December 12, 2017
 
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DR#: 12 The Service of Authority in the Institute

Introduction

In the Rule of Life of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Articles 209, 210, 211, 212 illustrate the true meaning and understanding the service of authority plays in the Institute:

209. Service
Authority draws its inspiration
from the Spirit of Christ,
who came not to be served but to serve.
It serves the common good,
the growth of brotherhood,
and the pursuit of the religious
and apostolic aims of the Institute.


210. Fraternal Authority
Authority is exercised in such a way
as to help the brothers
become attentive to the Spirit
and be co-responsible for the formation
of a true community of life and apostolate.


211. Role of Authority
After reasonable consultation,
authority sets common objectives,
encourages and coordinates initiatives,
makes necessary decisions,
and promptly intervenes to prevent abuses
and to correct errors.


212. Animation and Administration
The service of authority is expressed
through animation and administration.
It affects every brother, each local community,
and all levels of government.

The leadership principles outlined in the above Rules, especially those of service, co-responsibility, collaborative decision-making, animation and administration, capture the spirit of our educational charism and the goals towards which we strive in the ministry of authority in our various school communities.

“We view the leadership of schools as an act of service to the school community. We choose for administrative roles those individuals, Brothers and lay, who understand leadership as service and who possess the proper administrative skills…school leaders…exercise their authority in a fair and consistent manner with their utmost concern being the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. They also exercise their role in a collegial manner, consulting with appropriate individuals in areas of major concern.” (Charism and Mission)

Within each school, authority serves to build a genuine community by cultivating close relationships and sharing responsibilities. Authority serves to foster a spirit of openness, mutual support, hospitality, collegiality, and team-work, and invites consultation for the success of our educational ministry.

 

On a secular note, George Davis, author of the text entitled, Magic Shortcuts to Executive Success, notes: (quoted in Maxwell’s Developing the Leaders Around You) “Authority is not something we buy, are born with, or even have delegated to us by our superiors. It is something we earn – and we earn it from our subordinates. No manager has any real authority over his people until he has proved himself worthy of it – in the eye of his people – not his own, nor those of his superiors.”

 

Through this directed, the participant will:

 

  • gain a better understanding of the essence of leadership in a Brothers of the Sacred Heart School; and
  • see how the ministry of leadership is exercised to build up a community of faith, not to promote one’s own selfish interest.

Readings
  • Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Rule of Life, Chapter XII, “The Service of Authority.”
  • Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Charism and Mission, “School Leadership,” pp. 10-12.
  • Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Education Mission and Ministry, “Role of School Leadership.”
Options for Additional Readings
  • Treston, Kevin, Creative Christian Leadership: Skills for More Effective Ministry (Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 2000).
Suggestions for Journal Reflection
  1. Who has modeled the kind of “servant leader” called for by our Rule of Life and/or the hallmarks of our Educational Charism in your experience in a Brothers’ school? How have they been models of this style of leadership?
     
  2. There is no doubt that leadership is viewed as a genuine service to the school community – a ministry calling for collaboration, collegiality, mutual support, team-work, on-going animation, etc. How do you exercise these qualities of leadership in your own ministry? What do you need to do to more effectively model this leadership style for others? What can you do to help foster such leadership in others?
     
  3. Write your own personal Credo (beliefs) for leadership / authority as service: I believe……
Prayer

A Reflection…

John’s gospel (Chapter 13) records how Jesus moved from the status position as head of the table, knelt down, and washed his disciples’ feet as a sign of servant leadership. People who wash feet are very vulnerable. Jesus’ dramatic gesture the night before he died was a confirmation of his repeated lesson to his disciples that they must renounce a dominant mode of leadership and become servant leaders…The “kenosis” of Jesus, described in the letter to the Philippians (2:6), entails a process of self-emptying. This “emptying” is not an apologetic avoidance of responsibility or denigrating the gift of oneself, but letting go of our defenses against the power of God’s love…

Because people turn to leaders for support and direction, leaders, often held in public esteem, are especially susceptible to over-identification with various roles that the system, the culture, and the community can impose on them. A subtle temptation for them is to allow the status and aura of these roles to become a substitute for the real self…

Letting go of the desire to control is very difficult because leaders may feel that their value as a leader would be diminished. Yet God’s grace is most powerful when it touches the real self, not the pseudo self…two of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” and “Blessed are the gentle” express this kenosis of self-giving, not self-immolation…

[Creative Christian Leadership by Kevin Treston]

Readings

Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Rule of Life, Chapter XII, “The Service of Authority,”

Chapter XII
THE SERVICE OF AUTHORITY

209. Service

Authority draws its inspiration
from the Spirit of Christ,
who came not to be served but to serve.
It serves the common good,
the growth of brotherhood,
and the pursuit of the religious
and apostolic aims of the Institute.

210. Fraternal Authority

Authority is exercised in such a way
as to help the brothers
become attentive to the Spirit
and be co-responsible for the formation
of a true community of life and apostolate.

211. Role of Authority

After reasonable consultation,
authority sets common objectives,
encourages and coordinates initiatives,
makes necessary decisions,
and promptly intervenes to prevent abuses
and to correct errors.

212. Animation and Administration

The service of authority is expressed
through animation and administration.
It affects every brother, each local community,
and all levels of government.

213. Superiors

The brothers chosen to serve as superiors,
will be those who are promoters of unity,
who show respect and trust,
and who have a capacity
for attentive listening.

214. Councils

Superiors must have a council
marked by a spirit of communion,
which manifests the presence of the Lord,
who enlightens and guides.
The councilors,
in a spirit of teamwork with the superior,
contribute to making those decisions
for which their consent or their counsel
is required for validity according to the laws
of the Church and of the Institute.

215. Source of Authority

In the Gospels, authority is a gift from God
who desires obedience to his Word.
Whether it is exercised in chapter
or by the superior acting alone or in council,
authority comes from God
through the mediation of the Church.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Charism and Mission, “School Leadership,”

Role of School Leadership

We view the leadership of schools as an act of service to the school community. We choose for administrative roles those individuals, both Brothers and lay, who understand leadership as service and who possess the proper administrative skills. We recognize and respect the exercise of authority by school leaders as an appropriate function of their roles and as a necessary part of maintaining a proper educational environment. School leaders, for their part, exercise their authority in a fair and consistent manner with their utmost concern being the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. They also exercise their role in a collegial manner, consulting with appropriate individuals in areas of major concern.

Applications

  1. The leadership of each school establishes structures to allow for input from faculty, parents, and students.
  2. School policies are clearly defined in appropriate handbooks and are duly promulgated. These policies are reviewed and revised regularly.
  3. In assignment of duties and responsibilities, school leaders avoid showing preferential treatment to any individual, Brother or lay, and ask all faculty members to carry their fair load.
  4. School leadership establishes broad guidelines for teachers, department heads, activities moderators, and staff members. Within these guidelines, faculty and staff members are granted the necessary latitude and discretion to carry out their respective duties.
  5. The appropriate governing body makes major policy decisions only after extensive consultation and discussion.
  6. School leaders are charged with the responsibility of implementing the policies established by the governing body and are given the authority to make decisions necessary to carry out these policies.
  7. School leaders structure their activities and time so that they are available to faculty and staff members, parents, and students.

Selection and Formation of Faculty and Staff

It is the responsibility of all faculty and staff members to understand and to accept the educational and religious mission of the school. On a day-to-day basis, faculty members are the individuals with whom students have the most contact and who are in the best position to communicate the school's philosophy and values to the students. School leaders seek out individuals who can promote the academic, religious, and extracurricular goals of the school. In-service training is designed to enhance the faculty and staff members' understanding of their role in the educational and religious mission of the school. Through the supervision of instruction, school leaders assist teachers in the development of pedagogical techniques and attitudes consistent with the philosophy of the school. Open and constructive assessment of faculty and staff is seen as an important aspect of ensuring that the educational and religious goals of the school are being met.

Applications

  1. The interview of prospective teachers and staff members includes questions concerning professional competence, pedagogical techniques, religious values, and willingness to assist with extracurricular activities.
  2. In hiring decisions, school leaders give priority to those professionally competent individuals who can model a Christian lifestyle to the students.
  3. During the course of the interview, expectations with regard to proctoring duties, teacher substitution, participation in outside of school activities, assistance with religious activities, and other responsibilities such as teacher-counselor, tutor or homeroom duties are clearly explained to the prospective teacher.
  4. Faculty meetings, in-service programs, and days of recollection are held on a regular basis and are designed to seek faculty input, to enhance understanding of the mission of the school as well as to develop professional skills.
  5. School leaders establish a procedure and pattern for the supervision of instruction that ensures that each teacher is observed. Each formal observation is followed by a conference with the teacher and a written assessment.
  6. An appropriate school leader has a conference with each faculty member at least once a year during which time there is a mutual assessment of the individual's performance and contributions to the mission of the school with particular emphasis given to the religious dimension of the school.
  7. Every teacher and staff member deserves a reasonable opportunity to improve his/her performance. Therefore, a teacher or staff member is dismissed only for just cause and, when applicable, after adequate notice.
  8. School leaders see a strong departmental structure as an important means to facilitate the communication of the school’s goals and philosophy through the curriculum and through the formation of teachers.
  9. Faculty and staff members support and implement all school policies.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Educational Mission and Ministry, “Role of School Leadership”

ROLE OF SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

We view administrative leadership as an act of service to the school community. We choose for administrative roles those individuals who understand administration as service, who have demonstrated commitment to the educational charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, and who possess the proper administrative and leadership ability. The exercise of authority by administrators is an appropriate function of their roles and is a necessary part of maintaining a proper educational environment. As an act of service, administrators exercise their authority in a fair and consistent manner with their utmost concern being the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. They also exercise their roles in a collegial manner, consulting with appropriate individuals in areas of major concern.

Applications

  1. The administration of each school establishes structures to allow for input from faculty, parents, and students.
  2. School policies are clearly defined in appropriate handbooks and are duly promulgated. These policies are reviewed and revised regularly.
  3. In assignment of duties and responsibilities, administrators avoid showing preferential treatment to any individual and ask all faculty members to carry their fair load.
  4. The administration establishes guidelines for teachers, department heads, activities moderators, and staff members. Within these guidelines, faculty and staff members are granted the necessary latitude and discretion to carry out their duties.
  5. Major policy decisions are made by the appropriate governing body only after consultation and discussion.
  6. School leaders are charged with the responsibility of implementing the policies established by the governing body and are given the authority to make decisions necessary to carry out these policies.
  7. Administrators structure their time so that they are available to faculty and staff members, parents, and students.


SELECTION AND FORMATION OF FACULTY

It is the responsibility of all faculty and staff members to form themselves in the educational tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and to understand and to accept the religious and educational mission of the school. On a day-to-day basis, faculty members are the individuals with whom students have the most contact and who are in the best position to communicate the school's philosophy and values to the students. In hiring faculty and staff members, administrators seek out individuals who are receptive to a holistic approach to education and who can promote the religious, academic, and extracurricular goals of the school. Formation efforts are designed to enhance the faculty and staff members' understanding of their role in the religious and educational mission of the school. Through the supervision of instruction, administrators assist teachers in the development of pedagogical techniques and attitudes consistent with the philosophy of the school. Open and constructive evaluation of faculty and staff is seen as an important aspect of ensuring that the goals of the school are being met.

Applications

  1. The interview of prospective teachers and staff members includes questions concerning professional competence, pedagogical techniques, religious values, openness to embracing the educational charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and the mission of the school, and willingness to assist with extracurriculars.
  2. During the course of the interview, expectations with regard to proctoring duties, teacher substitution, participation in outside-of-school activities, assistance with religious activities, and other responsibilities are clearly explained to the prospective teacher.
  3. In hiring decisions, administrators give priority to those professionally competent individuals who can model a Christian lifestyle to the students.
  4. Faculty meetings, in-service programs, and days of recollection are held on a regular basis and are designed to seek faculty input, to enhance understanding of the mission of the school and the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, as well as to develop professional skills.
  5. Administrators establish a procedure and pattern for the supervision of instruction that ensures that each teacher is observed and receives timely and appropriate feedback.
  6. The principal has a conference with each teacher at least once a year in which there is a mutual evaluation of the teacher’s performance and contributions to the mission of the school with particular emphasis given to the school’s religious dimension.
  7. No teacher or staff member is dismissed without just cause and, when appropriate, adequate notice and a reasonable opportunity to improve.
  8. Administrators see a strong departmental structure as an important means to facilitate the communication of the school’s goals and philosophy through the curriculum and through the formation of teachers.
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