Leaders are Not Born Leaders
Leadership skills are important toward future successes in life, from education to employment, even relationships. And the general consensus is that such skills are lacking among adults and young people. Whether you are a parent or otherwise serve in a leadership role for youth, you can invest in their futures by teaching them how to be leaders. While leadership skills can come naturally, our youth learn lessons along the way that significantly impacts them later in life.
Here are some tips for teaching youth and young adults to be leaders.
Give Them Responsibility
As a youth group leader, parent, teacher, or other authority figure, this can seem like a scary prospect. Are they ready for responsibility? Can they handle it? Give them something to be responsible for that will build their self-confidence, but don’t make it something that’s life-and-death. Take your teens’ personal skills, strengths, and weaknesses into consideration, too. Here are some examples of responsibilities for teens.
* Household chores are a great place to start in giving responsibility. Vacuuming, laundry, dishes and managing their room are simple places to start, even at a young age.
* Running an errand for you, such as picking up something from the store. If they can’t drive, you can drop them off to run the errand.
* Opening up a bank account.
* Let them lead a class or group.
* Have them organize the set-up and clean-up of an event.
Work/ Jobs/ Volunteer
One of those ironies of good leadership is that being under leadership is often a great way to learn it. Youth and young adults would do well to work at least part time, thus learning responsibility and also learning what is involved in good leadership (or sometimes observing poor leadership). Having a job is an important responsibility that can prepare young people to lead.
Consider jobs like camp counselor or babysitter, too. Those are both jobs that put young people in charge of others. Also, volunteering offers a great way to observe leadership and take on responsibility. Many charities and causes have well designed programs exactly for this purpose.
Are there leadership workshops available in your area? If not, see if you can hire a leadership consultant to come in and speak to your group. Maybe you can find someone to speak to your teen’s class, or hold a seminar on your young adult’s college campus. If there is a workshop available, take your youth group to the workshop, or sign your kids up.
Groups and Organizations
Organizations like Boy and Girl Scouts are also good ways for young adults and youth to learn leadership skills. Don’t let the names “boy” and “girl” deter you – there are all kinds of opportunities in these organizations for youth and young adults. Other clubs and groups encourage leadership among members, too. Find out about what is offered in your community – even your local YMCA/YWCA might have some ideas or programs.
What are ways you suggest developing good leadership skills in youth?