John Quincy Adams said that “if your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more…you are a leader.” However, are we bold enough to speculate that some of our youth today are self-centered and they spark some negativity? Instead of coming up with solutions and positively influencing their peers, the focus falls solely on the problem. Look at social media, at the news and speak to the youth on the street, and they will express blame, and point out short comings. This does not make a positive impact on society, and this definitely does not solve problems.
It is important to note that this is not a political inclined article. It also isn’t meant to blame or point fingers. The aim of this article is to give guidance with tips as to what we can teach our youth so that they become future leaders who lead change in an era we so desperately need great leaders in again.
The Mindspa Institute offers a complete Develop Your Leadership program, but here are 6 tips, or if you will ‘takeaways’ that you can read and take away with you to implement in a youth program, classroom or even to consider as part of your mentorship program.
- Ethical leadership is something specifically South Africa needs to grow this glorious country. This is a process of where leaders operate beyond their own ego and influence people to act on principles, values and beliefs. Remember those five principles of Aristotle – respect, service, justice, honesty and building the community? This is important to instill into our future leaders.
- Teach young leaders about the difference between confidence and arrogance. Teach them that not everyone knows everything, and although you should speak with conviction, don’t be arrogant to think you know best and know it all.
- Example leadership skills are skills you teach young leaders to lead through being a positive example for others. It’s about leading by showing the changes you want to see. It is being a leader with integrity and ethics who is fair and empathetic towards others. Being someone, young leaders will aspire to become.
- Develop communication skills. When young leaders communicate well, they will be able to bring their concerns across better. However it is important to highlight that a great deal of effective communication goes into the listening part. Good listening skills is an extremely important aspect of communication and without it, you won’t achieve much.
- Teach emotionally intelligence. Teach skills of open-mindedness. Encourage youth leaders to see the other’s party’s concerns and teach them to put themselves in the other ones shoes. Teach them empathy and to be understanding, but emotionally strong and self-aware.
- Youth leaders should be taught to use their energy and youth as a skill. Meaning that they should not always take things so seriously and also not to be too hard on themselves. They are still learning and acquiring the skills needed to be great leaders. Our job as established leaders is to show them the right pathways.
In short, teaching leadership skills at a young age is important. Leadership skills acquire practice as well and youth leaders should seek out opportunities to not only fight for what they believe in, but also to work with other groups like becoming a volunteer and help communities or groups of younger children so as to get this practice. These leadership skills can be used in all facets of their lives going forward.