Are Leaders Born Or Created?

Updated: Dec 22, 2018

Outdoor and experiential education can provide excellent opportunities for youth team building and leadership development. Whether it's a simple 20-minute team activity on the sports field, a day-long collaborative biology study in nature or a week-long STEAM project focused on robotics, there are literally millions of ways to incorporate leadership training into the learning process in a natural, enjoyable and valuable way.

But Are Leaders Created?

While some people learn fast that they're instinctually well-suited to leadership, there are others who have the potential to become inspiring leaders of others; they just need an opportunity to take the lead and get a boost in their confidence, skills and abilities. It's often remarked that those who don't seek power, but find themselves in positions of leadership tend to make the best leaders. So let's dwell for a moment on one of J.K. Rowling's most famed quotes from the Harry Potter book series:

"Perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it." J.K. Rowling

In addition, there are, of course, plenty of people who prefer to avoid leadership altogether, if possible. And that's the great thing about working with people - everyone is different; everyone has their own unique talents and work preferences.

"Learning to be an effective team player is a invaluable skill to develop in preparation for our lives beyond formal education."

Just as crucial as developing leaders within our education system; we must also ensure that young people gain plenty of experience working within teams and being responsible for the completion of specific tasks. Learning to be an effective team player is a invaluable skill to develop in preparation for our lives beyond formal education. So how can this be done in an experiential learning context?

Youth Development Awards

There are lots of ways that leaders and team players can be developed through experiential education. And these skills can be put to good use in the real-world as well, by empowering young people to come together and create positive change in the local community through service learning and community partnerships.

I firmly believe one of the best ways to create leaders and team players is to encourage teens to commit to a youth development award while at school or college, like the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award (in the UK, it's just known as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award). The International Award currently has 1.3 million young people taking part, in more than 130 countries and territories across the globe.

The International Award is a great way to help youngsters find their purpose, passion and place in the world through challenge, adventure and a commitment to pass each section of the Award. The Award includes taking part in service in the community, learning a physical