation within our democratic society. We need people who can recognise and are prepared to act to counter injustice and inequality in society. People who care about human rights and who recognise that our lives are linked together in our increasingly interdependent and globalised world. People who are active in searching for a deeper spiritual meaning for their life and develop a strong relationship with God. Leadership needs to be demonstrated by many rather than just a few.

Schools are important centres of community in the lives of staff, students and parents. Indeed, schools play a unique role in our society as they serve as transitional places for children. Thomas Sergiovanni, a respected and awarded thinker about education summed this up succinctly when he wrote that schools stand between the subjective and protected environment of the family and the objective, exposed environment of the outside world. This community needs to be essentially inclusive and nurturing rather than exclusive and alienating. We know that people will rise to opportunities that allow them to be positively involved and proactive with their lives and by doing so will have a positive impact on the lives of others. To show leadership in what they do particularly in a way that plays to their strengths. Squash opportunities and you squash the ability and desire for people to lead.

At St Luke’s students have many opportunities to develop their leadership skills, attitudes and abilities and it is vital we provide opportunities for this leadership. We see this broader and deeper understanding of leadership spread further than just the formal leadership positions across our primary, middle and senior schools. We see this with the many opportunities students have for experiencing and demonstrating leadership. Our students can and do demonstrate leadership every day. They lead by being positively involved in many different activities, by being great role models, and great team members. They lead by giving of their time and energy to causes and events that help others in our local and global community. They lead by learning more about each other, by being caring and compassionate, by being patient and accepting of others and different perspectives. They lead by being inclusive of others, by living out their sense of faith and spirituality. A leader is not someone who tells, a leader is someone who inspires and guides, a person who, through their actions and attitudes has a positive impact on the lives of others. Our students demonstrate this leadership by doing the best they can in all their endeavours.

Mr Craig Merritt