Mr Geoff Lancaster | Principal | Grammar News | 23 October 2020
On Tuesday St Luke's held a commissioning service for the elected Year 12 2021 Captains and Prefects. It is wonderful to see so many of our students put themselves forward for leadership roles and the calibre of our students truly gives me hope for our future. Over the next week or two, the process to elect Year 6 leaders for 2021 will also take place. With this focus on leadership, I spoke at each of this week’s Assemblies about Host Leadership.
HOST LEADERSHIP is a concept that we can all relate to and is a view of leadership which recognises that sometimes leaders need to step forward and take action, yet at other times leaders step back and let others shine. It is somewhere in the middle when we think of the spectrum of leadership theory that ranges from 'leader as hero' to 'leader as servant'. The host is both the first and the last.
We have all had the experience of being a host or being hosted by someone else and instinctively understand the roles we take on as a host. These roles include:
Initiator: A host initiates an activity and organises things. As a host I might decide I want to have a dinner party. As a host leader I may notice something that can be done better or differently and decide to share that vision with others and do something about it. It may be something small like rubbish in the playground or even something big like global warming.
Inviter: A host also invites other people to join the cause. If I have a dinner party, I have to invite my friends to come along. If, as a host leader, I want to start a sustainability club, I invite people to get involved. Participation is by invitation rather than obligation.
Space Creator: A host organises times and places to meet and make sure things actually happen. If I have a dinner party, I have to get the house ready and also as a host, help to clean up afterwards. As a host leader we need to follow through on our ideas or commitments.
Gatekeeper: A host is present and visible, making an effort to welcome others as well as sometimes being there to protect the group. The host leader works to build culture and set the norms for the group.
Connector: Hosts and leaders alike build connections between people. I spoke to the students about how they might introduce friends from different parts of their lives who have common interests. Similarly leaders connect people and ideas to strengthen the cause.
Co-participator: Hosts don’t only invite someone for dinner, they also sit down and enjoy dinner with their guests. As a host, we would always serve our guests first and then we get to participate. Similarly, it is important that host leaders aren’t so busy organising that they don’t actually enjoy the experience themselves.
The idea of a 'leader as a host' resonated with me and I think it is a helpful and familiar way for our students to understand leadership. We all have opportunities every day to be host leaders as we interact with others in our homes, School, classrooms and workplaces. A great host makes you feel at ease, welcome and appreciated, and that should be the aim of a great leader too.