At the core of everything that I do is education. Education is my passion and whether training business professionals, teaching students or coaching parents, I always come back to my core as an educator. As an educator, I know the value of high level academics paired with powerful pedagogy. However, after having the pleasure of being mentored in my early teaching years by some awesome leadership development community workers, and by infusing it daily into my work, I know the impact that teaching leadership skills to our teens and young adults can have.
Traditional education in the Caribbean has a strong focus on academic excellence. It is what opens doors for you. It gets you into the schools you want, and paves the way towards career success. The thing is…once that door is open, it takes much more than academics to continue to drive your success and to provide the basis for a fulfilling career.
Leadership. It takes the development of your leadership skills to continue to drive your success. In the past we have romanticised the idea of there being ‘one’ leader. There is ‘one’ person in charge and then the hierarchy of individuals fall below this one person…this leader. In the 21st century this is no longer the case. Collaborative leadership and team member leadership is essential for achievement. Although traditional hierarchies will continue to exist in most companies, the role of leader and team members has changed dramatically. So we have to ask ourselves, has the role of educating individuals in leadership changed to meet these workplace changes? If individuals are not educated and trained in taking leadership initiative, will they just learn this along the way?
Leaders are made. Yes, individuals can have certain innate characteristics that contribute to them being an effective leader, but leadership is a skill. Skills can be learned and improved. This is why it is so important that we equip our children, teens and young adults with leadership education. Providing them with an avenue to explore their emotional intelligence and to develop their essential soft skills prepares them for the future. It helps them on their journey of self- awareness and equips them with the effective habits that they can adapt to whichever environment they end up learning or working in.
I don’t think there is a nation in the world that does not value leadership. The question we have to ask ourselves in the Caribbean is, are we teaching it? Are we providing our teens and young adults with the skills to meet the global leadership paradigm shift? If we aren’t, how do we begin?
I am excited to be facilitating two programs at Learn and Lead this summer to provide parents with an avenue of support. These programs focus on developing the soft skills and leadership skills of teens and young adults. Bringing Out the Leader from Within is an interactive and exciting program for teens between 14 – 18 years old. It focuses on equipping our teens with the knowledge to strengthen their leadership education journey. Personal Productive for Students is a 4 session program for students in college or university to help equip them with habits for success.
In order for our students in the Caribbean to continue to improve the way that they compete on a global level, we need to be intentional about the way we infuse leadership education in our everyday teaching and life.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.