The push to
Be All and Do All
interferes with the ability to
Be Well and Do Well
In schools, colleges, and the workplace, there's a growing leadership and engagement crisis - one that executives and educators rank as a top concern. Parents are also understandably anxious, given the increasingly competitive, rapidly changing world in which their kids are growing up. Yet there's uncertainty about how best to equip kids with the mindset and skills they need to do well without sacrificing their ability to be well.
Research shows that embedding leadership development opportunities into kids' daily experiences equips them with the language, processes, and skills required to take the lead. This serves them well today while preparing them to engage and lead effectively through college and their future life and career. It has been further shown that these experiences are more productive, constructive, and enjoyable for parents and kids - even in the midst of facing inevitable challenges.
The Leadership Edge
Equipping kids with a
Leadership Mindset & Skill Set
Prepares them to
Lead Well, Be Well & Do Well
There's a growing consensus in business and academia that leadership is not dependent upon position, does not require charisma, is not soft stuff, and best of all, can be taught. It's true in families too. It turns out the most effective leadership development approach for parents mirrors the most effective approach for professionals - and it's one we're all familiar with.
The dynamics in all organizations, including the small, nonprofit organization we know as family, are based on the social, biological, and psychological sciences that govern all human actions and interactions. These dynamics also dovetail nicely with the stages of child development.
The way in which our family functions provides the first, most powerful model of leadership for our kids. As such, we as parents have an opportunity to be intentional about the way we lead our families, and how we teach and reinforce highly valued leadership skills.
Leadership Definitions: Consider the definitions we use with families that even the youngest of kids can grasp:
- Small l leadership: Making decisions and taking actions every day that have positive and productive outcomes
- Big L Leadership: Mobilizing yourself and/or others to pursue a worthwhile goal
Attributes of Leaders: Consider the attributes of effective leaders for which the roots are planted in childhood:
- Responsible: I know WHAT to do and I take action.
- Resilient: I know WHY I'm the one to do it and so I stay with it, even when it's hard.
- Resourceful: I know HOW to do it and how to collaborate.
At Haverford, starting in fifth grade, we use two tools that have proven to be effective in facilitating the intentional development of a leadership mindset and skill set. These foundational tools represent a synthesis of extensive research in the field.
Tool 1: The WIN Map
In order to build the Emotional Intelligence and self-directed mindset that foster leading well, being well, and doing well, it is essential for kids to be given the time, space, and guidance to tune into how they're Wired, their Interests, and how they can apply both to meet Needs in their community.
Tool 2: The START Leadership Process
The START Leadership Process is effective in facilitating both organizational and project leadership. START is a synthesis of comprehensive research organized into five steps that you can use personally, professionally, and with your family.
- S: Articulate your Strategy - Vision, Values and Goals
- T: Select Tactics to achieve the Strategy
- A: Assess progress to stay on track
- R: Establish Routines to link daily work to Tactics
- T: Embed Training to develop the skills required to complete Routines
In our leadership initiatives at Haverford, the faculty, administrators, and families articulate the definitions and behaviors of leadership in an affirmative, productive, and constructive way. Beginning in fifth grade, students use the WIN map and START process to identify their strengths, articulate their interests, and determine how the two intersect to serve needs in their own life, in their family, in their community, and beyond.
All kids are born with the capacity to engage, to innovate, and to lead. In our research and that of the scores of others, we find that the kids who fare best in preparedness and well-being have had opportunities to discover, to practice - celebrating mistakes as an essential step on the path to mastery - and to develop their leadership skills and abilities in many areas over many years.
Given the opportunity, kids learn to take the lead in small and large ways. When experiences are designed to build over time, which facilitates increasing levels of responsibility and independence, kids thrive and prosper. Intrinsically motivated and emotionally intelligent, the kids raised with this model demonstrate more meaningful, engaged behaviors at school, at home, and ultimately, at work when compared to the extrinsically motivated kids for whom behaving, performing, and achieving, and building a resume for college admissions, are the defining objectives. They experience broad success without sacrificing well-being, and they become the leaders we hoped they would be.
Save the Date:Best for Boys Speaker Series: "Achieving Success Through Failure"
Paul Assaiante, Trinity College squash coach and winningest coach in college sports history
Saturday, March 17, 9-10:30 a.m.
Bill Brady is Director of Leadership at The Haverford School. He developed and manages a pre-k-12 leadership program with both experiential and curricular components, and oversees the School's annual Joseph T. Cox Servant Leadership Symposium. Brady founded MS Leads, a conference to teach teamwork, communications, and responsibility to middle school students throughout the Philadelphia area. He is also a lead instructor for the Student Global Leadership Institute and a member of the Teacher Advisory Group for Character Lab. Brady coached college soccer for 15 years and currently leads Haverford's varsity soccer program. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Wheaton College and master's degree in coaching and athletic administration from Concordia University.
Laurie Bodine is the founder of START Leadership, an education and training company in San Francisco. She has 25 years experience working with and for Fortune 500 companies in marketing, technology development, strategy, and leadership. Laurie has served as a research and policy advisor to Stanford University's national campaign for the wellbeing of youth, Challenge Success: Championing a Broader Vision of Success for Youth and has provided pro bono leadership development for a number of non profit organizations in California. She received a B.S. in nutrition from UC Davis and an MBA from UC Irvine.
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