Leadership through commitment

Commitment – “the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause or activity”

Leadership – “the action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this”

Some of you may have read my last blog where I spoke about the ideas around engagement, feedback, and the search for ‘flow’. I presented the idea that during our lives, we all come across many differing degrees of engagement at many levels and in many things. The key to finding better engagement relies strongly on the feedback we receive along the way.

In continuing this idea, and as I reflect upon the many students and staff currently engaged in our College production of Footloose, it reminds me of the immense commitment we undertake when staging a musical and in-turn the leadership that is displayed through the process.

I recently attended a conference by the Institute of Managers & Leaders (IML) where I listened to several key people discuss the inherent competencies needed to be a leader today. One thing that was discussed is that when we feel safe and in a supportive environment, we flourish.

I have had the immense good fortune over the past few weeks to assist the College to prepare for the upcoming production of Footloose. My role has been quite a small one compared to others - I  play in the band! For those involved, you would know there have been many rehearsals of late, all culminating in three performances this week at The J in Noosa (shameless plug!). But for me, playing in the band allows me a unique opportunity to watch and listen – to the students interacting with each other and with the staff, to their support and empathy of each other’s roles and responsibilities, to their constructive and honest critique of performance and success – these are all admirable qualities of today’s leaders motivating themselves and others towards challenging goals.

As a child grows and develops, the idea of the accidental leader is one that I think is easily identifiable.  Firstly, through an interest and then in turn a commitment to that interest, an opportunity to lead others can often easily be found. The current musical at St Andrew’s is a great example – striving through a commitment and developing the skills to achieve a role. Whether we stumble upon leadership or are born with it, we know that all leaders have a huge ability to have an impact on others. As children/ students grow, and become more emotionally intelligent, this ability increases. In fact, it is the level of emotional intelligence that can often define the impact we have on others. It’s emotional intelligence that allows us to move from unproductive to productive states.

Our ability to be present rather than disconnected, empathetic rather than insensitive, genuine rather than untrustworthy, expansive rather than limited, resilient rather than temperamental, and empowering rather than indifferent - each of these core emotional intelligence skills of self-awareness, awareness of others, authenticity, emotional reasoning, self-management and inspiring performance all are key in striving towards positive states when preparing a show.  

When you think about the idea of coming together for a production, our actors, singers, musicians, stage crew, dancers, visual artists and creative team all strive towards excellence in these areas and in fact they are all necessary for the musical to be a success. Inherently important is the need to find purpose, obtain mastery, find autonomy, build relationships and build trust - all important traits for leaders, and living strong within our musical.

St Andrew’s, in my eyes, is uniquely positioned in this space to empower our students and staff into unique and inspiring leadership – leadership that encourages teamwork and empowers others to speak, debate, and demonstrate ideas in a safe space. Leadership where building respect is better than being liked, where pressure is necessary for success and where motivation is encouraged.

I encourage you to consider both the skills of leadership and the advantages of commitment as we come together for our production of Footloose as a team, at The J in Noosa, and allow the show to demonstrate these worthy attributes.

“Great leaders walk past you every day – It’s having the ability to identify them that is key” – Kevin Sheedy (Former AFL Coach / Managing Director SHEEDY VISION)

Andrew Eunson