Is the movement in education to create “leaders” going to prepare students for the real world? If you walk through the halls of local schools or follow their social media accounts, you will see a strong emphasis placed on creating leaders. These may show up in slogans, bulletin boards, or classes, all preparing future students to be tomorrow’s leaders. Some you may have seen are: “Mirror mirror on the all, there is a leader in us all.”(a play on Snow White) “Leaders are popping up.”(popcorn bulletin board) “Growing leaders.”(flowers growing bulletin board)
What is a leader? A leader is a person who commands or leads a group, organization, or country. However, we know, being a leader does not make you good at leadership. There is a very distinct difference moving from the noun, leader, to the verb, leadership. Leadership is the practical skill of knowing how to be an effective leader of organizations, people, or country. Now, take a moment and think about a great leader. Who is the person you thought about? What qualities did they possess? A great leader is someone with a clear vision, courageous, willing to do the right thing, help others reach their goals, humility, and not afraid to hire or position people better than them in critical positions. As oxymoronic as it sounds, a great leader must be willing to follow, admit their mistakes, and press forward.
Therefore, considering the above is the leadership movement really about creating these great leaders with leadership qualities and personalities? Or, is it about making children feel they are above following someone else’s direction? This is where my concern arises. I fear that within a society where a growing number of people are finding it difficult to take orders, do their job, or follow the directions of a superior, that we are creating a new generation of citizens that will not be able to thrive in careers. And, they struggle to cope with situations where they don’t have the authority or a say in the decision making.
To me, the leadership movement, if we are going to have one, should focus on examples of great leaders. Instead of telling a child to be a leader, maybe it’s more appropriate to have them model the behaviors and actions of effective leadership. By culturing the personality, I believe we have a better opportunity to change and improve the future.