Regardless of your role; student, teacher, friend, parent, employee, employer etc. OR your age, succeeding can depend on your ability to lead. Schools have a multitude of opportunities for students to learn leadership traits. As teachers, with many years’ experience, we have seen leadership opportunities in classrooms starting at Pre-K.
Leadership starts when you are the line leader that leads your classmates around the school. You have opportunities to be the captain of sports teams, are elected to positions in student government/clubs or lead efforts to raise money for an ill student or teacher. These opportunities help build leadership characteristics and develop experiences to build on for future successes. These are the opportunities that help students answer the ‘What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?”. As educators wanting to help students with this question, an answer that we should always share with students is, “Concentrate on learning how to be a leader, and whatever you choose to do, the skills will apply.”
Once we leave our ‘formal’ educational settings, how do we as adults continue to grow and hone leadership skills? Have you reflected on what are your strongest skills and the areas where you want to improve? Vision, bringing people together, coaching, guiding change? There are a lot of leadership opportunities, you just need to pick an area and dig in.
It’s important that we look at all our leadership opportunities regardless of where we are in our education or career as being part of a journey. Make a concentrated effort to attend book studies, conferences, courses at the local community college or university to learn more. We must allow ourselves and students a chance to experiment with roles and careers where we may want to lead when we grow up. Truth is we are all still growing up and figuring out what we want to do next.
We’d like to challenge you to stop and thank an individual that has impacted your leadership journey. Let them know that they made a difference and share with them that their leadership efforts mattered. It will encourage them to continue leading and chances are you will be encouraged yourself.