The Reflective Garden design is currently being finalised and the opportunities presented by this exciting new space are becoming more evident. Positioned between the Chapel and Lawrie Street, the main aim of the garden is to provide a quiet, restful space for prayer and reflection in beautiful surrounds. A stepped seating area will be used to speak to groups of students spread around the space to nurture their spiritual development and on occasions, group activities. A stream through the centre of the space, varied plantings, multiple seating areas and winding paths will create a tranquil journey for people of all backgrounds to nurture their spiritual self. The Eco Squad will be involved with the plantings and ongoing maintenance of the garden. Construction is expected to begin this term and completed in Term 4 this year.
Mr Robert Dempsey, Director of Mission
YEARS 7-9 LEARNING AND WELLBEING CHARACTER STRENGTH FOCUS
Week 2: Leadership
Over the past two years, in COVID times, our vocabulary has expanded. We have heard the words unprecedented, cluster, genomics, circuit breaker and most recently pivot used in this new context. On this new horizon, we find ourselves having to reinvent a current normal, regularly, regardless of the field in which we work.
This last week, as teachers and support staff, we found ourselves working online for the first time this year and the second time ever, and to be honest, it was wonderful to see how we can ‘pivot’ and make such a drastic change work together, for everyone concerned. It’s a testament to the leadership we have and our ability to adapt and change, and to care for each other; staff, students and families, together.
In times of challenge, like the ones we are living, we instinctively look to leaders to light the path ahead of us towards a resolution. Sometimes we step up and join in the rally in whatever way we can, and it’s true that we can all lead in different ways; a badge or title is not critical.
But it is true that leadership is critical in times of change or challenge. Where would we be without it? Each day as I have watched the Premier’s briefing, I have reflected on the composure of the Premier, the Chief Public Health Officer and the Commissioner of Police. I wondered how they manage to find the presence to most probably sleep so little and still remain calm, collected and clear. I am grateful for their leadership and their decision making that has kept us safe. Despite the fact that I don’t know them personally, I have felt connected to them, as I think most of us have, perhaps in part due to their style of leadership.
While there are many different models of leadership, relationships are a source of strength and connection and also enable visions to become reality. At a recent PESA (Positive Education Schools Association) conference, one of the presenters, Daniela Falecki, discussed the work of Jane Dutton, one of the editors of the book, How to be a positive leader. Small Actions Big Impact (2014), and her chapter on High Quality Connections (HQC).
“In HQCs, people feel attuned to one another and experience a sense of worth and value. HQCs are critical building blocks for bringing out the best in people and organisations. Leaders can bring out the best in themselves and others by building more high- quality connections.”
Dutton outlines four pathways to achieving High Quality Connections. The ideas that follow are a composite of the discussion presented by Falecki and excerpts from the text itself:
- Respectful engagement– an awareness of the needs of others and responding with empathy and appreciation; respectfully engaging another person is accomplished through behaviors that show that the person exists and is important in the eyes of another. “I see you”
- Task enabling: doing things that help others, offering support, facilitating the success of others and sharing resources. The other person can sense our interpersonal investment and desire to help. Accordingly, task enabling is also about seeking feedback about whether the help provided meets the need. “What can I do to help?”
- Trust: relying on others to do what they say they will do, being open to vulnerability, ensuring that you do what you say you will, letting go of micromanagement. Trusting means being vulnerable and relying on another person to follow through on their commitments. “I’m here with you.”
- Play: encouraging innovation and creativity, engaging in team building activities, celebrating milestones, theme-based meetings. Moments of play are moments of exploration and interaction, often building new knowledge and broadening action possibilities. They frequently evoke positive emotions, which open people up to new and generative ways of interacting. Play at work is often associated with innovation and creativity because it fosters new knowledge and develops cognitive skills. “I enjoy being with you.”
Leaders’ actions towards others during times of challenge leave an indelible impression of appropriate and desired ways of interrelating that last far beyond the immediate circumstances. Bringing out the best in ourselves and in other people, means paying attention to and investing in, the quality of the social fabric in which we live and work. The quality of the social fabric is built one interaction at a time. When we make these interactions high quality, we build personal strength, and we also strengthen and enrich the fabric that sustains, grows, and facilitates others.
Leading with High Quality Connections is an opportunity to build all of our wellbeing, whether we are at home, school or work. The many short, interactions with people during our day can be likened to vitamins that strengthen us!
It’s a little like Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Despite the physical distance that may separate us at times in our current context, our experience shows us that these connections can still be made successfully, even if we don’t know each other well at all. This results in improved physical and mental health, collective efficacy and thinking capacity, amongst other positive ‘knock-on’ effects.
Strong relationships sit at the core of Lasallian tradition, and High Quality Connections facilitated by leaders, both with and without a title or badge, can also help us to work towards the College Vision and Mission of being known, valued and cared for and being the leaders and learners of the world.
Have a safe and healthy Week 2!
Mrs Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Learning and Wellbeing Initiatives Leader
Source: Dutton JE and Spreitzer GM (editors) (2014) How to be a positive leader. Small Actions Big Impact.