From the Principal’s Desk – 17 August 2017

Dear ISH Community

Last week, in celebration of Women’s Day, Ms. Briston and I attended a workshop on the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), specifically focusing on women in a leadership role. This interesting and informative workshop was designed to make participants more self-aware by helping them to identify their own emotional “style”, as well as the “styles” of others, thus developing techniques and skills for working effectively with a variety of personality types and management styles.

On our journey home, Ms. Briston and I agreed that leadership happens regardless of an individual’s natural ability to fit a typical leadership mould. There are some who are natural born leaders, people who find themselves in a leadership role simply because their inherent skills and capabilities. There are people who inspire others and lead naturally, even though they may be unaware of doing so. As teachers, we see leadership opportunities appear throughout the school environment – from group work, class jobs, house captains, to outreach programmes and student councils. Patterns of behaviour can develop into leadership qualities, albeit not always in a positive manner. What is clear is that leadership, in all its forms, is all around us; in order to excel it is important to be honing these skills whenever possible.

The Circles of Empowerment Workshop suggests that effective leadership comes from shifting your style from one of control to one of empowering others. Suggestions included:
– Encourage self-awareness and self-exploration as a unique individual.
– Move from an entitlement to a contribution mindset as an institution.
– Don’t punish the group for the individual(s).
– Build navigational skills by rewarding the process of pushing through with a task and building thinking/creative muscles. When possible, focus on efforts in the navigational process in place of a “right” destination.
– Lead by example – our future leaders will follow what they are shown to do more than what they are told to do.

The workshop was presented by Sandy Geyer, the founder of EnQ Practice as well as co-founder of Allcopy Publishing and Quickvest (a property investment company). Sandy is based in Auckland, New Zealand, but travels regularly to Australia and South Africa, speaking professionally on leadership in general, entrepreneurship and business leadership.

To spot leadership qualities in a student requires an ability to identify that the student presents a self-confident approach and shows a natural influence or magnetism in dealing with others. Our role, as parents and teachers, is to keep guiding that student toward behaving with integrity and a concern for the good of others, so that he or she becomes a leader capable of guiding others toward a vision, rather than being swayed by the whims and impulses of the collective. In other words, we need to replace behaviour dictation with empowerment guidance.

Ms S. de Robeck and Ms C.Briston