youth worker, youth ministry, leadership principles

Teaching Leadership Principles

By Doug Franklin February 22, 2012

Principles + Experience = Transformational Leadership is the formula we use to explain how students become leaders. We all know students need to be in leadership positions in order to learn leadership but we often forget that we need to also teach them the fundamentals of leadership. Leadership principles are the truth about how leadership works.  We teach students a set of leadership principles that when applied to any situation will help them be a successful leader. We believe that when students are given real leadership opportunities to apply these principles it becomes a part of who they are and quality leaders are developed.

Here are 10 Leadership Principles that we teach at LeaderTreks:

1.    Focus Precedes Success:
Leaders must be focused to be successful. This principle addresses maturity as a leader and as a believer.

2.    Burden + Passion + Vision = Mission:
Leaders know their mission in life. They have been through this process and live their life with a goal in mind. Students need to identify their mission to help them make future decisions.

3.    The Value of Risk Taking:

The ability to take risks is a key to being a leader. Taking risks can lead to failure, but failure leads to success. Students who understand this don’t allow their fear to keep them from taking risks.

4.    Chart the Course:
Being able to make the plans that allow you to reach your goals is an important ingredient to leadership. We want students to learn the value of making and flowing through on their plans.

5.    Navigating Obstacles:
Every leader will face obstacles as they lead. Navigation is the ability to foresee obstacles and make the changes necessary to overcome them. Student leaders need to think on their feet as they lead.

6.    Intentional Communication:
Leaders understand that their words are very powerful. They incorporate both praise and criticism in effective ways. The mark of a good student leader is one who uses their words wisely.

7.    Conflict Resolution:
Conflict is a constant struggle for leaders. Resolving conflict is an important leadership skill. We teach students not only to resolve conflict, but to prevent it when possible.

8.    Never Underestimate a Champion:
Teams need leaders who are champions. People follow a champion. Student leaders who give their all become champions for their team.

9.    Finish Strong:
Leaders see projects through to the end. Many students struggle with the ability to stay with a mission until it is completed.

10.    Leader of Leaders:
Leaders create leaders. True leaders are marked by the people they’ve developed, not the projects they’ve done. Students who learn this lesson become powerful leaders.

Remember that principles combined with experiences truly work in the leadership development process. One without the other will not be effective.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More