Are you tired of ineffective leadership development? Do you want to motivate your student leaders to do more than just set up chairs and plug in the sound system? If you want to take your leadership development to the next level, here are three practical ideas:
1.Teach leadership principles
For students to develop into leaders they need to know what a leader does. Too often we give students easy tasks and by doing so, think we are teaching leadership. In reality we are teaching them to be responsible, believing that responsible students make good leaders. What they make are “leaders” easily controlled by adults.
Great student leaders think for themselves, are able to determine goals and calculate needed resources. They are able to motivate their peers by casting vision; they navigate obstacles and seek ways to improve.
As mentors we need to teach leadership principles to students so they can began to understand leadership is about skills and not genetics. Once students understand that they can learn leadership, they will jump at the chance to grow as leaders.
2.Create challenging leadership experiences
Youth workers have shared with me their frustration at developing leaders in their group. They have spoken on the subject of leadership, they have given students the opportunity to lead ministry teams but still little development takes place. The problem is students don’t care about weak leadership roles. They need a project or mission that engages their heart. This past week a friend of mine told me about the change he has seen in his students since they started raising funds for a school in Zambia. The project has engaged the hearts of students. They see the raising of funds as an opportunity to save the weakest of mankind. As they took up this challenge and have begun to seek ways to meet their goals, they quickly felt the need for greater leadership. These students are now open to learning more about the subject of leadership. As they make decisions and experience success and failure, opportunities exist for teachable moments. Students are then motivated to listen because they are on a mission to save the world. Help your students set a big, scary goal and you will capture their hearts.
By the way this is why we use mission trips to develop students into leaders.
3. Be willing to speak truth
Currently we are working with Campus Crusade to develop trainers in South America to lead LeaderTreks leadership events. They understand the content. They struggle with knowing when to step in during training and speak hard truth to participants. I am talking about having a willingness to get in someone’s face to tell them what they are doing is hurting their team. This is tough business. Many people don’t have the stomach for it, but it’s the hard work of shaping and molding a leader. I believe that this point will make or break your development of student leaders. You don’t have to be mean, but you do have to be willing to point out trouble spots so students can identify and overcome them. Fear is a powerful force in keeping us from developing leaders.
As an encouragement, in all my years of doing leadership development I can’t think of a time when a student hated me for telling them the truth about themselves. I always follow hard truth with words of encouragement or challenge. Students respond positively when they understand that you care about them.
LeaderTreks exists to help you develop students into leaders. Please let us know how we can serve you. If you have any questions please give us a call or drop us an email. We would love to help.