I believe, as a school leader, my goal is to build leaders out of my students. Even at their young age, I think they’re leaders. I believe they are the leaders of our community and our city. One of the pillars of our school is “Leadership.” Our students are the next generation of leaders, and in addition to teaching them the academic skills needed to be successful, we also need to teach them leadership skills. Our motto for our network is “College or Die” and our motto for our school is “College Starts Here.” Planting this mindset of college, we must also teach them skills that help them with getting into college and being successful. Here are the seven tips I am teaching my students to build them into leaders.
Set Small Milestones – In order for you to hit your target, you have to know where to aim. I teach my students to set a small milestone. Often we set these large milestones, and we do not meet them. Setting small milestones accomplishes two goals: build small wins and start a snowball effect. Getting small wins gives you the confidence and experience to make big wins. Setting and accomplishing small wins causes a snowball effect that leads to more wins. My students set small milestones like collecting can food by Thanksgiving. They set a small milestone of having 100 cans by that time; they begin this August and are able to meet their goal.
Manage Your Time – Leader must learn how to manage their time. I teach my students that it is alright to have more than one item on their plate, but they must manage those items. I am teaching them the old 80:20 principle. I tell them to focus the majority of their time attention on 20% of the people they are working with. 80% is focused on the results they want to accomplish with their projects. I tell them they have to use 20% of their time with their fellow students but focus 80% of their time on their school work and their extracurriculars.
Remove Barriers – When working with students, I have to think about the barriers that will keep them from being leaders. Removing barriers is important because, in their leadership development, there are things that can stifle their development. Barriers can stifle creativity and innovation. I always have to remember they are students and the barriers that adult leaders can overcome is a lot more difficult for students. I have to make sure those barriers do not keep them from becoming the leaders they are destined to be.
Be Flexible – I am teaching my future leaders how to adjust their style. They will be in different rooms, and they will have to mingle with different people. They have to learn how to communicate in different rooms and communicate with different people. As leaders, they will have to learn how to manage and deal with different personalities. They have to learn as young leaders they cannot lead the same way all the time.
Have Fun – Never lose fun. Student leaders need to make sure the people they lead are always having fun.
I know, as a leader, my future leaders are watching me. They learn leadership by watching me and from others they come in contact with. In addition to these tips, also remember to model the leadership qualities you want your students to learn.