Leadership with Self-Awareness

Authored by: Stanford Lake College: Hloni Mangena, Amu Ngobeni, Callan Shultz, and Warwick Melville

Leadership at Stanford Lake College is meaningful and effective; people who are allocated roles perform the duties associated with those roles. There are a variety of different ways in which people can apply to become leaders. Individuals can focus on what they are truly interested in, and the area of the school in which they can leave the biggest impact. From Heads of School to Sports Team Captains, our school provides opportunities for students to find their interests and evaluate who they can best serve and guide, and who they can develop when it is their time to be a leader. Leadership is an experience and journey, not just a responsibility. Our responsibility is not only to help grow the school, we also grow ourselves; there is always room for improvement which as a school we constantly acknowledge. Understanding and evaluating one’s own biases, strengths, and weaknesses is prevalent in the Stanford Lake College community to the greatest extent.

The Round Square attribute of self-awareness looks like discovery and growth in the Stanford Lake community. Students at our school are encouraged to explore their comfort zones and determine their limits. When students join our school, they are encouraged to participate in adventure expeditions and team sports alongside their peers. This gives students the chance to not only discover themselves and their capabilities, but also provides the context to learn from peers of all ages. Stanford Lake College’s community encourages and facilitates collaboration between different grades. Self-awareness allows for confidence and tenacity, which our students show and learn to embrace as they engage with others.

In our community self-awareness is developed in many ways. We see the development of self-awareness through students interacting with their peers, we see it when they show us what they believe in, and we see it as they mindfully balance their academics with their co-curriculars. We see students who are involved in all sorts of sports, and are still able to do exceptionally well in academics. This is most notable during the winter sports season when many students find themselves in two teams, as well as preparing for exams. They use their understanding of their capabilities to balance and manage their commitments.  Self-awareness is not only curriculum and sports-based, but socially integrated as well. This is evident when students make independent decisions, despite the possibility of standing alone in their choices.  They believe in their actions. Students embrace who they are and embrace who they want to be; this is evident in how our students go about embracing styles and other forms of expression. The community that is in our school tries to embrace individuality and is working hard towards becoming a community where all different types of people feel included and thrive.

The ability to look at one’s own framework and evaluate one’s strengths, biases, and beliefs results in a leader who can harness the strengths of a team.  As a leader, when you are aware of your qualities and challenges, you gain a more complete perspective of your own identity as a leader. This improves confidence and supports the leader to work collaboratively with their team. Understanding your identity as a leader helps you to create a healthy growth environment for your team. Instead of hiding behind one’s own capabilities and challenges, the team will embrace everyone’s abilities and contributions, building on each person’s strengths. Understanding one’s abilities and limits, and supporting others with theirs, helps build trust; it sets the scene for more effective communication and collaboration.

The numerous and diverse opportunities for growth and discovery at Stanford Lake College provide the context for the growth of leaders. Stanfordians know themselves better than when they first join the school. The leadership framework is diverse and gives all students a chance at a leadership role in the sectors they are passionate about. Stanford Lake College creates an environment where all students thrive on collaboration and self-awareness, this is particularly evident in their approach to leadership within the school.