The secret to living is giving. No matter how busy you are today, you have something to offer others. Take a moment to reflect on the new giving culture that has emerged in the UK, your school and closer to home.

What you have achieved in life matters. But if you look at how you can give back to others in your community, a truly human culture will form where stronger community bonds are formed, be they next door or half way across the world.

During the pandemic, the independent sector gave back to so many communities in a number of different ways. From making masks, delivering food to charities so people could have a hot meal, to writing letters to care homes. But, what about the leadership presents you could be giving your community on a daily basis to give people the gift of success?  

"You become a part of something that is bigger than yourself."

They say charity begins at home, and so does gifting. When you give back to your community, it reminds you why you are here.

Whether I have given time and energy to a school proprietor, someone who has reached out to me as a listening ear or a young person who has lost their way – you become a part of something that is bigger than yourself.

By serving another person in this way, they can choose to accept the gift of your experience or words and in turn “regift” what they have learnt to someone else. They can also decide to reflect on the gift that you have given them and take action when it is the right time for them.

Before the bursar panics as there is no money in the budget for training, here is a list of five acts of leadership that are true gifts to anyone in your community receiving them.

The gift of shoes

Before acting, change your shoes. Now, this does not mean literally - that could be very embarrassing. Step back and reflect on what is going on in one of your team’s world. How is this playing out for their wellbeing and for you as a leader? Write it down or draw it out. What gift could you give them to move forwards? How can you deliver it in a way that it is successful?  

The gift of listening

When you stop and listen you show respect for and interest in that person. By taking time you show the person that you care and this opens doors for your community.

Stopping to have lunch with some of your community a few times a week to having one-to-ones — the gift of listening is powerful. By adding in qualified mental health first aiders into this, they have the skills to open the conversation and listen to support the wellbeing of your community.

The gift of kindness

Kindness is an everyday act. How can you show kindness? A handwritten letter rather than an email. A gift of time in a boarding house for a couple of hours to help out.

The gift of mentorship

Time and wisdom. What can you share to someone else to help? Whether that is to a partnership, aspiring leader or someone new moving into your community.

The gift to you

One gift to you. Gift has an ‘ i’ in it but sometimes you can’t see it. What gift do you need to help you? Permission to stop for a rest. Time to walk in nature for your wellbeing. You deserve and need it.