I saw a meme that pops up often with the quote, “I want every girl that is told she is bossy to instead say she is developing leadership skills”…the thing is a true leader is the furthest thing from bossy. A true leader inspires, lifts up and leads those who work with them to be successful.
In the past I had group leaders, it worked in Grade 3 because I think they are still a bit more innocent, they take their job seriously and those in the table took it seriously as well. In grade 6 there is a larger degree of class system setting up in the social structure. An appointed leader is less likely to be successful because there are so many more parts to the puzzle.
I have a great group of kids this year and many capable leaders, but they do need the same guidance on what being a good leader looks like that most adults still need (this one included).
So my thoughts are pretty simple
- A leader leads by example– Asking the members of the group to work hard but then sitting back on the couch and letting them do everything for you is just not going to fly. If you want people to work hard don’t give them a reason to question if you do.
- A leader builds up those around them– The other day a few of the kids were working on a project and I walked over questioning why one was giving out what looked like orders. They both explained that since one was the better artist and that portion required illustration that they were using their talents and the partner was going to write. Both building each other up with compliments of their strengths.
- A leader isn’t always the person that asks for it, but sometimes it is– People will surprise us sometimes. The quiet kid in the corner that never volunteers to be captain might just be shy. The loud kid that always volunteers may have the qualities of a great leader and just needs them channelled properly. In the end the moral is don’t judge based on just your perception. Everyone deserves a chance to build their leadership muscles.
Leadership like so many skills goes so much further than school. This life skill is important to start developing at a young age but equally as important is pointing out that Bossy does not equal Leader. The common adult answer “because I said so” or “because I am in charge” doesn’t work for adults so why should it work for kids?
So many misunderstand the mantle of leadership, my goal in the new year is to help my students (and myself) realize that leadership is so much more than being “in charge” Leadership is about building strong bridges, strong foundations for others to build on. Being Bossy and pushing others around because you can does nothing to build that strong foundation.
Funny what a silly little meme can make you think about.