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 be a good leader, you must:
- Communicate effectively. 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. Anticipate problems before they happen and come up with strategies to address them.
- Lead by example. A good leader has to practice what he or she preaches. For example, if you want to run the student government, you have to show people that you can resolve conflict and speak well in front of others.
- Be resilient. Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from misfortune, change, and failure. It's okay to get upset, but resilient leaders keep going instead of getting discouraged and giving up.
- Be organized. 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'll always be conflict when you're 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 raise the money somehow or 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 good ethics. It's important to stop and ask yourself if you're making ethical choices. Strong ethics prevent leaders from hurting others to achieve their goals.
- Have a vision. Being a leader implies that you're leading others towards a goal. Know where you're going, plan the route to get there, and anticipate obstacles or challenges along the way.
- Keep a positive attitude. Great leaders look at challenges as opportunities to grow, change, and learn from their mistakes rather than seeing themselves as victims of circumstance.
Leaders come in many different packages, so if you don't like talking in front of large groups or organizing others, 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. Other times being a leader might mean writing a letter or advocating for a cause in a quiet way.
For more information and resources to help military youth and teens navigate everything from the unique challenges of a mobile military lifestyle to managing their social lives, saving money, and going green, visit Military Youth on the Move!