For professional and personal (health) reasons, I will be absent from campus for up to two months this year.
Professionally, I will be taking time in May for professional visits to other schools, including those like Nowra Anglican, Orange Anglican and St Luke’s Grammar, now led by staff who “cut their teeth” on leadership at St Columba.
Personally, I will be finally acknowledging that I need surgery on an ongoing hip problem and will be submitting myself to a period of hospital and enforced rest and rehabilitation.
I take this leave knowing that St Columba will be in good hands.
Over the years, as the school has grown, we have focussed on growing leadership capacity in our staff throughout the school. This is because a complex, agile and vibrant organisation like our school, cannot and should not ever rely entirely on an individual or small group to maintain its direction and development.
As a concept this is referred to as distributed leadership. Thisconcept differs from the “rock star” leadership model that focuses on an individual. Rather than focus on the characteristics of the individual leader, distributed leadership focuses on how a range of leaders in an organisation engage in tasks that are distributed across the organisation.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. – Jack Welch, former GE chairman and CEO
This focus has led to an admirable depth of leadership at St Columba that we know will sustain the School’s growth (and can make our staff very attractive to other schools who would seek to emulate our success).
We know that among our staff we have leaders and managers who:
- know the value of working as a team;
- offer the complex range of skills and views that are required to lead a school like ours;
- care about our students, our staff and our community and act on that care;
- are willing to offer a clear and consistent direction for the School;
- are excellent examples of lifelong learners, constantly upgrading their leadership experience and qualifications.
More than that, I will take leave knowing our School is in the hands of leaders who have a depth of character, a high level of professional competence and the sense of shared purpose that ensures our students will continue to grow in a supportive and vibrant learning environment.
St Columba supports and honours leaders, staff, students and community members, who:
- exhibit honesty and integrity in what they do;
- have the ability to develop trust;
- are communicative, collaborative and connected;
- have positive energy;
- are confident and approachable;
- show commitment and persistence;
- are willing to learn, unlearn and relearn;
- are entrepreneurial, creative and innovative;
- have the ability to inspire.
“Leaders with depth actually read, study and think about issues and problems. They take time to understand concerns. They listen. They don’t always know the answer but are willing to explore options. They know when to be forceful and when to enable. They are interested in reaching the best solution in the most efficient way. They seek other’s opinions. They are wise. These leaders don’t have to constantly talk about how good they are, how honest they are acting, or how smart they are – you know who they are because of their character depth. This is their authentic core.”
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence … When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’ – Lao Tsu.
Maybe you won’t even notice I’m gone.