As part of a military family, you know a lot about sacrifice, resilience and getting through challenging times. Your experiences have shaped you in various ways and many of those experiences have created the characteristics of a leader inside of you.
To become a good leader, you must:
- Have good communication skills. As a good leader, you must listen to the people around you and express your ideas in a concise, direct way.
- Be proactive, not reactive. A leader does not sit around and wait for crises and problems to occur. Think about potential problems before they happen and come up with strategies to address them.
- Lead through example. A good leader has to practice what he or she preaches. For example, if you want to start a recycling program, you have to recycle your own stuff first.
- Be resilient. Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from misfortune, change and failure. It's OK to get discouraged, but a resilient leader will keep going instead of becoming discouraged and giving up. Leaders keep fighting!
- Have good organization skills. You can't lead others if you can't keep your own life straight. Ask for help or get a planner because if you want your cause or ideas to get attention, you have to be organized.
- Develop conflict resolution skills. There is always going to be conflict when you are trying to organize and lead others, but a good leader knows how to resolve these conflicts in a positive way.
- Be resourceful. A good leader knows where to look for things and doesn't quit. For example, if your school needs a DJ for a dance and there's no money, you have to find a sponsor, a donation or someone willing to work for charity.
- Be dependable. A good leader doesn't miss deadlines or forget to attend meetings.
- Have courage. Being a leader, especially when you are young, can be difficult. It's easier to follow along with what everyone else is doing. But to be a leader, you must have the courage to set your own path and do what you feel is right.
- Have good ethical values. It is important to stop and ask yourself if you are making ethical choices. Good leaders don't hurt others to achieve their goals.
- Keep a positive attitude. Great leaders are people who look at challenges as opportunities to grow, change and learn from their mistakes!
- Check out your local military youth center to see if it has a Torch Club. This is a small group of kids just like you, who engage in programs and activities that focus on developing character and leadership skills while having fun.
Leaders come in many different packages, so if you don't like talking in front of large groups or organizing meetings, it doesn't mean that you don't have what it takes. Sometimes the leader is the one who shows up to every meeting and leads by example.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military life to managing their social lives, saving money and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!