By Grace Pawsey and Nicola Rakuljic
What Makes a Good Leader?
“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit” Arnold H. Glasow
Being a good leader isn’t just about the power or the control that comes with the task. It’s about leading others with integrity and helping to boost them up, even if that sometimes means some hard decisions or sacrifices have to be made.
A good leader is able to make these decisions and sacrifices, and is also able to discern how to make that choice without bias or letting the stress overcome them. If a mistake is made, a good leader is able to take criticism and accept the failure as a stepping stone for the successes that follow.
A good leader is able to support the people around them, which takes several skills and values to do effectively. Communication skills are key – talking with confidence and listening with respect is integral to communicate effectively with peers. In order to support others, a leader must also have assurance in themselves – but without being arrogant or buying into pride. Flexibility is also an important skill to have in order to be a good leader, as everyone needs to adapt to change and be resilient when those changes might not be so good.
The difference between our leadership system and leadership in other schools
For most schools – both high school and primary school alike – leadership systems are different from place to place, and have their own requirements, processes and positions. For some schools, leadership roles are appointed by the school’s principal and vice-principal, so the student body or nominees get no say in the matter. Other schools can do a government-style leadership system, where either the whole year are ‘school/senior leaders’ or only half at a time for half of the year. This particular style is more common however, in primary schools, whereas the former system is common in both. There are also many, many other leadership systems throughout schools all across the country and the world.
Loreto Normanhurst is quite different to these previous two systems, as we have a democratic vote (meaning that everyone has a vote). Depending on the leadership role, the year group, boarding school or house will vote, along with staff as well. This means that the leaders are chosen by the leaders, and everyone has the opportunity to voice their opinion and select who they wish to fulfil the leadership roles. At Loreto, we are extremely lucky to have a system like this that has been perfected over the years, as a lot of other schools do not get the chance to vote in the same way.
Who Votes on the Leaders?
For the position of School Captain and Vice School Captain, the year group (who would at the time of the leadership process be in year 11) along with the staff vote. These are also the first positions to be announced to that year group and later on (with all the other roles) to the school.
House Captains are voted in by the house students and the staff as well, so all the year groups get a say in who they would like to be the House Captain for the following year. Similar to this, the Boarding Captain and Boarding Vice Captain are appointed by the entire boarding house.
“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership” -Nelson Mandela
What are Some Common Misconceptions around Leadership at Loreto?
A misconception that has occurred time and time again is that you need to have heaps of extra-curriculars (‘the more the better’) or be super invested in everything you do at school. This isn’t really the case as going into leadership is more about you as a person, rather than how much extra time or stuff that you do in order to fulfil some ‘requirement’. There are almost no pre-requisites for going into leadership, just that you have commitment and display the qualities of a good leader.
Another misconception is also that you won’t get accepted into leadership if you have any sort of bad record. For some girls, it may seem that the odd detention or uniform-infringement permanently stops you from every getting into leadership – which is also not the case. It is understandable that when selecting leaders for the school, they need to be a good role model, but this doesn’t mean that any mistakes in the past immediately transfer you to the naughty list. Again, it’s about you as a person and the potential for you being a leader.
Finally, the most common misconception is that you need to have 100% of all your community service done in order to go for leadership. This is not at all true, however you do need to have done all of your Year 10 hours. Year 11 hours however, do not have to be completely done by the time the leadership process starts. You just need to have something to demonstrate your commitment to the community service.
So What is Required for the Different Roles?
In the leadership booklet, it states that for pretty much all of the leadership roles a student is required to;
· Uphold the Christian and Loreto values
· Demonstrate a commitment to do their best across the FACE curriculum
· Build community through their involvement in community days and completing community service
· Be a role model to all students in the school
· Motivate students to follow school rules and lead by example
· Remain committed and participate in the activities based around the position
Girls also going for leadership (or in leadership) need to show the qualities of;
· Commitment to the School
· The ability to inspire all students to support and participate in whole school initiatives with enthusiasm
· Being a team player, effective communicator and is organised
· Confidence to demonstrate initiative and share ideas
· Being approachable and a role model to others
· Having the ability to balance leadership and study
What Does It Mean If I Don’t Get In? How to Deal With It.
For a lot of girls, being in an official leadership role could be an aspiration or goal, so not getting the position you want can be rough. Everyone is different in handling something like this, but for most, at some point in the process they will feel some sort of disappointment or doubt in themselves. They may think that they didn’t do enough or aren’t good enough. This is understandable, but you need to remember that it isn’t really about having the badge or not. You can still be an amazing leader without the official title. Everyone can be a leader and everyone has the potential and qualities to be a leader. Regardless of whether you get in or not, you can still make a difference and be a role model for the rest of the school in your final year of high school.
“Loyalty is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew” -Grace Hopper