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0-8 years old

  • Build strong character
  • Watch the examples of adults around you
  • Opportunities to practice their own budding decision making.

9-11 years old

  • Decide how you want to be and begin becoming that person
  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Develop your talents
  • Create something
  • Live according to your values or principles
  • Participate in a service project with a trusted adult
  • Participate in Cub Scouts or Brownies
  • Learn the language used by leaders
  • Learn how to solve problems and make decisions
  • Learn to read body language
  • Learn who you trust to do what they say
  • Learn about consequences of choices people make

12-13 years old

  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Practice leadership opportunities
  • Feedback and coaching
  • Plan and carry out an activity with friends
  • Set two personal goals and follow through on them for at least two months
  • Participate in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, set goals and follow through for meeting the requirements for rank advancement
  • Learn advanced problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Experience the consequences of forgetting important things
  • Practice problem-solving and decision-making in a group of peers and individually
  • Begin to build others trust in you that you will do what you say and follow through
  • Develop your talents, get good at something
  • Learn what good judgment is and begin to apply it
  • Learn how to communicate effectively and apply it in leadership practices
  • Follow wise counsel
  • Set a good example

14-15 years old

  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Influence peers more than you are influenced by them
  • Practice problem-solving and decision-making and talk over the results with an adult you trust
  • Find opportunities to get things done with a group of people (ask an adult to help locate these opportunities)
  • Talk confidently with adults
  • Teach a group of peers a concept or skill for 10-20 minutes
  • Learn how to delegate
  • Effectively use body language to reinforce your messages
  • Practice good judgment
  • Practice positive, uplifting, and encouraging communication. Avoid trust-corroding sarcasm.
  • Seek out and accept greater responsibilities in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts
  • Watch over younger children and uplift them
  • Ensure delegated tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.

16-17 years old

  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Influence peers more than you are influenced by them
  • Be aware of ethical and moral dilemmas and make right choices to strengthen your character
  • Stand your ground and choose not to participate if those around you choose to reject or violate correct principles or your values
  • Balance confidence and humility
  • Participate in at least two service projects
  • Lead, or aid in leading, a service project
  • Practice independent problem-solving and decision-making
  • Practice delegation
  • Demonstrate good judgment
  • Teach peers and younger children in some form of organized activity
  • Demonstrate adaptability because things rarely go according to plan
  • Exercise leadership in Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts,
  • Propose solutions to adult leaders in problem-solving
  • Help those you lead learn to govern themselves
  • Be willing to be presided over and accountable

18 - 21 years old

  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Actual leadership opportunities followed by reflection and coaching
  • Volunteer roles in leadership
  • Journal writing about experiences
  • Give a persuasive speech or talk to a group of people about a subject
  • Practice independent and interdependent problem-solving and decision-making
  • Become effective at delegation
  • Learn how to hold people accountable for their commitments and how to talk to them when they don’t follow through
  • Build competence in a professional vocation
  • Anticipate when emotions may fray and encourage as needed
  • Know human nature and how to leverage it and counter it where necessary
  • Search for correct principles and align with them
  • Influence events rather than let circumstances happen.
  • Make sound and timely decisions, taking advantage of fleeting windows of opportunity
  • Seek opportunities to lead under trying conditions
    • Learn to reason and anticipate in trying conditions
    • Learn how people tend to behave differently in trying conditions
    • Develop team spirit through shared hardship
    • Learn how to plan in unfamiliar situations
    • Counteract fear by building competence and confidence
  • Give those you lead more challenges and responsibilities as you think they can handle them, give them more when they show they are ready
  • Find ways to be in the presence of great people and learn from them

24-30 years old

  • Study leadership from the example and writings of more effective practitioners and apply what you learn
  • Learn what not to do from examples of ineffective leadership around you
  • Practice listening
  • Build trust with your team and with sponsors or organizational leaders - it goes both ways
  • Demonstrate and continue to build strong character
  • Formal refresher training and application opportunities
  • Paid roles in leadership
  • Volunteer roles in leadership
  • Ask followers to commit, and follow up to help them grow
  • Ask for more responsibility
  • Identify talents in others, pick a project team of complementary skills
  • Help others succeed
  • Look for leadership mentors, understudy your current leader
  • Ask
    • What is happening?
    • What is not happening?
    • How can I influence the action?
  • Sincerely care about those you lead, commit the time and effort to know them, understand what makes them tick, and learn what is important to them
  • Develop a high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Keep your team informed, and explain your decisions when conditions allow

30-35 years old

  • Attend Graduate school
  • Teach and coach others how to lead
  • Create a possible future in your mind’s eye that is clear, precise, vivid, then communicate that vision enthusiastically to other people
  • Validate people one-on-one
  • Know yourself and seek improvement from formal institutional learning, field experience, self-development, personal study, and professional reading
  • Study leadership from the example and writings of more effective practitioners and apply what you learn
  • Reflect often and write in a leadership journal your lessons learned as you grow in experience and capability
  • Respect people’s right to choose, avoid force or intimidation
  • Develop those you lead to improve organizational bench strength
  • Express adequate and specific appreciation

35+ years old

  • Study leadership from the example and writings of more effective practitioners and apply what you learn
  • Teach others how to develop leaders
  • Teach and coach others how to lead other leaders and coach them for improvement
  • Share what you have learned about leading people with another generation
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KW Lanham


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