Ways to Instil Leadership Skills in Students
- May 08, 2017
There is no denying the fact that leadership is one of the key traits that people look for these days. When we look at our students, we recognize that some of them have the innate ability to lead people. Just look at the various cliques that form in high school and you’ll realize that each of these cliques has a leader.
This does not mean, however, that leadership can only be an inborn trait and not something that children can learn. In fact, if there is one thing modern success stories have told us, it is that leadership is learnt. Nevertheless, the sad fact is that many leaders in the business and education community believe that not enough is being done to teach children this vital trait.
Therefore, here are some ways that you can instil leadership skills in students.
Model What You Preach
In other words, become a role model for them. Children learn from what they observe in the world around them. Talk to them about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Point out examples as they happen every day and talk about sharing leadership. Help them understand what good leadership means to you and point out the responsibility it carries.
Give Them an Opportunity
Let them be in charge. You can ask them to hand out papers or head discussions or put them in teams and encourage teamwork. According to experts, this should become part of the daily activities in your class. Not only does it help the student with the assignment learn leadership skills, but it also helps the other students learn about how to work as a cohesive team and also how to work with a leader who is also their peer.
Don’t Focus on Achievement Alone
We have seen it time and again – the only students who get attention are the high-achievers and others are only encouraged to be more like them. However, in the long run, this only harms both sets of students. The high-achievers face tremendous amounts of pressure which they frequently can’t handle. The remaining students feel as though they aren’t good enough and may end up having self-esteem issues.
However, in an achievement focused environment, children also learn the wrong ideas about leadership. What they understand is that in order to do well and to get work done, they have to do it alone. This happens because the focus is on individual achievement. Real life couldn’t be more different. Successful leaders are the ones who have ensured that they have good people supporting them. They understand that success isn’t something that they can achieve alone. But children who have been taught to value achievement alone only see the success that these people have and not how they got it.
Let Them Take Chances and Fail
That is what life is all about. You learn from your mistakes. As someone wise once said, if you never make mistakes, you won’t learn anything. Let children understand that risk-taking isn’t bad. Those who have achieved any kind of notable success in their lives have been people who took calculated risks. Playing it safe wouldn’t have got them anywhere.
While you can offer them good advice that keeps them safe, without them taking a risk they won’t know what it is like to fail. If you try to protect children from failure, you’re not boosting their self-esteem; you’re setting them up to be in situations in which they won’t know what to do when failure strikes. They don’t need you to protect them; they need to know you care and will support them through the consequences of that failure.
Teach Them Self-Sufficiency
In other words, give them space to be the leaders they can be. It is great that you offer them the opportunities that let them exercise their leadership skills. But, if you hover over them all the time, it defeats the purpose. Let them know that you’re there to support them in their struggles, successes and failures but they are the ones who have to actually undergo those states. Don’t solve their problems for them. That isn’t what makes a good leader.
Children absorb lessons from practically everything they observe. If you want to instil the right social and emotional skills in them, you need to ensure that they’re surrounded by those lessons constantly.
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