There is a high rise in the need for developing leaders for society. While it is the parents and the community job to develop leadership skills in children, having a formal leadership education in schools is essential. The school environment is different, and sometimes a traditional setting is the best way for children to learn – whether it is face to face or online.
What does a leader mean?
A leader is “the one in the charge, the person who convinces other people to follow. A great leader inspires confidence in other people and moves them to action.” (Vocabulary), someone that can guide people through their needs.
Thus, a leader needs to have the skills to respond to others needs. Personal and interpersonal skills are both essential traits a leader can develop. Leaders continuously learn throughout their lives. You can only be a good leader if you are confident with what you transmit and resonate with being there and guiding others’ paths.
School is one central place where a person discovers and nurtures his leadership traits.
The importance of having leadership skills
For students, who feel they are born leaders, learning in-depth about leadership from a formal course, is essential to make them realise if this is what they want. Afterwards, using their advanced leadership skills in different environments will help them see how they act.
Leadership skills are made of a large array, including social skills, self-confidence, and listening skills. All of the above combined make a great leader, one that is ready to form some other great leaders.
How to build leadership skills in high school students?
Schools everywhere should offer this opportunity, and we believe developing leadership skills or nurturing them is no better than on the field.
Schools can help build leadership skills in students through:
1. Help students face different situations where they must take charge.
This can be done in different school team projects. being a part of a team is always helpful and can teach you so many things about your boundaries.
2. Create workshops where everyone gets to lead a project.
3. Role-playing activities and other leadership activities.
4. Local community involvement.
Practising leadership skills in high school prepares children for successful adult life, ready to take on responsibilities.
Leadership skills are about leading others and also taking charge of your life.
Teachers should find ways to show students they can be good at something and succeed in following through with tasks. When teaching leadership in students, you must develop the plans together, show them they have a say in this and motivate them to have courage. Everything is possible if you dare to try.
Characteristics to build in a school student to become a good leader
First, teachers should build confidence in their students. This will help them take on responsibilities and become true leaders. It begins with having faith and trusting in yourself, making it easier for others to trust in you.
We are proactive, acting with initiative and independence, persist when challenged, with hope and adapt in the face of adversity and capitalise on changing circumstances (personal, professional, social, cultural, geographical). (Spark School)
3. Emotional control
Being emotional is a characteristic we all have. However, being able to control your emotions and not let yourself become overwhelmed by them is something we have to learn.
It is an essential trait in a leader as it helps students come up with ideas that support their community. And this is how new and good ideas are born – creativity and the ability to come out of a challenging situation is what leadership should be about. Conquering obstacles and not putting yourself down by the unpredictability and harsh times is a great way to improve and develop your leadership traits.
Taking on responsibility for your actions and for your team actions is what a true leader does. “Leadership is responsibility.”(Forbes)
A leader does not mean giving orders but rather listening and communicating. Listening is an essential path in each leaders development, and it is an excellent opportunity to grow. Being able to see through the ideas you already have in your mind, staying flexible and open to new ideas means just as much as being a leader as taking decisions.
7. Critical thinking
We ask questions, analyse, evaluate and understand before forming opinions in order to solve problems and assess performance and contribution. We reflect on our paradigms and develop effective ones. (Spark School)
8. Social skills
Social skills like courage, kindness, compassion, empathy are all important when being a leader.
9. Reasoning skills
The importance of high school leadership programs
Leadership programs are essential for every high school student. The reason behind this is that they help students grow into independent individuals, help them find their path in life, help them discover the importance of self-esteem and respect towards others and see how life directly connects with all your beliefs and actions.
A leadership program is a great way to increase students’ confidence and show them that there is no such thing as perfection. Being a good leader does not mean you have to be perfect. Learning from mistakes and growing is what a good leader is all about. A leadership program helps students accept real responsibility and be accountable for their actions. This is what makes us grow and learn.
Moreover, any leadership program the high school offers can help students in their university application later on. Their community involvement, social development, and group sessions where each can make decisions can prepare students for the future.
Spark School view
We support our students find their voices and develop their leadership skills both through the “Leader in Me” program and through hands-on projects where they take charge. More than translating the principles of the “Leader in Me” into real life, they can take part in IDEAS Student Societies: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, and Service.
We show them that we respect and trust their decision. Our students learn to take responsibility for their actions and learn from failures and success alike. We are there and encourage them to take on leadership roles and lead their learning.
The student programs that help them get involved hands-on are the ones that prepare and develop their leadership skills. With or without a specific leadership program, a simple volunteer program, an internship, a club where the student is part of, a sports team, all of these can help students develop their leadership traits.
More than ever, actively involving students in decision-making, social gatherings, and community service is what they need to see they are trusted and can become the leaders they want to be.