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Student Leadership

11th February 2021

Student Leadership 

By Townsville Grammar School Principal, Mr Timothy Kelly
February 2021

An important element of a Townsville Grammar School education is the development of leadership skills and competencies, and, since its foundation in 1888, the School has a long and proud history of producing fine men and women who go on to lead in all areas of our society.

There is little doubt that in the world as it stands right now we need effective leadership and the need to develop good young leaders for the future has never been so critical. Over the last year, we have certainly seen a variety of forms of leadership on a global platform – some effective and some not so. What is clear is that leadership makes a difference to the lives of people.

During the recent induction of Senior School Leaders, I discussed the viewpoint on leadership by a global leader. At a recent virtual event for Asia’s leaders, the Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was interviewed about his experience leading Singapore through the pandemic. Highlighting the importance of foresight and early, decisive action, Prime Minister Lee elaborated on the role of leadership and its influence in determining what could be accomplished.

I particularly like the way in which Mr Lee quite simply articulated what to him is good leadership. First of all, good leadership makes a crucial difference. The outcomes any team, institution or community are able to achieve is impacted by the quality of leadership. The manner in which leaders of different countries have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic is a contemporary example. Secondly, for those in leadership positions, they must seek the advice and knowledge of others who have greater experience or skill. Leaders must look to build networks and relationships to broaden the feedback they receive. Thirdly, leaders must be prepared for surprises and setbacks. Our capacity to be resilient and to persevere will come to the fore at this time. Which led to the PM’s final point: that when there are surprises and setbacks and leaders are in a tough spot, they have to think about their duty and responsibility as a leader and, in the end, just get on with it.

As we seek to develop our young leaders at Townsville Grammar School, it is important that our philosophy of leadership and what we seek in our student leaders is widely understood. Please find some further details about this below.

Philosophy of leadership at Townsville Grammar School

  • Leadership is about relationships.
  • Leaders are servants to their community.
  • Leadership is unavoidable.
  • Leadership is doing what is right when no is looking.
  • Leadership is about influence not authority.
  • Leaders communicate well and they listen to others.
  • Leaders set their own standards high and do not compromise them.

What are the values looked for in our student leaders?

  • Honesty, integrity, commitment, humility, respect
  • Initiative, compassion, willpower, resilience, service
  • Loyalty, wisdom, persistence, enthusiasm, diligence

What social competencies do our student leaders possess?

  • Ability to communicate effectively (includes listening).
  • Ability to operate collaboratively.
  • Demonstrate empathy for others.
  • Capacity to build relationships.
  • Willingness to contribute to a positive school culture.
  • Capacity to manage conflict.

How can student leaders be identified?

Students who:

  • have demonstrated a history of leadership.
  • can be their own person and make decisions that are right not necessarily popular.
  • are aligned to the vision of the School and understand its history and traditions.
  • are willing to put the needs of the group ahead of their own needs.
  • can lead by example and model the highest standards of behaviour and appearance.