Inspired Leadership – “The Big Why”
In our last post, we discussed ways to lay the foundation for student leadership within your choral program. Today, we begin to detail the 12-week plan addressed in the first post through practical ways to integrate topics in your student officers, choirs, and program.
Week 1 – Intro to Leadership/Why Are We Here?
Students must begin their leadership journey by coming to an understanding of what it means to be a leader, why they are there, and begin to form an understanding of what it is that they want to accomplish together. Such questions can include:
What things are you passionate about?
What brings you happiness?
Do you like being in charge or being in the background?
What tasks in your group do you feel you are best suited for?
If you could do only one thing in this group, what would it be?
I think it’s also important that from the beginning student leaders understand that being a leader requires a servant’s heart. They won’t always be popular. They may even lose friends in the process, but their end goal is to make the whole better. I love Scott Lang’s warning in his Leadership Travel Guide: “Leadership may be accompanied by a sudden loss of friends, an overly acute sense of self worth, sensitivity to critical remarks, and a possible loss of perspective. Side effects may include sudden loss of sleep, irritable life syndrome, stress, discomfort, paranoia, and general frustration.”
Leaders must understand the journey that is about to take place. They must learn to care, listen, communicate, and make sacrifices for others. They must be persistent, consistent, honest, faithful, loyal…the list goes on. And the best thing is that you as their director get to make whatever list you want! But you need to have one. You provide the compass for your students.
They also will become teachers of others, stewards of leadership, if you will. Another great way to begin the leadership journey is by having them reflect on strong leaders in their lives (and hey, why not teachers?) to determine particular traits of respected adults that they could begin using as a leader.
Regardless of the path you choose, work with your singers to develop a common language of leadership, traits that embody successful leaders, and engage in meaningful discussion and self-reflection. The journey awaits! Good luck…until next week!