How will you become a young leader?

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As we approach the end of our leadership seminar and get ready to share with the class what our personal leadership styles are, it’s important to reflect on what makes us, as young people, leaders. What gives us the right to be leaders in a world where leadership means power?

Our class has experienced what it’s like to be a servant leader in the community, reflected on what leadership styles we’ve observed in our employers, and discussed how we have acted in leadership positions in our lives. Now, as some of us prepare to graduate and some of us continue into our last year of college, we must recognize the places and situations we can step up and use our leadership skills. We have the ability to lead and use our leadership skills even if we aren’t the president of an organization or in a managerial position.

© UNICEF/HQ05-0260/Pirozzi Maldives: At the start of the new school year, two girls stand in a queue at the UNICEF-assisted Qatar School on Gan Island in Laamu Atoll.

As I was browsing the Internet looking for young leaders, I came across several organizations that rely on the leadership of young people all over the world. UNICEF is an organization that advocates for children and promotes young leaders internationally to help aid in advocating for children’s rights.

“Young people make up more than half the world’s population. They are speaking out and taking active leadership roles throughout society to ensure children play a central role in building a world truly fit for children” (Unicef – Young Leaders)

If children are making a difference and standing up for their rights, how can we also stand up for what we believe in and make a difference in the world?

I believe it’s as simple as Kelly Curtis, author of Empowering Youth, says. “The way we guide young people today will ultimately determine the world’s fate – and our own. But valuing the contributions of youth to our society – viewing youth as worthy of adult respect – is a relatively new concept” (Curtis 12).

We are a in a time of our lives where we aren’t completely taken seriously and we are competing to find jobs among veterans in our field. Preparing ourselves to be rookies is a daunting task. However, if we apply the leadership skills we’ve learned in this class and stay true to our personal leadership styles, then we can succeed and inspire. We may even be able to teach older generations a thing or two.

I challenge everyone to use their leadership skills to inspire and make a difference in their lives. You don’t have to change the world single-handedly, but we’ve learned valuable lessons in this class. It’s time to stop taking the back seat and step up to make a real difference. How will you use your leadership skills?