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Principles of Leadership at Pemi

Fourteen members of the Pemi staff recently met for a weekend of planning and discussion. Principles of Leadership at Pemi is a collaborative effort that developed as we addressed the question, “what does it mean to be a leader at Pemi?”

1.We believe in leading from the front.

Leaders at Pemi have traditionally “led from the front.” We believe it is imperative that we model the ideas and behaviors that we endorse and that we ask others to live by.

We strive to take the initiative to do what needs to be done, not just ask others for their effort and commitment.

Leading from the front allows us to maintain our humility and appreciation for those whom we lead.

When we lead from the front, we also model passion, good grace, and humor.

2. Good leaders are good listeners.

We recognize that we are at our best in leading when we have a clear sense of how others are doing – what they are thinking and how they are feeling; this only comes via attentive and thoughtful listening.

When we listen closely, we help others take us where we should all go, not necessarily where we initially thought we should go.

By being good listeners, we gain trust from others who see us as interested in their journey and, therefore, see us as their advocates.

Active listening also mandates patience on our part and a commitment to whomever we are leading.

3. Pemi Leaders understand the need for a variety of styles of leadership at camp.

Allowing for a variety of leadership styles helps us to recognize our own strengths and weaknesses and allows us to continue learning from others.

By recognizing that there are many styles of leadership, each of us may contribute to leadership at camp without being threatened by the talents and passions of others around us, no matter what their role at camp may be.

Exposure to a variety of leadership styles leaves room for us to continue to grow in our own roles as leaders.

A variety of leadership styles presents campers with many role models with whom they might identify and emulate.

4. Leaders at Pemi mentor others and develop new leaders each summer.

Part of our job each summer is to pass along the legacy of the leaders who came before us and to prepare for when other younger staff will step into new roles at Pemi

By mentoring others in our ideas of leadership, we see the values and beliefs that are at the core of the Pemi experience brought to the “outside world.” The Pemi spirit is then engrained in other families, schools, institutions, and communities.

5. Pemi leaders accept the reality that there are times for both praise and constructive criticism and correction.

We are charged with being honest in a way that is constructive, caring, and not judgmental.

Honesty insures that we will maintain the highest standards in our community and in our work with campers, staff, and parents.

Honesty allows us the privilege of contributing to growth and maturity in those with whom we work and guide.

We believe everyone ultimately wants to be counseled with honesty, care, and integrity.

Our most honest leaders are admired and remembered with appreciation and even affection. At the same time, we realize that wanting to be liked can stand in the way of being an effective mentor. Better that affection evolve from respect than from treating people without the highest expectations.

6. Pemi leaders believe in decision-making by consensus but also confirm that it is our job to make the most difficult decisions from time to time.

We recognize that it is our responsibility to make the occasional tough call when consensus can’t be reached or when the situation requires an immediate decision.

Making difficult decisions is a responsibility we embrace with the best interest of Pemi foremost in our minds.

That being said, our first model of decision-making is via consensus, with true credence given to everyone’s passionate voice and position.


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