…during this election year, it’s becoming more and more apparent that we have a great lack of leadership in our country.
Sure, we have plenty of people holding leadership positions. But as I listen to speeches and soundbites on the radio, TV or internet, I often find myself wondering…what happened? It’s amazing to me how some of our leaders managed to get elected to the office they hold!
With the goal of trying to effectively educate the next generation, and without trying to advance any political agenda, may I ask a question? In this age of questionable ethics, muddled morals and wavering positions, our children are watching how our leaders behave and learning what leadership entails.
(Now, mind you, the lessons aren’t always good ones, and they are often muddled or downright bad.)
But how DO we teach good leadership skills?
What skills need to be taught – or caught – by our kids so that when they assume leadership roles in the future, they are qualified and trustworthy, creative and inspiring?
Let me suggest the following TED Talks to get the conversations – and the lessons – started!
Watch some or all of the following videos with your middle-school and older kiddos. If you’re interested in digging deeper, I’ve put together a discussion guide to use while you watch them, which you can access below.
TED Talks for Aspiring Student Leaders
Simon Sinek – Good leaders are inspirational! Learn something you might not expect from the Wright Brothers.
Drew Dudley – Are you uncomfortable with calling yourself a leader? Well, maybe you should pick up a bucket of lollipops!
Stanley McChrystal – This retired Army Brigadier General describes the journey of his understanding of leadership.
Derek Sivers – This short and amusing talk suggests a different “take” on leadership – what do you think?
Fields Wicker-Miurin – Interesting vignettes of leaders in other countries: stories of regular ol’ people and how they developed and emerged as leaders by being committed to a vision.
Suki Kim – Does this gripping and touching story teach us what to teach, or what not to teach, our future leaders?
Enjoy these talks? Then get the Guide!
Download and print out the discussion guide we created to accompany these videos here.
These questions will help you help your teen (or almost teen!) start thinking about important issues related to leadership, and begin to develop these qualities in themselves. This technique may also give them the tools they need to battle peer pressure and strengthen solid decision-making skills.
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You may also be interested in taking a look at the companion post to this: 10 TED Talks Your Teen Needs to Watch Before Graduation.
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