26 May 2021

Christ’s College was chosen as the only New Zealand school to participate in a Cross-cultural Study of Student Leadership in Round Square Schools around the world.

The study examined students’ perceptions of what makes an effective leader. It identified honesty, responsibility and listening skills alongside confidence and effective communications as the most important qualities and skills.

Twelve schools from 34 countries were selected for the project. Representing Christ’s College, Deputy Head Jamie Barr and last year’s Head of Character and Leadership, Jack Drage, looked at leadership with courage.

They explored to what extent courage is visible in leadership within our school community.

“This research project enabled us to discover the depths of courage within our community through survey and through interview,” Jamie wrote in his research report.

“For me, leadership within our school context is seen in the older boys setting examples and being role models for the new entrants and younger boys. The sense of bringing everyone together to establish a community where everyone can find a sense of belonging and feel empowered is prevalent. The boys who lead from the top make it far easier for the new boys to settle in and feel at home. Although not everyone can have a leadership title, if students are setting good examples and helping the younger boys, then they are leaders.”

Jamie believes the attribute of courage is widely promoted, emphasised, and practised within the school community.

“I believe this is due to the desire to foster boys who are willing to be more courageous than others. It is an attempt to fill the world with difference and with people who are truly able to express themselves.

“I think courage is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Now the extent of fear is going to vary in each situation. It could be as simple as answering a question in front of the class, or as scary as asking for help. Having the courage to stand up and do the right thing can be challenging for teenage boys. However, those who are willing and able to push judgment aside and stand up for something are the courageous leaders amongst the community,” Jamie says.

He cites standing up against bullying as an example of doing the right thing; those who are able to do it show great courage.

“A leader must not only display individual courage, they also need to have the courage to make good decisions on behalf of a group in order to achieve a common goal. Achieving this goal often takes courage in the form of delivering speeches and involving yourself with new people. Courage can positively affect leadership as it adds a new attribute to the leader if they are able to be courageous for the benefit of the group.

At Christ’s College leadership is visible and acknowledged in both smaller settings and larger settings. Courage is an attribute that allows leadership to reach its full potential. The combination of leadership and courage takes the average to the extraordinary.

Visit the Round Square website here to read key findings and download a pdf of the report.