Home' Independence : Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 2010 Contents 14 Independence Vol 35 No 1 May 10
In 2006 I had the opportunity to
research student leadership programs
in schools in New Zealand. From
this I developed a program of servant
leadership that focuses on the heart,
the head and the habits of leaders
and provides opportunities for
students to develop their leadership
skills. Reading, observing and
listening are important in leadership
development but students must be able
to practice what they have learnt.
The program is based on the notion
that if students are provided with an
opportunity to decide what type of
leader they will be, or who they will
follow (heart) then we can directly
influence what is in their heads (their
values) and then their habits (their
attributes or behaviours).
The program has five equally
1. Worship (Heart)
In a religious-based school, students
will have an opportunity to explore
what they believe through a chapel
program and religious education.
If we create an environment that
models the characteristics that we
want in students, an environment that
encourages students to examine their
hearts, we should never have to teach
integrity, honesty or trustworthiness. It
is an inside-out approach to character
development (Covey 1990).
2. The study of ethics (Head)
The program recommends that in
Years 11 and 12 religious education
change its biblical and religious focus
St Paul’s School,
Bald Hills, Qld
to one of ethics. This is to encourage
students to further examine what is in
their hearts and what they truly value
by challenging them to think and make
decisions based on their own point of
reference. It provides an opportunity
for students to further explore what
they believe from the framework of
a Christian world view. Much of this
part of the program is based on Vardy’s
(2003) ‘Five Strands’ approach to
3. Curriculum connections
Much can be learned about ourselves
and leadership by examining the lives
of others, particularly leaders who
have made a significant impact on
society. What kind of leader were they?
What motivated them? What qualities
and attributes did they possess?
Opportunities for students to examine
leaders, both past and present, can be
integrated in the curriculum.
4. Leadership learning
Leadership begins with personal
leadership – being proactive, making
good decisions, setting goals and
discerning your own mission in
life. If you cannot lead yourself you
cannot lead others. This section of
the program focuses on a retreat
based on Covey’s The seven habits
of highly effective people (1989).
Much of the material it covers was
adopted from the Marist Youth Leader
program developed and sponsored
by the Marist Education Trust.
5. Leadership opportunities
Ken Blanchard (2005) describes
leadership as ‘a process of influence’:
‘Anytime you seek to influence the
thinking, behaviour, or development of
people towards accomplishing a goal
in their professional or person lives,
you are taking the role of leadership’.
Adopting this definition, all students
should have the opportunity to lead,
not just the select few. Schools must
therefore offer diverse leadership
opportunities. For example, students
might choose to participate in:
• A mentoring program, for those
willing to support and guide a
• Service leadership. Servant
leadership can be defined simply as,
‘it’s not all about me’ and service
leadership helps teach this. Service
positions can be as diverse as choir
manager, sound technician, reading
tutor or school photographer.
• Prefects. Students can be invited
to apply for Prefect positions
which should each have a specific
duty statement, for example,
running the Student Representative
Council in Junior School or
running the chapel program.
Not all students will chose to take
up leadership opportunities. It is
important to remember that people
must want to lead. If they have no
desire or motivation to lead it will be
difficult for others to follow. The trick
is to help people realise the potential
they have to make a significant
impact on the life of another.
Paul Browning’s leadership program is titled,
Have you got what it takes? A Diploma of
Blanchard, K. and Hodges, P. (2005) Lead like
Jesus. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Covey, S. (1990) Principle-centred leadership.
Simon & Schuster.
Vardy, P. (2003) Being human. London:
Darton, Longman & Todd.
BECOMING A SERVANT LEADER
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