Leading and Living Into Our Values

By Payton Hobbs, Head of Lower School

Leadership is hard, especially during a global pandemic. 

The demands include multiple decisions to be made, projects managed, feedback given and received, and people who depend on you for support and care for a variety of (and sometimes conflicting) needs and wants. 

All of this is happening while the conditions around us are constantly changing, and yet, I find myself experiencing a high level of joy and success as a leader right now. 

How is this possible, and why does it matter?   

I have the privilege of being part of an interdependent leadership culture, and I am leading with a team that is grounded and guided by a shared vision and set of core values. I am not alone on this journey, and my passion and purpose align with the direction and commitment of our Lower School team. 

An interdependent leadership culture operates with the belief that leadership is a collective activity and the team’s success is prioritized over the success of individuals. Leadership is distributed, all voices and perspectives are heard and valued, and a collaborative approach is utilized for making decisions. You know you are experiencing interdependent leadership when shared exploration, mutual adjustments, and a focus on developing the community are goals and objectives that are discussed and implemented. 

The Lower School leadership team, which includes representation from all grade levels and the specialists’ educators, began building this culture during a summer retreat in partnership with the Conscious Leadership Academy from the University of San Diego. 

Our interdependent leadership culture explains how our Lower School team accomplishes the important work we do together. Our shared vision and set of core values remind us why this work matters in the first place.

Our Lower School vision is focused on community, culture, collaboration and curriculum:

This year, the Lower School team agreed that teamwork, inclusivity and a growth mindset are the core values we will live into each day and that will ground and guide us as we strive to make our vision a reality for all community members. 

In Dare to Lead, Brené Brown defines a value as “a way of being or believing that we hold most important.” Living into our values means that “we do more than profess our values, we practice them. We walk our talk—we are clear about what we believe and hold important, and we take care that our intentions, words, thoughts, and behaviors align with those beliefs.” 

When you have a clearly defined vision and your core values are your guiding light, the decisions you make, the projects you manage, and the feedback you give and receive will all go through your values filter, and you will be clear and confident about your next steps as a result. You will not find yourself wavering, wondering or worrying, even during a global pandemic, because you are simply leading and living into your values. 

And when you live into your values with a team as a part of an interdependent leadership culture, the easier it will be to choose what is right over what is easy in our most challenging moments as a leader. 

This is why leadership is hard, and yet joyful and rewarding for me at LJCDS.  

And, we dance, sing, laugh and have a lot of fun together, too! 

Payton Hobbs
Payton Hobbs

Head of Lower School

Payton Hobbs began her work in the field of education learning with the youngest students as a classroom teacher. She taught kindergarten and first and second grades at both public and private schools. As Mrs. Hobbs’ career progressed, she wanted to expand her impact with learners of all ages and transitioned into leadership positions that included director of curriculum and instruction, assistant head of Lower School, associate director of admission, and head of Lower School. Prior to joining the LJCDS community, Mrs. Hobbs was the head of Lower School at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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