Leadership is an important skill set for every child. This expertise nourishes character and builds the foundation for social and professional development. With society having put them down for so long, not many girls often possess the skills to be confident and grab the bull by the horns. Many school girls shy away from the spotlight and prefer to take on reserved roles, with studies showing that both girls and boys feel that boys would make for better leaders. Today, we’re here to flip the narrative with leadership training for girls that will help to enhance social skills as well as employability. Here are a few important leadership lessons in schools to help you take charge and make a difference
- Raise your hand in class
When was the last time you spoke up in class? Most girls don’t want to attract extra attention to themselves, thus the desire to let others answer questions in class. They tend to retreat into their shell and avoid uncomfortable situations. But when you do that, you let fear get the better of you and it continues to fester and build an even stronger hold over you.
So why is it important to speak up in class? Well, doing so can help you in the following ways:
- It keeps you actively engaged in the topic
- It gradually lets you work on your confidence
- It can also build up your ability to speak up in social situations as well
When left unaddressed, the fear of public speaking can cripple into adulthood. Therefore, take every opportunity to answer questions in class or demonstrate concepts to your classmates to improve your public speaking, and thereby, leadership skills.
- Don’t apologize when you talk
A lot of the time, we see many students often apologize as they talk. E.g. saying sorry multiple times, opening statements with sentences like “I’m not sure if this is accurate…” or talking in statements that sound more like questions, hence exuding uncertainty.
Saying “I’m sorry” is a natural reaction that can automatically creep into how you talk. But you want to consciously limit such phrases as they can knock your self-esteem and negatively affect others’ perceptions of you.
So you want to be more self-aware and assertive of how you talk. If you make a mistake as you’re talking and someone points that out, thank that person instead of saying sorry. Mastering language in an assertive and more confident way is one of the bare prerequisites of a good leader.
- Leap out of your comfort zone
Being a leader sometimes is all about daring to step outside of that which you’re comfortable or okay with, and taking risks that can be initially frightening. But if you are curtailed by potential criticism or fear, then you won’t have what it takes to be a good leader.
The end of your comfort zone is the start of true leadership, and here are a few ways to force yourself out of the cocoon that could be holding you back:
- Expand your social circles to include more outspoken/outgoing friends
- Try new challenges in terms of hobbies or extracurricular events
- Try out for roles in school plays and festivals
- Join a club, etc.
Take note of activities outside your comfort zone and try to take on more of these. The more you get comfortable being uncomfortable, the better a leader you’re likely to become.
- Ask for honest feedback
Feedback is important. It helps you identify what you’re good at and therefore reinforce your strengths. But even more crucially, it uncovers your vulnerabilities so that you can brush up on your weak points.
The power of constructive criticism is essential to empowering school girls to become more capable and confident leaders of tomorrow. Your close network of friends might not be the best source of feedback, because they may hide the truth to make you feel better.
So you want to get a neutral third party who’s not afraid to tell you the truth. A teacher can be an excellent person to turn to. Moreover, you want to sample the views of several others so you get 360-degree feedback that helps you grow holistically as a leader.
- Be a great listener first
Arguably the most important leadership quality for girls is listening. It’s common knowledge that good leaders are great listeners because this skill will help you to build loyalty and be more mindful of your team or audience. As a matter of fact, it forms the foundation for many other traits and expertise that make a good leader.
Here are a few tips on improving your listening to reinforce your leadership skills:
- Be an active listener. Learn to listen to others beyond what they say (body language) and without interrupting them
- Making eye contact is also key to improving trust and listening skills
- Keep an open mind and ask questions about what you’ve heard
- Work on your emotional intelligence to be more empathetic
Listening is a skill that is often overlooked by most leaders, but it’s one of the most essential prerequisites for a good leader.
- Don’t shoulder other student’s laxities
A good leader should be able to stand up for her teammates. But that doesn’t mean carrying the burden for those who are not keen to put in the work. For example, some Girl students from School tend to slack off and let others take the lead. As a leader, you may be tempted to take over duties or complete tasks on behalf of other students in your group.
But doing so will mean having to shoulder more of the workload, and could also lower respect levels among your peers. Instead of doing everyone else’s work, take charge by keeping team members on their toes or accountable. Take the lead in terms of setting deadlines, and being direct with task completion. In case of difficult students, be sure to seek assistance from a teacher.
Practice makes perfect!
Like many other skills in life, leadership skills require practice to achieve and maintain. It’s not a one-off destination that you arrive at overnight. It will require time and the constant desire and input of effort to sharpen and maintain these skills. Taking up opportunities for public speaking at school and home is a great way to keep practicing. With consistency and the desire to explore beyond the boundaries of your comfort zones, you’ll master leadership lessons that are essential for both personal and professional growth.