Everyone a leader

Leadership currently is more important than ever, and we shall no doubt have our own views about the effectiveness of political leadership in such hugely complex times. I am sure we have also all been fascinated, as well as alarmed, by what we have witnessed in the United States over the last fortnight. Leaders the world over have had to navigate uncharted waters and to take responsibility for unfamiliar and critical decisions since last spring. And we have all looked for trust, openness and integrity, as well as humility when it has been necessary to react to a new challenge and to nimbly alter course. (How many times have we heard the term ‘U-turn’ over the last tortuous months?)

As I continue to ‘facilitate’ the Ivy House leadership course in Year 12, I am struck by the importance of its application to the current challenges we all face. The first half of the course focusses on self-awareness and understanding before we move on to self-leadership (i.e. putting that understanding into practice) followed by the leadership of others. A key learning point is that we cannot change others but have every opportunity to change ourselves and thus to make a more positive impact on our own lives as well as the lives of those around us. I have been grateful to my students for their openness in discussing some of the incremental changes they have made of late: taking breaks and daily exercise; ensuring a healthy diet; maintaining dinner table discussions as positive debate rather than argument; contributing more actively to online lessons, rather than taking a back seat; being prepared to ask for help; being ready for each new day and having a tidy environment in which to work; taking an active interest in and listening more to others.

There is a sense in which we are all leaders, sometimes with a very uncomfortable lack of control over what is going on in the world and in our immediate surrounds. Yet we can all aim to exert control over our reactions and response, and to support others, especially our children, in doing so too.

Best wishes,

John Watson