Preparing Young Students for Future Leadership

Is leadership an inherited trait or developed skill? Are people born “natural leaders” or does everyone have the potential to become a leader? There’s plenty of research out there regarding this topic, with most researchers believing that individuals can learn to lead. Some researchers have gone as far as estimating that heritability, or family-based genetics, contribute 24% to a person’s ability to occupy a leadership position; while environmental influences contribute the other 76%.

“If environmental influences contribute to the majority of a person’s leadership capability, there is great value in providing young students opportunities to develop skills associated with successful leaders”, says Dan Jaskot, one of the Empower Leadership team. “Leadership can be very abstract for young students,” adds Jaskot. “It is important to work with students to identify the tangible actions that represent leadership – being sure to highlight/reward when those actions are executed while coaching and teaching when the actions are not.”

7 Leadership Actions

At Empower Leadership, Jaskot believes in designing adventure-based Youth Development experiences that highlight the importance of these 7 Leadership Actions:

  1. Communication
  2. Relationship and Trust Development:
  3. Empathy and Respect
  4. Creative Thinking and Problem Solving
  5. Courage and Perseverance
  6. Integrity
  7. Responsibility and Accountability

“By setting up experiences and environments where students are encouraged to communicate confidently, appreciate and respect individual differences, follow rules while creatively problem solving, and owning personal actions/behaviors, we are providing a framework of skills for students to discover their true leadership potential,” states Jaskot.

The team at Empower Leadership works with different groups of people, including public, private, and alternative schools, to help them find personal empowerment through adventure challenges while overcoming emotional, social, or mental obstacles. Empower’s Founder, Joe DeRing encourages participants to push themselves outside of their comfort zone in order to transform their outlook and gain a sense of accomplishment that allows them to reach their true potential.

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