Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Teen’s Guide to Leadership: 3 Steps to Make You a Great Leader

Leadership means using your knowledge and skills to gather a group of people with the aim of completing a common task. Great leadership means using your strengths and influence in a positive and worthwhile way to change a situation for the better.

One common misconception is that leaders are rich and important people with a great deal of power to control their followers into doing what needs to be done. Contrary to this belief, when leadership is used for a worthwhile cause, leaders do not need to use power to manipulate their followers. Their followers are inspired by their leader to do a good job. In addition, good leaders gain followers out of respect and their ability to lead people to work towards a particular goal. Only poor leaders need to force and manipulate people into being their followers.

Gandhi, for example, was one of the most influential leaders in modern social and political activism. Without any official power (he was an ordinary guy like you and I), he became one of the most respected spiritual and political leaders of the 20th century. Gandhi helped free the Indian people from British rule through nonviolent resistance (he didn’t force anyone to follow him; he only set a good example). Gandhi is still honoured by his people as the father of the Indian Nation.

The point here is that we can all be good leaders by setting the right example. Everyday your thoughts, feelings, attitude, and actions influence those around you. As such, it is important you influence your peers and other adults in a positive way.

What can you do today to put yourself in the position to lead others? Here are 3 POWERFUL steps you can include in your daily life to become a positive and effective leader.

1. Take responsibility for your actions: Not all of your actions are good ones. Not all of your choices and decisions are something to be proud of. That’s not the point. The real point is when you take responsibility for what you do, you gain control over your life and you learn about what went wrong. Accepting responsibility for your actions sets a good example to others and can leave you with great lessons learned.

2. Be proactive: Stop sitting and waiting around for your big break or for luck to come your way. Luck will never come your way unless you are willing to meet it half way. Make a commitment to try new things and see where that takes you. Be open-minded!

3. Engage in positive actions: Just do what’s right! If you see something wrong in your community, take steps to fix it (e.g., Too much garbage lying around? No problem! Form a group and start cleaning up. It’s as simple as that!). Sometimes, however, it can be hard to do the responsible thing when there are better activities awaiting you (e.g., your favourite TV show, hanging out with friends). Some decisions are harder than others, but do what will make you feel less guilty, less stressed, and less bad.

Taking these 3 steps will put you in a position to lead others. Commitment to these steps will also lead to a TON of other good changes in your life. I promise!

For more information on teen leadership, self-esteem, and confidence (yes, they all tie in together!), contact Teen and Youth Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic.

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