Is leadership a skill that you want to build on and develop? Are you interested in how leadership will look in our rapidly globalizing world? If so, you don’t have to wait until you graduate with your college degree. You can start right now! Here are some ways to develop your leadership skills:
- Lead in Your School: You can develop strong leadership skills within your own school. School is about both head knowledge and practical application, which are both important principles of leadership. Your school is there to help you, so take advantage of it! Don’t know where to look? Just check out the posters spread throughout your school. There are countless opportunities to find your niche and develop as a leader. You could start with the most obvious and see if there are any business and/or leadership clubs to join. Through clubs like these, you can gain some great training and experience. Some organizations such as DECA* work with teens like you, offering all kinds of programs, events, and even scholarships!
Also, consider joining an intercultural/diversity club. You will have opportunities to learn about and experience other cultures, which is extremely beneficial in an increasingly globalized world. Not only will you be making new friends, you will also be creating a more globalized worldview. Or, if you are taking a language class, think about joining a language club to practice your conversational skills. It is especially beneficial to know another language in our world today, and as a leader, this is a great skill to have.
- Participate in a United Nations Program: Did you know that you can gain leadership experience from the United Nations? They offer all kinds of teen programs, such as their “Model UN Workshops.”** You’ll learn how to be a responsible leader who can influence the world for good, and you will learn how certain procedures are carried out. What better way to develop your leadership skills than by learning from a globalized program such as a Model UN?
- Get a Job: Sound boring or stereotypical? Probably, but that is because it is true! You tend to learn leadership at an accelerated pace when you gain some job experience. Of course, this job probably will not be your dream career, but no one starts leading from the top. At first, you may feel confused or overwhelmed, but eventually, you’ll be surprised at how much you have learned. Plus, when you work hard and set an example, going above and beyond what is asked of you, people notice and appreciate leadership like that. And not only will you gain very practical knowledge, but it is also likely that you will participate in a globalized work force. Getting a job and working hard in it gives you practical skills and develops you as a global leader.
- Volunteer: True leadership means being willing to get out of your comfort zone and serve. As you know, you do not develop leadership skills by simply bossing others around and watching from afar. There is a place for delegation, but the best leaders do so out of a position of humility. And through volunteering, you will have the opportunity to serve alongside of and learn from others. This helps build important leadership principles, such as experience, initiative, team-work, a learner’s attitude, and humility. So, find something you are passionate about and sign up to volunteer. Do you care about animal welfare? Help out at a local animal shelter. Want to lead the way in extinguishing poverty and hunger? Set up a food drive with a local organization. And in our globalized world, there are increasing opportunities to volunteer in a multi-cultural context. This is a fantastic way to experience culture and learn from people all over the world! Global Leadership Adventures has a multitude of programs, and you are bound to find one that matches your passion. They even have experiences that specifically focus on globalized leadership, such as their “Social Entrepreneurship Initiative” in beautiful South Africa. No matter which one you choose to volunteer with, you will have the chance to practice and develop your leadership skills.
Are you ready to develop as a leader? Show the world your initiative and dive in!
Contributed by Addie Davis
*”High School Programs.” Deca.org. Accessed March 18th, 2017. http://www.deca.org/high-school-programs/
** “Students.” Un.org. Accessed March 18th, 2017. http://www.un.org/en/sections/resources/students/index.html