Every now and then I have to remember that the millennial generation isn’t all slackers and bums. In fact, most of the millennial generation that I know are just the reverse. Today I had the privilege of conducting a leadership workshop for 120 young women leaders from the YWCA of Canada. I have never seen a group of women who were more committed to social justice, who were more committed to changing the world.
I have always believed that the way to learn to be a leader is to be a leader. We can talk about the theory, we can share tips and hints, but in the end, the lessons can only be learned the hard way. So young leaders need to practice being leaders, by taking leadership responsibility. By learning from both success and from mistakes. By gathering feedback and by reflecting on experience, and by experimenting with our approach we build our leadership skills bit by bit. Much like Nike, leadership’s tag line must be: “just do it”.
But in order to practice leadership, our youth need the opportunity to lead. They need people and organizations to provide them with opportunities, feedback and support. So today, I challenge you. What have you done to support youth leadership? How are you, or your organization helping young women and men develop their leadership skills? After all, these are the people who will ensure that your pension gets paid.