“A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.”
– Mark Yarnell
Young people live in a diverse world characterized by great pressures and responsibilities, changing technology, and challenges in the job market. They are the next generation of leaders in our workplace and in our communities. For our country to succeed, we need to empower them to develop their talents and capabilities to become agents of change. One way to prepare them for this is to teach them leadership skills.
What defines a great leader?
“Before you are a leader, success is about all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
For someone to become a great leader he or she must first understand themselves. Learning how to take control of their own destiny, developing a strong character, and understanding how to set goals and stay motivated are the beginning steps. Cultivating leadership skills will boost a young person’s confidence and ability to think for himself. Here are a few important leadership characteristics that education should develop.
In addition to knowing our skills and abilities, self-awareness means accepting that we are flawed and human, enabling us to accept feedback in a constructive manner. Without self awareness, a leader can not be sensitive to his/her surroundings and the emotional states and needs of others.
The ability to form effective relationships is essential to being able to function as part of a team, whether as a leader or a co-equal participant. Developing trust and communication skills are paramount to successful relationships and these skills are easier to develop at a young age.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Great leaders have the ability to create a vision of the future that will motivate others to achieve it. It is difficult to inspire others without first developing your ability to perform at your best. Successful athletes, musicians, engineers, teachers, managers – all have all spent time cultivating their skills. They understand the value of commitment and passion in the pursuit of their dreams.
Problem Solving Skills
Leaders are expected to solve problems in a way that takes many factors into consideration. They must look at all the variables, opportunities, and resources available and find a creative solution. Confidence, organizational skills and analytical skills need to be cultivated. Learning how to solve math problems in class does not prepare a student to become a leader. Learning how to solve real life problems involving people and resources does.
Great leaders are honest, ethical, and have high integrity. They are transparent and consistently do what they say they are going to do. The actions of her team are dependent on the leader’s ability to demonstrate the behavior she wants to cultivate in others. A team or group of followers will emulate what the leader does, not says.
Communities In Schools of Jacksonville helps students learn leadership skills from an early age by providing them with the encouragement and guidance they need from mentors and program leaders. Contact us to learn more about our work.