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Leadership is the act of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. It might also mean helping others, including themselves, to do the right thing. Leaders set the pace, direction, inspire, and motivate others to do the right thing. What is leadership development in youth? It is the process that prepares a young person to meet the challenges of adolescence and adulthood and achieve their full potential. Leadership development is mentoring, guiding, and coaching a youth to be prepared for future roles or events which might need their leadership skill and experience. Leadership is an important virtue and skill a youth must seek to acquire. Learning this skill will expose them early to understand what a great leader looks like and make a lousy leader.
Youth development can be achieved through activities and experiences that help develop mental strength, physical skills, and social, ethical, and emotional competence. According to Wikipedia, youth leadership is a theory of youth development in which young people gain the skills and knowledge necessary to lead civic engagement, education reform, and community organizing activities. In the make-up of the world population today, the age range for youth has the highest population. This means that the youth can make things happen independently even without the generation’s support before them. That is why youth leadership is critical in all sectors.
Youths are the leaders of tomorrow, and whatever things they learn now, they will implement when they become leaders tomorrow. In politics, the youths can make a significant impact on today’s world. Creating a leadership development scheme for youths is like investing in the future because it offers them the opportunity to develop the skills they need to move up in their careers and all areas of their life. It is essential to note that academic excellence is different from having a good leadership mentality. Youth might be sound academically and be a lousy boss. Studies show that out of 100% of first-class students from college and universities do not have the qualities to make a good leader.
Areas That Shape Up A Good Youth Leader
Personal identity: Your identity is who you are. It is what people know you for. To be a good youth leader, your identity speaks a lot. Your relationship with your colleagues, peers, and the community at large is significant. Your awareness of happenings in the community is equally essential because your awareness in society will prompt you to take necessary steps that benefit everyone. A lousy personality can mean a bad leader.
We have had situations whereby people with apparent personality, interrelationship skills, and other bad qualities are elected into individual posts. This is inevitable as most people prioritize academic performance (Soundness, technical know-how, and effectiveness) over good leadership skills. A good leader must be knowledgeable, but they must have other skills as well.
Communication Skills: This is not about how you interact in the community alone; it also means how creative you are getting people to work, motivating them in their downtimes, and words of appreciation at every necessary time. As a youth, you know what motivates people to work more; you understand the emotional display that prompts people to do more and achieve an efficient result. Communication is not only in words; actions are also a way to communicate. A youth leader must have good communication skills in and around the workspace. You should engage them in talks that are outside the business but are related to their personal development.
Professionalism: In one of the points above, it was stressed that a leader must be knowledgeable. Being tactful, reasonable, understanding, having deep technical know-how, taking appropriate disciplinary actions will make an excellent and professional leader. When a bright employee is employed in the organization and seems to know more than you in the field, a professional leader doesn’t shut the door against them. Acknowledging their ideas doesn’t make you lose anything, but you can learn new things from them. In most cases, when such things happen, most leaders see them as rivals who are not supposed to be.
Teamwork ability: Teamwork is essential if you all are working together to achieve a common goal. It cuts across respecting everyone under you to the least essential staff, giving a listening ear to their ideas and complaints, and motivating and creating a competition-free environment for the workers.
Courage: A good youth leader must demonstrate courage even in the face of fear and uncertainty.
Taking Responsibility: Taking responsibility as a leader is one of the essential things that a leader does to gain more respect from the followers and seniors in the organization. A youth leader must learn to accept failures and move on. A good leader does not personalize success just because he is the head; he gives the team credit and might even make mention or make recommendations for the staff he knows are ready for a more significant challenge in their career. When a leader shows responsibility by attributing success to others, it boosts teamwork and efficiency.
Why Is Youth Leadership Development Important
- Youth leadership development helps the youth to aspire to attain a greater height in their career. It exposes them to the labor market early enough and gives them insight. It helps the youth to develop ambition and inspires their vision for the future.
- Adults do not have much free time, unlike younger people, so it helps develop promising visions in youth so that when the adults do not have the strength again, the youths can carry on with the idea and philosophy.
- Youth leadership development helps in reducing youth failure in the community. It further reduces and works to correct the negative stereotypes created by selfish interests and personal sentiments by adult leaders.
- Youth leadership development helps the youth to achieve their full potential. It creates a great connection between the now and the future. With an adequate youth development scheme, it is easy to plan for the future.
- It helps to develop competence among youths. Youths are full of potential, and harnessing it early will make enhance their problem-solving skills.
Traits to watch out for in a bad youth leader
Selfishness: When you see a leader who only cares about themself, it is a trait of a bad leader. Such leaders only embrace success and even attribute it to themselves but neglect the team and say words that are not encouraging. A great youth leader takes responsibility for whatever happens in the team and seeks to attain more success in the future.
Fear of competition: A good youth leader doesn’t see a bright employee or staff under him as a rival. Leaders are meant to empower and motivate others to achieve their full potential. The value of a leader can only be judged by how impactful they have been. When a leader fears that their position is under threat just because people are evolving and are getting better will not be a leader for long. A bad leader is always met with a fight, resentment, and sabotage.
Unwillingness to help others: As rightly said above, a leader’s success can only be measured by how impactful they have been and what heights they have helped people gain. A good youth leader wants to empower others by giving them advice, monetary help when necessary. Helping others as a leader is very important.
Disloyalty and Dishonesty: A disloyal leader will find it very hard to work with people. A disloyal leader has nothing to offer because whatever goal the team is building can be destroyed by his disloyal acts in a matter of seconds. A disloyal and dishonest leader cannot bring a team together.
Note that a leader can tear apart the team if they are too authoritative. A leader who leads by fear cannot lead for long.
Are you looking to be inspired to become a great leader and be prepared for future leadership roles? You are at the right place. The Black sheep community is an online platform for future thought leaders. We develop their wisdom and put it into practice by making assignments and question series.