How do we develop leadership in our students?

Leadership is a highly valued personal characteristic, prized on the sporting field, in schools, and in workplaces. Recruitment company Seek have seen that employers place great weight on transferable skills, such as individuals who can motivate others, make decisions, and support and encourage people to achieve goals. All key attributes of leadership.

How do we develop leadership in our students? As a parent of boys, I worry about whether I have given my sons enough opportunity and encouragement to become leaders. Many people see leadership as an inherent trait rather than a series of skills. In this case, the same children tend to become the leaders, through delegation, volunteering, or peer nomination. People call them “born leaders”, suggesting that other children are “born followers.” At IGS, we don’t believe that our students are followers, instead we see them as leaders in their day-to-day life, and into whatever the future holds for them.

Leadership skills are important for teenagers to develop as these qualities can significantly benefit them in various aspects of their lives. These range from enhanced communication and social skills, learning to be responsible and accountable for their actions, learning how to motivate others, delegate tasks, and work together towards common goals. All of which have an important role in building a teenager’s emotional intelligence and growth mindset. In the HPE department at IGS we work towards developing these leadership skills through a combination of teacher guidance, encouragement, and providing our boys with the opportunities to learn and practice leadership qualities.

Learning to coach sports can be an excellent way to develop and strengthen leadership skills. Coaching requires a unique set of qualities that are essential for effective leadership. Currently in Term 3 we have a range of opportunities for students to learn these key skills, through leading lessons and coaching sessions for their peers, and other year levels. In Year 8 the boys are developing inclusive activities for their class, based on non-traditional sports where they will modify the sessions they lead to ensure all class members have the opportunity to participate and be successful. Year 9 boys are using a focus on Indigenous games to develop more in-depth coaching sessions which they will conduct with their peers to improve on identified key skills and fitness areas. Year 10 Sport and Fitness students will be coaching Year 4 boys in touch football, beginning their journey towards coaching certificates and senior VET subjects. Finally, our Year 11 and 12 VET students are accomplished coaches and leaders in their own right, and often manage and teach classes from the Junior school through to Year 7 and 8. It is heartening to see our Year 12s in particular, nearing the end of their school years, demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities while confidently managing and coaching a wide range of groups and activities.

Leadership skills are crucial for teenagers as they provide a strong foundation for personal growth, social development, and future success. Our aim is to continue to encourage and nurture these skills with our students, paving the way for them to become confident, responsible, and empathetic individuals who are capable of making a positive impact in their communities and the world at large.

Duncan Mackintosh
Head of Department - HPE