How our schools could help make future leaders
Are leaders born or made?”
The debate about whether great leaders are born with the qualities or the skills to become great leaders can be developed through training and experience is age-old. Truth is that some individuals inherit traits that help them succeed as leaders. At the same time, just because someone is born with leadership qualities does not necessarily mean they will eventually become a strong leader.
Recognized as one of the greatest coaches and leaders in the history of all American sports, Vince Lombardi once famously said, “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.” Time and again, we have witnessed that great leaders are shaped by the minds best fitted to prioritize developing the next generation. This is where the roles of schools come into play. The building blocks of leadership skills begin at schools through holistic learning, innovation-led curriculum, meaningful extracurricular activities, and more.
But how can schools ensure that their students evolve into the current and future leaders of today’s digitized communities?
Understand, nurture and evolve: Teachers, educators, and schools need to know their student’s personal stories, recognize strengths and vulnerability, and build deep relationships. The most successful students are shaped in schools that have the tools and mindset to develop a learning experience in which leadership is fostered, supported, empowered, and celebrated. The real journey starts with leveraging the students’ strengths and turning their weaknesses into potential, providing each and every student with ample opportunity to grow and flourish.
Leading for impact with people-centric mindset: Leadership has little to do with the leader, and more about the people one leads. At its core, leadership is about connecting with people. A great way to teach students about leadership skills is by having them perform service for their communities.
Learning how to volunteer and serve one’s own community is key to forming leadership skills. After all, supporting people at all costs is one of the core responsibilities of a leader.
Practical and holistic skill development: Communication, adaptability, and problem-solving- all are crucial character traits of good leadership. However, when it comes to developing skills, it is more effective when done using practical methods. For instance, students with poor communication skills may be encouraged to take up public speaking exercises, or students who tend to get anxious about an issue at hand can be given more real-world problems to solve. Besides, group projects can also be a great way to practice collaboration, listening, and perseverance, which are all types of leadership skills.
Schools play a gigantic role in contributing to leadership development through diverse opportunities and responsibilities. From classroom assignments to extracurricular activities, students must have the chance to lead projects, coordinate events, and collaborate with their peers on a regular basis. In Bangladesh, there are already a few schools like DPS STS School Dhaka that are fostering leadership skills in their schools through wide-ranging initiatives. With the goal of sparking communication, building networks, and empowering others, the school regularly hosts events like student-led conferences and TEDx.
It is needless to say that whether someone is born with the “special qualities” or not, to be a leader, one has to work hard to develop and refine the characteristics of the greats.
Dr Shivananda CS
The writer is Principal at Delhi Public School Dhaka
News Link: Daily Observer