Published on July 2, 2009
Encounter the Gospel of Life The Call to Leadership Adult and Young Adult Leadership
Leadership • There are a variety of definitions of “leadership” • There are different types and styles of leadership • Youth and adults may view leadership in different ways • Leadership is a developmental process, and youth move through the process at different rates
Transactional Leadership • Values problem solving and decision making • Makes decisions in order to move forward • Uses standards and principles to make decisions • Leaders develop themselves to be better decision-makers • Takes charge and gets things done • Recognizes the importance of the product or the outcome
Transformational Leadership • Values the participation and contribution of others • Takes all viewpoints into consideration before making a decision • Considers individuals within their situation at the moment • Develops themselves to be better contributors to the group • Recognizes the importance of the process • Shares leadership responsibilities
Take a wild guess… • If the Encounter core values are… – Direct-Relational Ministry – Shared Responsibility and Empowerment – Openness to God and Holy Spirit – Commitment to Excellence – Conversion is Reflected in Daily Life • Which leadership style do you think is more in keeping with Encounter? – Transactional or transformational?
Our Role as Adult and Young Adult Leaders The Basics Stages of Leadership Development Stages of Group Development
Our role… the basics • As adult leaders our primary responsibility is the safety and well being of our teens. • Keeping that always in mind, our next job is to give as much leadership and responsibility as reasonable to our youth and young adults • To know what is reasonable, we have to know a little about youth leadership
Stages of Development • According to youth leadership experts Fertman and van Linden (1999), youth go through three basic stages of leadership development: – Awareness – Interaction – Mastery
Stages of Development: Awareness • Initial awareness of leadership potential and abilities; adolescents usually do not perceive themselves as leaders and need assistance in the beginning to identify and build upon their leadership potential
Stages of Development: Interaction • Adolescents start to recognize a more personal side to their leadership abilities; focus turns to qualities related to interacting with and respecting themselves and others
Stages of Development: Mastery • Adolescents work to influence others through application of skills and setting an example; focus is on mastering leadership skills in specific areas and activities of life
Leadership development during Encounter • Recognizing these stages of leadership development in our youth and young adults will be key during the week of Encounter. Consider… – Which youth come in self-identifying as leaders? – Which youth have the ability, but not the awareness of it? – As leaders emerge within our groups how can we provide them opportunities to succeed?
Leadership in Groups • Groups experience developmental stages just as individuals do • Each stage has challenges that need to be addressed • There are advantages and disadvantages to working in groups • Youth view leadership in a group context; therefore, group functioning and experiences are critical to their leadership development
Stages of Group Functioning • There are five basic stages to group functioning: – Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing – Transforming
Group Functioning at Encounter • You will be part of a few different groups at Encounter – Parish – Small parish group (possibly) – Work-site – Action group • EACH of these groups will move through the stages at their own pace
Group Functioning at Encounter • The groups that you are a part of will move through these stage (and possibly revisit them) during the course of the week • There is no “right” timing, but your groups may move through all of the stages as the week progresses (or only some) • The timing shown on the next few pages a rough estimate for the average group, but yours may spend more or less time in a given stage
Forming – Sunday/Monday • This first stage is where the group initially comes together • Members spend time getting to know one another • Few measurable accomplishments occur • Group members are uncertain of how to act • Time should be spent defining goals • Members need to know what their tasks are and how to do them
Storming – Monday/Tuesday • Familiarity between group members has been established • Conflict may occur • Confusion about roles and responsibilities exists among members • Group members may become defensive • Sub-groups may begin to form • Conflict should serve to help clarify goals and promote cohesion
Norming – Tuesday/Wednesday • Group becomes more organized • Roles and responsibilities are more clearly defined • Rules and relationships are established • Trust and support increase
Performing – Wednesday/Thursday • Group is more mature • Members are comfortable and know what is expected of them • Tasks are completed with focus and cooperation
Transforming – Thursday/Friday • This stage is about completion and disengagement, both from the tasks and the group members. • Individuals will be proud of having achieved much and having been part of the group. • There is mourning for the completion of the task and for the loss of the group, but this should be balanced by the excitement of moving forward into the future • How can this experience continue to form and transform you in the future?
Our Role as Adult and Young Adult Leaders Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses Effective Discussions Meaningful Leadership Goals and Expectations Adult Role Common Mistakes Youth and Adult Partnerships
Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses • When helping youth identify strengths and weaknesses, consider the following questions: – What are you good at? – What do you enjoy? What don’t you enjoy? – What can you do that you are proud of? – What do you ask others to help you with? – What can you not do that you would like to learn how to do?
Effective Discussions • For youth to have ownership in discussions and decisions, THEY need to be the ones doing most of the talking • To get discussions started or keep them going, use open-ended questions such as: – What do you think about that idea? – What do you like about that idea? – Is this something we need to do?
Meaningful Leadership • Youth want to be able to apply the skills they are learning • Youth want to feel their work has made an impact • Community involvement and service are effective ways to learn, apply, and have an impact • The youth perspective is valid and helpful to the creation of meaningful leadership experiences
Goals and Expectations • The important thing about goals and expectations is making sure that everyone in the group is helping to create them • Everyone has ownership, finds a way to compromise, and can better agree on what is best for the whole
Goals and Expectations • Ground rules: – Every idea is valid – Every person is encouraged to contribute – Every person is responsible – Use open-ended questions – Provide adequate opportunities for participation – Ask for everyone’s opinions and ideas – Make sure ideas are communicated clearly – Make sure everyone is comfortable with them – Review ideas periodically and adjust when necessary
The Adult Role • Youth need and appreciate an adult perspective • Youth want to be trusted • Youth want a chance to act on their ideas • There are situations where adults need to intervene
The Adult Role • Youth may expect… THE WORST! – Looked down on – Not respected – Not listened to • We need to exceed their expectations – Coaching – Dialoging – Connections to resources – Connections to community leaders
The Young Adult Role • Serve as a role model for the youth – Youth look up to the young adult age group – Youth will mimic your actions – Be an active and visible presence • Help facilitate and encourage group discussions – Being inclusive of all members of the group – Reach out to the loner – Everyone contributes
The Young Adult Role • Serve as a listening ear to the youth – Keep appropriate confidences of the youth – If the information causes concern, report to an adult • Accountability – Adults need to be able to count on the young adults for help in group leadership
Common Mistakes • Stereotypes and other preconceived notions often serve to keep adults from working effectively with youth • Common mistakes made by adults include: – Lacking confidence in the abilities of the youth – Trusting them too much and not helping enough
Common Mistakes • More mistakes include: – Providing information but no opportunity to use it – Treating the leadership process as something that they teach youth without realizing that youth teach them and each other – Discomfort with silence, jumping in too soon – Assuming youth may posses knowledge that they may not – Assuming youth do not possess knowledge that they may – Regarding themselves (the adults) as sole leaders of the group
Common Mistakes • How do we combat these mistakes? – Do NOT assume – Listen to the youth – Take time to get to know the youth – Trust – Allow for independence, but be willing to provide a safety net when needed – Allow youth to experience the consequences of their actions – Help youth to learn from consequences
Step In or Step Back? • Just make sure you are trusting of the youth in your group, helping them to consider a variety of options and perspectives, and allowing them to try things before assuming that they will or will not work out
Youth/Adult Partnerships • “Relationships between young people and adults are usually cast in terms of a (mentoring relationship). Mentoring implies a leader and a follower.” (Des Marais, Yang, and Farzanehkia, 2000) • “Partnerships evolve from mentoring but offer a mutually beneficial relationship for young people and adults. . . Partnerships in which young people and adults share learning and leadership allows them to become co-creators of community.” (Des Marais, Yang, and Farzanehkia, 2000)
Youth/Adult Partnerships • Youth achieve mastery, compassion, and growth when they are provided with experiences that support their development • Adults gain an improved perception of youth through first-hand interaction • Youth and adults gain increased confidence, energy, understanding, connectedness, and organizational commitment
Youth/Adult Partnerships • Organizations experience increased clarity and focus on their mission and place greater value on inclusiveness and representation • Ultimately youth and adult partnerships are learning experiences for all involved. Openness, trust, flexibility, and willingness to try new things are key to success and satisfaction
If Christ is the Good Shepherd who are we to be? Not shepherds, but sheep dogs… Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
Acknowledgements • Portions of the above are based on information gathered from the following sources… – http://pa4h.cas.psu.edu/100.htm – www.pack730.com/CubCD/scouts – www.saintjoancatholic.org
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