“We cannot always build the Future for our Youth, but we can build our Youth for the Future”
Franklin D Roosevelt
Underpinned by physical, psychological, biological, and cognitive factors, adolescence is a period of great transition. The current adolescent population counts 1.8 billion, the largest in history. This young generation is approaching adulthood in a world of globalization, technological innovation, societal shifting, political instability and economic challenges that have fundamentally transformed the landscape. In such overwhelming circumstances youth is facing unprecedented challenges. We believe that personal skills, attributes, self-knowledge, social interaction, emotional health, and personal resources are the elementary wealth of a future society where young people are the pivotal element of change. Give them the right tools and let them conquer new territories with assertiveness and clarity in goals.
A call for change is eminent here. One can no longer go about same thinking structures for depleted outcomes. The real question is how to address new challenges in progressive ways, ways that call for nurturing and empowering of young minds enabling them to flourish in confidence and creativity. As Abigail Adams puts it: “Great necessities will call forth great leaders”. The quest for leadership is crystal clear, but what is leadership?
Leadership is a set of competencies and skills that are acquired, taught, honed, and refined given the motivation and desire. Leadership is a collective activity. We are all dependent of each other, we rise and fall together: We are all accountable for what we do and what we do not do.
One may ask what are the principle traits of an up-and-coming leader.What characteristics should we instill in our young leaders? To answer this vital question we must derive insights from recent behavioral and psychological research. To cover all basis , social intelligence is at the core of essential leadership profiles. Social intelligence is the ability to form rewarding relationships with other people, an understanding of social situations ,streams, and dynamics. Young leaders should be exposed to different social encounters, and allowed to develop social perceptiveness.
As a division of social intelligence, interpersonal skills complete the frame. Interpersonal skills are a set of soft skills sharpened through active listening , conversational and speaking prowess, and personal relationships.A high level of interpersonal skill is in Conflict Management . It involves helping disagreeing parties to cooperate in a win-win outcome. These skills will be mirrored later on in workplace interactions.
Emotional intelligence comes in leadership landscape as a complement to social intelligence. It is “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. Its is about being attuned to our own emotions, considerable to others’. Emotional intelligence in fact sets the charisma in a leader.
Determination and courage to take calculated risks, stand up for believes is an added trait to a good leader. Youths should be enabled to lead and decide, as well as reap big rewads from taking calculated risks.
Moving forward is everyone’s business. Parents’ highest priority has been to over-protect their youth at the cost of challenging them or getting them outside of their comfort zone. Leadership traits should be cultivated at a young age through a collaboration of educational systems and societal positive environment.
Attention should be indeed converged to developing students’ innovation skills, talent reinforcement, and motivation to succeed. More and more attention should be given to critical thinking and problem solving, talent development, and leading by influence. Likewise, lights should be shed on students’ agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, ability to access and analyze information, competencies in effective communication, as well as curiosity and imagination.
Young generations are entitled to have vision and passion, goal clarity and bravery to attain these goals, as well as integrity of outward actions and inner values. We deeply believe in youth power as a catalyst of positive change.
“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow”