Multiplying Our Strength

By Marianne Vangoor  |  September 8th

In Developing the Leaders Around You, John Maxwell shares that “A company cannot grow without until its leaders grow within.” Everything rises and falls on leadership; that is why developing, supporting, and enhancing the leaders of Christian schools is such a key priority for Edvance. If Christian schools are to be healthy and flourishing throughout this year and well into the future, we must have leaders who are healthy and actively developing their own leadership skills. Developing personal leadership is a key responsibility of each school leader. The mantra from the Global Leadership Summit “Everyone wins when a leader gets better” is true!  

Leaders, we have the responsibility to constantly get better - reflect, read, listen, and learn because by doing so we will increase our input and our output. When we as leaders push ourselves to improve, we build a culture of development in our organizations.  Development leads to innovation, and that is just what is needed in our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world!  

One way that Edvance will be supporting the work of our school leaders is through the eight principal cohorts under the direction of our regional leaders. We are aiming to have the cohort gatherings and meetings throughout this coming year be places of development and growth as well as places of empathy and vulnerability for each of you so your real and raw burdens can be shared safely and in confidence. What happens in cohort meetings stays in cohort meetings! Cohort gatherings will be “safe containers”, as Brene Brown outlines in Dare to Lead, so that conversations can be open and safe as ideas are shared and possibilities for new perspectives considered.  

We hope that each school leader, and possibly even your school leadership team, will make it a priority to attend and fully participate in the gatherings. Each cohort leader will soon be sharing their meeting schedules, and we hope that these dates will immediately get marked into your calendars. The COVID-19 crisis has shown there is a great need for leaders to link arms and solve problems together. A burden shared is exactly that: a burden shared! Together we can do so much!

Here’s an example from a recent story that I read:

At a Midwestern county fair, many spectators had gathered for the annual horse pull where various weights were put on a horse-drawn sled and pulled along the ground. The grand champion horse that year had pulled a sled with 4,500 pounds. The runner up was close, with a pull of 4,400 pounds. Some of the people gathered there wondered what the horses could pull if they pulled together. The horses were hitched together and everyone stood back to see what would happen. And then—unbelievably—the horses, straining together in their harnesses, pulled over 12,000 pounds! Separately they had pulled only a total of nearly 9,000 pounds. The unity in pulling together as a team multiplied their strength.

At a recent cohort leader retreat, three leadership themes for the year were outlined to help bring some cohesion and focus to leadership development throughout our regions.  

These themes are:

➔    Traits of Leaders Through Change

➔    Migratory Thinking (specifically in regard to race and diversity)

➔   The Dimensions of Healthy Leadership   

As these themes are unpacked locally and in our larger virtual gatherings, I hope that you will develop as a leader, and in turn, that your schools will benefit. In the meantime, keep reading, listening, and paying attention to leadership lessons and opportunities all around you! We are hitching our harnesses together once again to multiply our strength. Let’s see what God will do!