blog Leadership | 5min Read
Published on March 24, 2022
Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders – that is, only if they procrastinate! Young Leaders are not just the leaders of tomorrow – they can be the leaders of today as well. They have the passion, energy and commitment to make a difference. If the youth arise and act, they have the strength and dynamism to lead a huge transformation.
So how does one develop leadership skills and how early does the process start?
Although leadership comes naturally, it is never a bad idea to seek guidance. The right direction at the right time can make all the difference. Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. The best part about starting young is that you have the advantage of age and the benefit of fresh thoughts to guide your path.
Here are 10 ways by which you can develop leadership skills as a teen –
1. Be a Voice, Not an Echo
If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader. Great leaders do not set out to be a leader, they set out to make a difference. They do not tell you what to do – they show you how it is done. Learn to lead from the front and lead by example. Think different. Be a voice that stands out.
2. Boost Your Confidence
A bird sitting on a branch is never afraid of the branch breaking because its trust is not on the branch, but on its own wings. Trust your abilities and sharpen your skills. Never be afraid of any situation. If you are capable, no challenge can limit your success.
3. Persist with Persistence
People have great plans for success, but rarely do they have a plan for handling failure. As a leader, it is invariable to face success and failure. By bracing yourself for disappointments, you can be better prepared to handle loss and march towards success. Success is not final, neither is failure fatal. It is the courage to keep pushing on that counts.
4. Decide and abide!
It is imperative to hone your decision-making abilities. Too many choices tend to leave a person bamboozled. When the pressure of the decision rests on you, it is but natural to feel a bit overwhelmed. It is good to challenge yourself with situations. By doing so, you can weigh the pros and cons and explore the facets of the problem. This allows you to practice making informed decisions right from an early age.
Role-playing different outcomes of a fictional scenario is an exercise that involves analysis and the decision-making process. It lets you experience how choices affect your decision-making ability.
Practice confident communication. Clarity of thought results in effective communication. Effective communicators are usually great at rallying around a team. They get more work done with fewer words. Speak clearly and weigh your words. To improve your communication skills, you can proactively engage in confidence-building exercises like maintaining an assertive communications record, a daily log of assertive and effective communications you made on that day.
6. Enrol in a Leadership Development Program
A Leadership Development Program provides you with opportunities to participate in activities and workshops. It helps you learn from challenges and works at identifying your strengths and weaknesses. A good leadership development program provides you with real-world tasks that teach you evaluation, planning, strategies, work allocations and analysing results. It also gives you exposure and networks that are an invaluable advantage.
7. Find a Mentor
As a teen, you are capable of far more than you, or those around you, give you credit for. A mentor will help you discover your true potential and your capability of becoming a leader. A mentor is someone who has been down the road before and thus knows the way. They are always there to guide you, motivate you, encourage you, correct you, criticise you and cheer for you when you achieve the results. A good mentor is an invaluable asset.
8. Read Read Read
The benefits of reading are innumerable. Reading broadens the mind, stimulates thoughts and has a direct impact upon actions. As a teen leader, it is a great idea to invest in knowledge and learning. Intellectual progress is connected to success. Books like “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “Leadership & Self-Deception”, “The Making of a Leader” etc. are worth investing your time on.
9. Explore Your Limits
To push beyond boundaries you must first be aware of where the boundaries are. As a teen, you have the advantage of time and infinite energy. You can test your limits and discover your strengths. At the same time, you can also work at improving upon your shortcomings. Explore your limits, it is the key to expanding them.
10. Observe. Listen. Process. Implement
If you want to be heard, your first step is to listen. Observing and listening to others will offer you different perspectives. It gives you multiple takes to deal with situations. By gathering inputs, evaluating options, and implementing the most suitable solution you can always come out as a winner.
The path to leadership and success is long. The sooner you embark on the journey, the quicker you will reach the destination. Start young. Do something different. The dynamism of youth is a great catalyst for change. You have the potential to rock the world.
Unleash The Leader In You with YLC
Youth Lead the Change is a leadership development program created by professors of the Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School, and the Harvard School of education, and held by Harvard students. Held for students in grades 8 – 12, the program aims at empowering students and unlocking their leadership capabilities as they develop tangible solutions to global problems. Over the 7 day course, the students work in a group to understand a global issue and develop a social change project to address it. Through this program, students learn about core leadership skills such as collaboration, public speaking, time management, and self-knowledge.
The Harvard trainers also hold one-on-one sessions with students who continue to serve as mentors after the program. On finishing the program, there is an opportunity to complete mentorship for an entire year, to implement their project. Presented by The Leadership Institute at Harvard College (LIHC), this Harvard student organization aims to provide and promote leadership development opportunities across the world.