The Later Years title
“Because they learned how to lead in their teen years, they weren’t afraid to take on more prominent leadership roles in college, at church, and, now, in their vocations.”
Why You Should
Your Teens to Take
on Leadership Roles
Connie Albers

As a woman who has served in many leadership roles, I believed it was my responsibility as a mom to prepare my children for future leadership roles God might call them to—even if it was to lead themselves. I nurtured these traits by teaching them what I learned about the ebbs and flows of leading others.

As a homeschool mom, I found many opportunities for my five children to serve in leadership roles throughout their high school years. Whether they were the captain of their sports team or directing plays and leading youth groups, those small roles gave them valuable experience. Because they learned how to lead in their teen years, they weren’t afraid to take on more prominent leadership roles in college, at church, and, now, in their vocations.

Your children are changing during their high school years. They are becoming young adults who are preparing to take their place in the world. The exciting part is that you will play an integral part in this process. With your help, they will learn to discern where they should serve and for how long. However, not all leadership roles are a good fit for your children. So, I’ve created points you might consider before allowing them to step into leadership.

Know Your Children

1. Assess their confidence levels. The idea of being a leader is scary for some children. They don’t want the pressure or spotlight placed on them, so they resist the idea of taking on a leadership role regardless of what it is. In contrast, your other children have been leading their siblings for years. Those children would probably describe themselves as born leaders. Knowing the confidence level of each child gives you insights into directing where that child should serve.

2. Consider their personalities. To ensure your children lead well, you must consider their temperaments. When you take the time to explain how people lead differently, it reduces the urge to compare themselves with others. Focusing on their strengths, gifts, and talents allows them to see how they can contribute to the leadership of a team.

Jaclyn was a bit on the shy and introverted side in high school. She didn’t like to draw attention to herself, but when she stepped onto the basketball court or soccer field, all eyes were on her. Her leadership style was to inspire her teammates to give it their best because of her example. I didn’t have to make her take on any role. Her passion for excellence and humble heart caused her to find her place in leadership throughout her high school and college years. When you invest in knowing your children, you will be more confident in making suggestions about where they should step in and serve.

3. Discern their maturity and readiness. Before encouraging your children to take on leadership roles, consider whether they are mature enough for the assignment. We don’t want our children to aspire to leadership for leadership’s sake. Leadership is more than a title. It’s a responsibility. Pushing a child before they are ready is not wise. Children need to understand leadership does not define them or make them better than those they are leading. When maturity and readiness meet opportunity, they have a better experience in a leadership role.

“Children need to understand leadership does not define them or make them better than those they are leading.”

My firstborn matured relatively early. He didn’t ask to be a leader; he was invited. Being steady and responsible came naturally to him.

On the other hand, Tyler, who was just as steady and responsible, needed more encouragement to take on leadership roles. He didn’t like the added pressure of dealing with people. He wanted to do what needed to be done and enjoy the process. Though Tyler was asked to serve in various leadership positions like his brother, he needed more time to consider the idea. Even though Paul and Tyler are different, they became leaders in their businesses and community as adults. Knowing when your children are ready to lead is vital to their future. The goal is not to make our children feel forced when they don’t feel ready.

Student soccer players
Teach Them to Consider the Pros and Cons of Each Opportunity

Our children need to understand being a leader is more than a title. A title doesn’t define us or validate our existence. Instead, leadership is an opportunity to serve others, shape a movement, or solve problems.

  • Encourage them to pray before accepting any position. This teaches your children to consider whether that’s where they should lead.
  • Have them list the pros and cons before saying yes. This skill will help them be more confident in their ability to make wise choices as adults. Focus on the difference they can make and the pitfalls they might encounter.
  • Talk about what you wished you had known before saying yes to leadership opportunities. Use your life experience to help them gain perspective. What you say will have an impact on their expectations. Focus on the difference they can make and the pitfalls they might encounter.

Here are seven reasons why your children should take on leadership roles before they graduate high school:

1. Your teens will learn communication skills.
When I wrote Parenting Beyond the Rules, communication was a key topic I covered for building stronger relationships with your teens. The advice I share in the book can be applied to leadership principles your child should develop. We tend to say what we think without thinking about what the hearer hears. As a leader, that can have disastrous results. It’s generally unintentional. Words seem to slip out before proper consideration.

Learning to communicate in a way that others can hear takes practice and skill. If we help our high school students consider the importance of their words, they will have more cooperation with those they are leading. As a leader, we want our children to press pause and think before they speak. By considering how another person thinks, your children will become more intentional about the words they use to communicate ideas.

The point of clear communication is to help others achieve a shared goal with fewer misunderstandings. Learning to communicate effectively at an early age will serve your children well in every leadership role they undertake.

2. Your teens will cultivate time management skills.
Teens are full of energy and capable of taking on many projects. Many teens believe they can do everything, and are often guilty of packing more into their schedule than they can realistically accomplish.

Taking on leadership roles is an excellent way to help your children discover a routine and pace that works for them. One of the most effective ways to learn time management is through trial and error. By teaching your children how to estimate the time required to complete a task, you help them learn to be good stewards of their time when they enter college or the marketplace.

3. Your teens will develop determination and perseverance.
One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to help them develop character qualities such as determination and perseverance. Learning how to find the inner strength to keep going when everything in them wants to quit is a skill children will be well served to learn early in life. Leadership can be challenging, especially when dealing with complainers and critics. In a culture where kids are taught to move on when things get tough, children who are determined will stand out from their peers.

One way you can help them finish well is to offer sincere praise for staying on task and remind them why they took on the role. Your encouragement goes a long way in helping them develop these traits.

4. Your teens will discover how to motivate others.
While motivated kids can move mountains, the art of motivating others takes skill. Inspiring others is an essential component of leadership. Manipulating, shaming, and driving will not only make others resent you, but these methods often don’t motivate others to work hard. When I ask teens to tell me about what motivates them, they often say they want a leader who doesn’t stand over them but works with them.

To help your teen learn how to motivate others, ask them what leadership qualities motivate them. One of the best ways to learn how to motivate others is by observing what other leaders do. When a group is motivated, they can reach their goals with greater peace and satisfaction.

5. Your teens will learn to nurture creativity in others.
The mark of a great leader is the ability to foster creativity. A leader doesn’t have to have all the answers or be the most creative person on the team. Leaders need to involve others by getting them to participate in the problem-solving process.

You can teach your children by asking them to help you solve issues that arise in your home. Another way to foster creativity is to give praise and affirmation when others develop innovative ideas. When your young leaders realize how to maximize the efforts of others, the pressure to be creative is not entirely up to them.

6. Your teens will learn how to receive negative feedback.
Show me a leader, and I’ll show you someone who has been criticized by naysayers and Monday morning quarterbacks. No one can lead without making mistakes. We are imperfect people serving with imperfect people. Somewhere along the way, your children will stumble; it will be okay. Your job is to help them understand this so they can become wiser.

Teach them how to discern what comments are accurate and what to ignore. Some of your children will handle negative feedback well, while others will be emotionally crushed. One of the hardest parts of leadership is giving their best and having others pick it apart, but your affirmation and gentle guidance will go a long way in preparing them to handle difficult criticism.

7. Your teens will develop bravery.
Unlike what many believe, the opposite of bravery is not cowardice; it’s conformity. It is common for teens and college students to feel tremendous pressure to conform, give in, or keep silent in their leadership roles. To help your children become better leaders, talk about the pressure you experience. When we focus on equipping our children to exhibit bravery, we teach them how to stand firm. They will learn to say “no” when others say “yes.” They may have to let go of an excellent idea for the health of the club or organization. Bravery is forged when your child shows up and does the next right thing.

The more your children learn about being effective leaders during high school, the quicker they adjust and move forward after graduation. Taking on leadership roles allows them to mature while developing people skills through working with others.

Having graduated all five of my children and sent them off to college, I can look back confidently, knowing they learned to be wise leaders who know how to treat others well while standing firm. If you embrace this opportunity, you will experience a level of joy, knowing your children can manage others from a position of strength and humility. Your children will learn more about themselves because they learned how to lead others. It will take time to develop effective leadership skills; they will make mistakes. But by taking on leadership roles in high school, they will be able to assume other roles later in life.


onnie Albers is a mother of five and veteran homeschool mom who has used her public relations background to help shape the homeschooling movement for twenty-seven years. She has spent much of her adult life as a homeschool mom and mompreneur with an outreach and ministry to parents through her speaking, writing, and various leadership roles. More recently Connie’s newest book, Parenting Beyond the Rules, by NavPress outlines positive approaches to parenting today’s teenagers. Her enthusiasm for helping others navigate social media led to her taking a post at Social Media Marketing World. Connie’s mission is to equip moms to live their life with confidence and joy.

Connie and her husband, Tom, have been married thirty-four years and have homeschooled their five children, all of whom continued their studies and graduated from the University of Central Florida, from the beginning.