There are many books written about leadership; people have debated the various aspects of leadership and even wondered how to define it. Some argue that leaders are born and not made whereas others believe that leadership is largely task orientated, that it is about getting a job done. Whether it is nature or nurture doesn’t matter but what does strike me about leadership at Blundell’s is how instinctively so many of you lead when given the opportunity to do so.
There are many opportunities to lead at school, both formally and informally. Most of you practice leadership of one form or another every day by the decisions you make, the words you speak and the manner in which you interact with each other.
But there are many opportunities to learn about and to practice leadership in a more structured and organised way and I want to commend to you that, if at all possible, you grasp those opportunities to learn about leading people while you are at school.
The School Council is made up of pupils in each year group and in each House. I have been impressed by the earnest conversations that have been held this term at these meetings and the ideas put forward have been thoughtful and mature.
The Council is working hard for your benefit and I encourage you to use it – the more seriously you engage with it, the more effective it will be. I have been especially impressed by the manner in which small committees of council members have taken it upon themselves to meet with members of staff to discuss aspects of school life – whether that is with Mrs Stevens in the School Shop or Mr Dyer about IT or Mr Berrow about the upcoming Gut.
Leading your own peers is especially difficult because leadership requires you to take a risk; others may not follow or not respond favourably. I am immensely proud of the way in which the Monitors led the Tolerance and Kindness Week. Standing in front of your peers and speaking from the heart takes real courage and watching the Monitors in action should have been an inspiration to many of you.
It is one thing to give instructions about meal queues and where to sit but it’s a whole other thing trying to affect the way people think and behave. I hope that in the process we all begin to understand that leadership is about influencing both the heart and the mind.