And the current education system isn’t helping.
“Follow Instructions” has always been the very basis of our classroom learning environment since our elementary school days. We are trained from a young age to “do as we are told”. Everything we learn in school, including every project and test, has some sort of specific rubric to follow. Even “leadership roles” at school are merely positions for students to act as mediators between students and administration, also with a specific list of roles and responsibilities.
What happens when you give complete freedom to someone who has always followed directions all their life? (And by complete freedom, I mean freedom to decide everything from purpose and direction to actions and logistics.)
You get a whole bunch of confused leaders, not sure what they are doing, and most of the time, nothing happens. Things fall through, because high schoolers have never been trained to work with absolute freedom.
We’ve been trained to avoid failure at all costs, because failure brings judgment, inadequacy, and insecurity.
Schools are afraid of failure. Schools are afraid that if they allow students with more freedom to lead, there will be inevitable failures and mishaps. And we can’t have that. We can’t afford to tarnish our reputation for the sake of practical education. Besides, failure is something you want to hide from people, because it won’t help you get into college.
Being an effective leader requires a lot more than meeting requirements. Being an effective leader requires a great deal of passion and determination, and a willingness to unapologetically pursue dreams. Being an effective leader requires the perseverance to continue even when your peers are lacking morale. Being an effective leader requires an ability to think differently than everyone else, in order to inspire and encourage people.
I wish I learned how to lead long time ago.