nexus point | Leadership Development ~ Talent Management ~ Realising Potential

Students as Leaders

COACHING FOR STUDENTS – CREATING THE LEADERS OF THE FUTURE, NOW.

WHO ARE THEY LEARNING THEIR LEADERSHIP MODEL FROM?

A general decline of people getting involved as leaders in their communities has been observed.  It has been largely attributed to the view that today’s youth have of what it is to be a leader (Dempster and Lizio 2008).  This begs an interesting question: Who is responsible for the portrayal of leadership that our young people are perceiving, experiencing, and being impacted by?  Maybe there is more at stake here than just our own ability to lead, manage, and teach in our organisations.  If we are not responsible for who we are as leaders and how that is perceived, we may well be directly causing this lack of leadership in our young generations.  As educators, we have an opportunity to make a difference in this area.

TRAINING STUDENTS IN LEADERSHIP AS A QUALITY, NOT JUST A POSITION!

Most schools have leadership positions and opportunities for their students.  But how many of them are sufficiently equipped to train them in the distinctions of leadership, let alone bring this training to each and every student?  While there may not be scope in the present curricula to address this directly, the characteristics, attributes and practices of leadership can at least be taught by example when the teaching staff embody and espouse these traits.  More and more, our teaching staff are being required to creatively draw upon and synthesise diverse learning disciplines that naturally lend themselves as vehicles to train and develop our students in what it takes to be a leader.  Given that the teaching staff are the primary contact point and point of influence for our students (Shann 1998), they are the ideal people to be involved with and to deliver this training.

BLENDING LEADERSHIP TRAINING INTO STUDENT EDUCATION

Classroom activities and school-based projects are ideal vehicles for this training, and can use the same basic principles as those used by the school executives.  Such projects would tap into what’s important to the students.  Teachers would work with the students to create a vision and a context for the course of action, teach them how to plan, how to consider contingencies, to identify resources needed, to design and work to timelines, to make requests, to extend themselves, to revel in the process, and to acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments (Robert 1997, Stephenson 2000).  This process also has the teaching staff engaged with the organic nature of this type of work; paradoxically both leading the work and being inside it with their students.  By its very nature, this makes for a dynamic and inspiring study and growth environment for all involved in the process.

Simply training and developing our students in what it is to be a leader, and being a living demonstration of that ourselves can directly impact this trend, and alter the paradigm in which the nature of leadership is viewed.  This training would provide skills that are a match for the challenges that our society is facing (Hames 2007).  It would contribute to equipping our next generation to deal powerfully and effectively with the challenges of life in these extraordinary times.

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