Paving the Way For Future Leaders
It would be reasonable to contend that at some point in our lives, we have all been led by an inadequate leader, whether they lacked basic leadership skills or abused their position of power. However, the incompetent leadership is not at fault within the leader themselves, but through the lack of training, experience, and knowledge that it takes in order to become an exemplary leader.
As a high school student, I have annually observed situations in which club officers have failed to effectively lead, resulting in the failure of their club. Very rarely have I seen natural-born leaders who are able to lead successfully. Therefore, at such an age where maturity and a strong sense of responsibility develops, a one semester high school course in becoming an able leader should become a requirement for graduation.
Obviously, not all high school students run for club elections to showcase their leadership skills; they mainly take on the responsibility to add some weighted value to their transcripts in applying for college, or due to some other ulterior motive. Therein lies the problem. The elections are held as a mockery, transformed into popularity contests and the chosen leaders have no motivation in leading the club well. Their amateur skills then pose as a risk to their club and to others’ future leadership skills, as people tend to learn from example.
Even though there are already classes that introduce leadership concepts, such as Student Government and American Government, these classes are not sufficient. Student Government is merely optional and tend to be limited to only a minimal percentage of the student body. And although American Government is a mandatory class, leadership is not a central part of the curriculum. The fact that it is only offered to seniors is problematic because the students would have already lost the chance to run for an officer position with their knowledge of leadership, being that club elections are invariably held towards the end of the previous year.
If indeed there was a mandatory leadership-training class offered to every grade level, it would instill the basics in every high school student that every competent leader should know, leading them to use the same skills in the future. The requirement should also be that a student can only run for an officer position if they have already successfully completed the course. The leadership development in students would cause more prospective qualified leaders to confidently run for office and the student body would be more educated in voting for the leader who can best accomplish the job.
The course would have a positive long-term effect on students long after their graduation, as they would be capable of demonstrating adequate leadership skills in the workplace or anyplace where quality leadership is needed. With these qualities and capabilities groomed in students at such a critical age, it would not be at all surprising if our next generation of election candidates and voting public would be stronger and more involved than previous generations.