Leaders are an integral part of our society. In many elementary classrooms there is a boy or a girl line leader to lead the class to the restroom, lunch, and recess. There are even the leaders in the game Simon Says. In this game all who participate must repeat the action of the leader. As children get older leadership transforms into something more complex. Leaders don’t just lead by actions, they lead in their thoughts, ideas, and morals – but what will leadership in the future look like?
“Will this new generation of leaders be innovators or followers?” Asked Forbes Contributor, Henry Doss. The answer is simple, it lies in education. In his recent article he shares five keys to educating the next generation of leaders.
- Language – to ensure that the leaders of the future do not embrace the “status quo” they must be strong communicators. Ideally leaders will be able to solve dilemmas and convey ideas with the written and spoken word. Furthermore, they are able to communicate with grace and confidence.
- Leadership – When Doss speaks of leadership, he is not speaking of leadership in the conventional sense. He states that the leaders of tomorrow must learn how to fail before they can learn to be successful. He also states that the education of today is success-driven. Education must give students the opportunity to take on challenges, risk it all, and fail.
- Authenticity – Leaders can not be authentic without being self-aware. Change is a constant and leaders must sense when change is happening or when change is needed, and they must be able to adapt to change, and change quickly. Therefore education should cause students to be more self-aware and to be aware of change around them.
- Breadth – Today’s college experience limits what a student can study. Colleges classify areas of study into majors, and students must choose which areas they would like to focus on. The problem with this focus is that students chose a major, and after graduation it may be difficult to find a career in their major. However change is constant and what is available in today’s job field may not be available in the future.
- Resilience – As we mentioned above, not all students are able to find a career in their field of study. Likewise, after graduation. Graduates will hold many jobs often in different fields. This necessitates that leaders be resilient, and education needs to teach them to “turn on a dime.”
While these five points are written in the context of students and a younger generation, they certainly still apply to all of us. As we embrace these and many other tenets of leadership, we will be more prepared to take on any challenge, and to create a better future that we can be proud of.