02 April 2008

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way

I once saw the following saying posted in the faculty room of an elementary school: Somewhere in America, a future President of the United States is sitting in a classroom; let us hope she is having a nice day. When I think back to my own elementary experiences, I remember very few classmates ever mentioning that they wanted to be President (let alone girls), but there was always one---or at least somebody who had ambitions for a leadership role. According to the Washington Post, those days are gone. Many potential leaders of tomorrow are rejecting the idea.

A survey commissioned by the Girl Scouts of America included a random sample of more than 4,000 children ages 8 to 17. The youths defined leaders as people who prize collaboration, stand up for their beliefs and values, and try to improve society. It found that a majority of children and youths in the United States have little or no interest with achieving leadership roles when they become adults, ranking "being a leader" behind other goals such as "fitting in," "making a lot of money" and "helping animals or the environment."

There is further information in the article concerning some of the reasons cited by both gender and ethnic groups as to why they are either uncertain of their leadership abilities or unwilling to assume the role. If there's going to be more and more people choosing "follow" or "get out of the way," where will tomorrow's leaders come from?

1 comment:

Dr Pezz said...

I read that article as well, and the findings remind me of my own classroom. Very few of my students want the responsibility of leadership whether it's a classroom project or a school function. Most of the kids who declined leadership roles basically said they didn't want more work or they felt their work would not be valued by peers.