Sunday, November 28, 2010

Succesful Teen Leadership

Having been around teens in education and ministry these last fifteen years, I have observed a few things that make for effective leadership in the world of teenagers. Here are a few:

1. Respect - This seems to arise often when teens speak of their elected leaders or team captains. I would rank this as the most important quality teens look for in other leaders and mentors in their lives. People in general deep down inside desire to be respected. When people, particularly teens, respect EVERYONE with no strings attached, they find themselves surrounded with support and loyalty. Learn to respect EVERYONE.

2. Humility - While respect is the number one desired quality in teen leaders, in contrast, teens despise a leader who is arrogant. This quality applies for all leaders. As soon as leaders become arrogant or prideful in any manner, they start losing sight of those who have helped them become successful in the positions they hold. In other words, keeping a balance between confidence and humility helps a motivated leader keep his or her feet on the ground.

3. Energy - I often get the impression watching student sections at high school events that teens are waiting for someone to exercise some leadership to demonstrate energy and spirit. Often I find people desire a leader to have a high level of energy. Why? Energy is cyclical. If a leader has energy and shows enthusiasm, this energy motivates others.

Aspire to be a leader that others are motivated to follow. What other qualities do teens look for a leader to possess?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Makes for Effective Problem Solving?

Leaders are looked to has having the ability to solve problems and provide solution ideas when people need them. Rising to this challenge requires skills and character that enable the leader to continue forward progress for his or her team. Furthermore, problems are inevitable; they will happen!
Problems arise for there are always things out of our control such as people and circumstances. When one of these two variables intereferes with our plans, a problem occurs. The leader must demonstrate the following characteristics to be good problem solvers.
1. Outlook- Leaders must live with the attitude that problems will arise. Problems are necessary for our forward progress and personal development. A leader who does not act surprised when problems arise builds security in those trusting his or her leadership. The proper outlook eliminates a lof of the negative emotions that come from being caught off guard.
2. Honesty - Leaders cannot hide their face in the sand and expect to move their team forward. Leaders must be willing to be honest and face the reality and truth about situations. Leaders must have the character to be honest and humble to own up to the truth. This also builds security and trust in those following his or her leadership.
3. Perspective - Leaders must keep the big picture and remember the goals. Author Alfred A. Montapert wrote, "The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the success of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former." Leaders cannot let themselves get buried in the details and forget their mission.
Most importantly, don't let obstacles become brakes. Leaders must not let obstacles and problems become the means by which progress stops and the team doesn't continue. Leaders must see obstacles as opportunities and part of the process necessary for future success.