Leadership Starts Early…Real Early

I love my family. I am very proud of my three daughters. I am also pleased that my wife, Julie, and I (almost always!!!) share a similar view on raising our girls. Like any parents, we want our girls to be healthy, happy and able to cope with the many challenges life offers, whilst maximise the joy in their lives, now and in the future. Julie and I set high standards. We are consistent. We love our girls. We lead…and we are developing our daughter’s accordingly.

Leadership is not a title…it is a series of attitudes, developed skills and related actions. Julie and I discuss values with our daughter’s, particularly as our eldest, Maddy, is about to turn 10 – I do wonder where that decade has gone? We do not take this all for granted, regularly assessing and re-assessing where we are at in our relationships and development of our girls.

But we cannot do it ourselves. We are so very fortunate to have a great family support network who are always there for us and share our pains and joys. We are also grateful for the school that Maddy and our middle daughter, Charlotte (and as of next year, Brianna) attend. I am particularly excited to see the emphasis on broader development of each child, including spirituality, respect, resilience, and other values.

Tonight I read the St. Andrews school newsletter and I felt compelled to share a segment with you, as it is so enlightening to see the focus on leadership and related elements at a learning institution dedicated to primary school aged children.

Each year the school focuses on a theme, which for 2012 is ‘Step Up and Shine’. The opening few paragraphs from this week’s newsletter summarise the objective and context nicely:

At the parent teacher night we again touched on the fact that our theme for this year is “Step up and Shine” and framed that theme under the banner of our leadership for the good of our children leadership. We also established that good leaders are very good story tellers. The challenge for us all is to step up and lead for good and be a good example for our children. In order to be a good leader you need to be aware of and be able to show witness via an understanding of three key points. These key points are as follows:

  1. Know who you are and what you believe in.
  2. Know who the organisation (school) is and what that organisation (school) stands for.
  3. Know that actions speak louder than words when you are witnessing to your own values and the organisation’s (school) charter/values/goals.

Stepping up and shining can be easy when you take these into account as you develop and strengthen the right relationships in your own family, your school family and the wider community.

John – School Principal


steve riddle familyWhat a wonderful message! The consistency in how we wish to raise our girls and that supported by our school gives me a lot of faith that we will all see the benefit of preparing tomorrow’s adults today, with a well-rounded attitude and set of values. Wanting the best for our children is one thing. Providing it is another point completely. It is a joint effort – the community, family, school and us as parents all have a part to play.

There are parallels in this message for us as adults, employees and certainly as leaders. When was the last time you revisited your core values, relationships and beliefs? Do we take the time to focus on what is important to us? How aligned are you to those things you once considered most important?

Maybe it is time to take stock. Maybe it is time to Step Up and Shine!