Take The Lead with Aubrey Allen – You’re Never Too Young To Be A Leader
No matter what you read about leadership, one thing is evident, organizations are currently experiencing a leadership gap.
Over 80% complain of a shortage of leaders despite it being the number one area of professional development. Over 60% of current up and coming millennial leaders feel their leadership skills are not being fully developed by their employers.
This means those who want to lead in the future will have to take on the responsibility of developing these skills on their own. How soon should they start — college, high school? The sooner the better!
This is why leading leadership guru Aubrey Allen (Master of Education Oakland University) of Rochester, MI has developed a program that is really giving youth an opportunity to begin developing leadership skills in early adolescence.
She has created an online leadership program for students in grades six to 12.
When you first meet Allen she has an infectious energy and the type of soul that radiates goodness. It is easy to see why people want to emulate this natural-born leader. I had the chance to ask Allen about her program that is based on solid pedagogy and the most current educational leadership research, but most importantly, accessible through the Internet.Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh (SV): How did you get interested in youth leadership?
Aubrey Allen (AA): My interest is rooted in my desire to help kids. I was born to teach; it is what I am gifted for. Teaching and coaching at the grade school level fostered my passion to empower kids, and my interest in offering leadership opportunities to kids. When sitting through teacher leadership training I couldn’t help think, “Why don’t we offer leadership development to students?” (Writer’s Note: This inspired Allen to create an elective leadership class with the purpose of motivating grade 8 students to develop character, set goals, communicate effectively, and be inspired).
SV: Why are leadership skills so important for success?
AA: Leadership skills are the fundamentals to success and it all starts with self-awareness. I believe that once a student is self-aware of their behaviour, mindset, and work habits, then they are equipped to work on character development, effective communication, offering kindness and leading by example with confidence. The ultimate goal is to be able to build relationships and create positive experiences and leadership skills, and to do so successfully.
SV: What contributed to your success and strong leadership skills?
AA: Definitely I was blessed by having amazing parents, mentors and opportunities to develop these skills through sports. Playing college basketball solidified my leadership abilities. I learned about perseverance, mental toughness, and that it takes sacrifices and commitment to achieve goals as a team. A good leader has a positive and contagious attitude, leads by example, and is what I call long-term likeable (likeable because people are attracted to the goodness of a person).
SV: What advice do you have for parents and guardians?
AA: Believe in your children, when kids feel like they have someone who believes in them, they tend to believe in themselves. Sometimes it takes repetitive examples to understand; we all have the capacity for kindness.
Aubrey Allen Leadership empowers students through self-awareness, identifying and recognizing strengths and gifts, and by intentionally applying leadership qualities to their own lives. I love that it is an online program or tool for self-improvement that students can access at their convenience and teaches to different learning styles.
As a last note she mentions her favourite leadership quote by Randy Pausch: “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”
Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh is an award winning leadership consultant and former Director of Leadership Windsor/Essex, Principal, Chief Communications Officer and business owner with over 30 years of experience in education, administration, mentoring, consulting and community leadership. If you know a leader in the community to profile here in this column, please email.