The Merciful Leader: Servant Leadership
Our newly elected student leaders completed their Leaders’ Seminar this week before officially taking leadership of the student body at the start of Term 4. As newly elected leaders in a Catholic Mercy school, our students have been called in all ways to model love of God and love of neighbour. So how will they do this?
In essence, Servant Leadership means serving God through service to others. Through our baptism, we all share in the life of Christ. Jesus, as our teacher, modelled perfectly for us what it means to be a servant leader.
How did Jesus do this?
Jesus modelled servant leadership by what He said and did. He cared deeply for the people he led and calls all leaders to do the same.
“If you have food, share it with someone else.” Luke 3:11.
Through His words and actions, he modelled compassion and concern for the needs of others. Perhaps His greatest example of servant leadership was when he washed the feet of the disciples and implored them to do the same.
In The Footsteps of Great Servant Leaders
As student leaders at a Catholic Mercy school, our students walk in the footsteps of great leaders who have gone before. These servant leaders made a considerable contribution to the Mercy vision and Mercy Education.
We can trace that vision back to Catherine McAuley and the founding Sisters of Mercy. When the Institute of Mercy was first formed, Catherine provided direction and guidance to the early sisters: She wrote many letters to them on the qualities needed to be a merciful leader and her words still ring true for our leaders today:
- “I have great confidence in you to do what you think is best.
- “State your opinion, but always act with courage”
- “Be ever ready to praise and encourage”.
- “Be slow to condemn”
Catherine wanted her leaders to “be cheerful, animating everyone around you.” She also asked her leaders to “be as shining lamps, giving light to all around you”. Catherine provides a tall order for all Mercy leaders, but with time, patience, and a willingness to be brave and confident while remaining humble, all leaders can grow into people of mercy and service.
Who is your greatest model of servant leadership?
Servant leaders are not only great political figures or religious leaders. Great servant leaders reside amongst us, in our circle of friends, amongst our peers, within our family, in the classroom and on the sports field.
What are the qualities of servant leadership?
- Servant leaders are those who listen and are attentive to the voice of the people.
- They empathise because they understand and share the feelings of another.
- They are aware of self and can read a situation.
- They are creative, inspiring others to achieve goals in new and exciting ways. Servant leaders have vision. Not only can they predict what will happen, but also what is needed.
- Servant leaders are good stewards, carefully caring for others and the planet.
- And finally, servant leaders are committed because they are dedicated to the growth of the entire community.
We give thanks for our student leaders who have been brave enough to take up the challenge of leadership. We pray for God’s blessing on the work they will do for the College, and we promise to mentor, encourage, and support them in the task that lays ahead.
Congratulations to all our leaders. With Jesus as your model, and the examples of those who have gone before, may you be enthused to take up your role with humility and say, “Here I am, I come to serve, not to be served”. (Matthew 20:28).
When asked what she thought a servant leader was, Year 7 student, Anais Nicholls spoke about one of her fellow boarders. She said, “Ashlee is a great example of a servant leader. She is very caring of everyone, very courageous and an enthusiastic leader. Thank you Ashlee for being so kind and helpful.”