A few weeks ago, I had an interesting debate over the challenges with leadership skills in our country. Sometimes it seems as if we have lost our way. There is a lot of distrust in government, education, economics, corporations, and authority, but why – perhaps the problem is a complete breakdown in discipline, the chain of command, and compounded by lack of respect for authority. My acquaintance in this dialogue seemed to believe that we are missing the core elements in leadership such as; character, vision, learned leadership competencies, and the ability to communicate and see the needed changes ahead.
Okay so, how do we fix this? Well, he suggests setting up educational leadership and followership courses for “various segments” of our society. Well, that makes sense, and I know just where to start if I might be so bold as to make a suggestion here. Can we teach them in grade school, seriously this is simple stuff, and it might even help their parents out since they lack the ability to discipline. Additionally, while on this topic, I would also worry about the indoctrination of our youth, remember the Hitler Youth? Thus, we need to be careful if we are to pull this off.
Should we start in our schools then? Well, you know, I am unsure I trust academia with organizing our youth, and young people in such a disciplined unit all on the same page, I mean I see the need, clearly, it’s needed, and yet, I’ve also watched abuses within the system which has brought us full-circle to why we need to do this in the first place right – I mean to say why do we have a breakdown in leadership now, perhaps our schools are partly to blame – yes the society as a whole and the parents too.
America seems to have lost its way a bit. Leadership is a key component, but what will those leadership skills be used for if we instruct the kids how to lead? Well, let me explain some of my own experiences. You see, when I was in school I was in the Key Club (Rotary for High School Kids) and the Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scout Aviation Explorers, and FBLA Future Business Leaders of America, Student Government, City Council for a Day, etc., so, we actually had such things.
There are places for kids and young adults to get these learned skills if they desire, most don’t. And often kids see other kids learning leadership when actually they are not as smart, qualified, or dedicated, that can be a turn off too. We must also admit that many kids abuse the responsibilities of leadership and pecking order too easily, turning off many to future followership roles. Further, I somewhat worry about how such a re-birth of learned leadership skills could set up a class system, that’s not Americana either. Okay so, still more questions than answers, so please consider all this and think about it.