Looking for a Leadership Development Plan is a worthy cause because there are so few leaders today. As we look at the younger generation, it is difficult to find the leaders of tomorrow. Today s schools prepare our young people to follow: to follow their teacher, to follow their employer and to follow their leader. Following isn’t a bad thing unless everyone becomes followers.
As you look at today’s school, it is easy to discover they are not preparing your children to think and lead. Multiple-choice and true-false tests only give students an opportunity to tell back to the teacher what the teacher is thinking. More time is spent in our public & private schools to send students down the conveyor belt of education, requiring each student to do the same as the generic student. This does not train your children to think for themselves, but to learn specific facts and data. The school systems do not provide an opportunity for thinking and discussion which is absolutely necessary for future leaders. You must change our view of schools and education so we actually train your children to become strong leaders who make positive changes in our society.
To develop leaders, you must start at the beginning. Let me give you 3 steps of a leadership development plan
Step 1 – Character Building
A strong leader must be strong in character. Thus, you must begin your leadership development plan with character building. Character qualities such as integrity, work ethic, perseverance, courage, and honesty should be established as quickly as possible. When you establish perseverance and courage in a young person, he is ready to become a leader who can weather the trials ahead. Instill strong character in a young person and you will prepare them for leadership as an adult.
Step 2 – Develop a Love of Learning
It has been said by many leadership coaches to lead you must read. Reading and learning are a natural part of every leader’s life. For many teachers and home educators, this may be a new concept. It is more important to develop a love of learning than to pass the next standardized test. Do standardized tests usually develop the hate of learning.
Your students should love learning and you can help by changing your approach to teaching. Spend time reading really cool books that draw your students into the lessons of the story. Treasure Island, Anne of Green Gables and Call of the Wild are some of our favorites over the years. Use games to teach concepts instead of worksheets. Take time to explain this reason why a child is learning a concept. When given a reason why children are much more excited about what they are learning.
Henry Doherty said it best, Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.
Most of all, you need to be an example. When you love learning, your students will follow your example. It s that simple.
Step 3 – Mentoring
To become well-rounded adults who are able to lead, mentoring is the best option. Mentoring should occur in two areas: academic & real life. With academics, a mentor should take their students through a process that teaches them to learn independently.
The best way to learn independently is to read, write and discuss. Students and mentors choose a book to read. Each day they keep a reading journal about what was read. On a regular basis, mentors lead a discussion about the book they are reading. Students use their notes or reading journals to guide them in their discussion. Open-ended, Socratic discussions develop deep critical thinking skills in students. The ability to think through lessons in books prepares students to think through problems as leaders.
Real-life mentoring is also important as you raise leaders. During the teenage years, students should seek out opportunities to work with a mentor in the field of their choice. By doing so, they will learn invaluable skills in their area of interest and be more prepared for the future.
In summary, it is vital to develop strong character in children as they prepare to lead those around them. Equally important is continuous learning. A love of learning should be established early. Independent learning should continue throughout the teenage years.
Cicero stated it well. Read at every wait; read at all hours; read within leisure; read in times of labor; read as one goes in; read as one goes out. The task of the educated mind is, simply put: READ TO LEAD