You are on page 1of 5

5 Characteristics of a good youth leader If you are thinking about getting involved as a youth worker or you are already

there, you probably feel as if you are called to be a youth worker. Just because God placed a desire to work with Christian teens on your heart does not mean that you dont need to grow as a worker. Whether youve had 10 years of youth leadership experience or are just getting started, its always good to know which areas of leadership are growth areas. Here are the five major characteristics of a great youth worker. The God-Centered Heart It probably doesnt need to be said, but if you are going to be working with Christian teens you should be a Christian yourself. This doesnt mean that you have to be the most knowledgeable Christian in the world, but you do need to have some understanding of your faith and you need to have a heart centered on God. An effective youth worker will be able to demonstrate their own relationship with God as an example for teens. It is hard to teach someone something you do not do yourself. The philosophy Do as I do, not as I say, doesnt go very far with teenagers. Devotions, daily prayer time, and daily Bible reading will help you grow in your relationship with God and provide support in working in youth leadership. The Servant Heart The servant heart is also important. Youth ministry takes a lot of work. You will most likely need to be available to help set-up, clean-up, and attend events beyond regular services. Youth pastors often need a lot of help in planning and executing youth ministry events. Without a servants heart you are not setting a Christian example to your students. Being a servant is a huge part of being a Christian. Christ was a servant to man, and He called people to be servants to one another. It does not mean you have to be a slave to ministry, but you need to come ready to help out whenever possible. Big Shoulders Adolescence is hard, and Christian teens are no different. Just because they are Christians does not mean that they do not go through trials and tribulations like everyone else. A great youth worker is there for the students. He or she has big shoulders that can handle tears, laughter, introspection, and more. As a youth worker you carry the weight of what is going on in your students lives. Youth workers need to have empathy for the students they work with. Empathy is being able to put yourself in the students shoes. You also need to have good listening skills. It is not okay to just hear what a student is saying. You should listen actively and ask questions. A lot of what teens say is between the lines. A great youth worker is available for students anytime. This does not mean sacrificing a personal life, as you need to set boundaries, but it does mean that if a student calls you in crisis at 2am, it is par for the course. Teen angst does not just happen between the hours of 9 to 5. A Sense of Responsibility and Authority Being responsible is a huge part of being an effective youth worker. You are a leader, and responsibility comes with the territory. You are responsible for certain tasks, supervision, and being an example. You need to be authoritative enough to keep students in line. Just because a teen is a Christian does not mean they make the best decisions.

As a responsible and authoritative youth worker you need to set boundaries that show there is a line between you being a students friend and leader. Certain acts require that you contact parents and pastors. Certain actions mean that you have to stand up to a teen to tell him or her she is doing wrong. A Positive Attitude There is nothing more damaging to youth ministry than a cranky leader. If you complain the entire time, your students will start to associate negative traits with the youth group and church as a whole. Even in the worst of times you need to be able to put on a calm face. Keep your focus on the good in every situation. Yes, it is hard sometimes, but as a leader you need to keep your students focused in the right direction. There is a lot of responsibility when you become a youth leader. By learning to enhance the top 5 characteristics of a great youth leader, you can become an example to the students and other leaders. Your youth group will reap the rewards as your group grows. Take the time to find areas in which you can learn and grow as a leader

Leadership doesn't recognize age or maturity. Everyone could lead but not everyone has the ability to lead well. Even at a young age, you could be a great head. The school is good training ground for you to enhance your skills. Being in the center of attention is a great attraction for most kids nowadays. This will give them great peer approval and high self-esteem. Here are a few tips on how you could be a great leader even at a young age: 1. Be self-assured with everything you do. This means that you must be able to stand up for yourself and live up to your beliefs. If you saw something not pleasing to the eyes or morals, don't be afraid to speak up. The distinct mark of leaders is their willingness to voice out regardless of what other people may think. As long as you know you are on the right side, do what you think is best. 2. Conformity is great issue in the teenage life. IT is probably one of the biggest dilemmas that teens face in this stage. You are confused on whether to conform to the trends or stand above the rest. To be a good leader. You must have a right mix of both. Follow the fad if it is something beneficial and progressive to your personality and society. However, if you feel like the trend is just a shallow, nonsense inclination, and then ignores it. You have to have reason for your actions, you know. 3. Don't be afraid to be a risk taker. If you are attracted to a certain unconventional technique, try it. The hesitations are normal but don't be too weak to not entertain the idea. You will never know how a certain new technique would go if you won't try it. 4. Don't be swayed easily by rants and negative comments of other people. Don't let this shallow people dictate how you should act. As long as you have strong belief in your works, there is no reason for you to quit. Be strong. 5. Whenever you receive compliments, take them down on a small notebook. Compile all these positive feedback of people so you could have a great motivation every time you need it. You could

look at it whenever you feel down. These are the words that you must listen and feel fro you to move forward.


Remember: leadership skills and techniques can be learned. You don't have to be a natural leader. Very few people are. Care for your team. That means knowing what matters to each member: their health, their partner, their children, their relatives, their interests, their hopes, their fears. Stay close to your team. At some point, every day, walk around the office and say "Hi" to everyone who works for you. If you're not in the office that day, call and see how people are. This gives you a chance to enquire or encourage and gives them an opportunity to raise issues or make suggestions. Meet your team. Regularly - daily, weekly or monthly, depending on your place and type of work - have meetings of all the members of the team. Keep these meetings short, focused and action-orientated. Make sure every member of the team contributes in some way and acknowledge that. Train your team. Every team member should have at least two days training a year. Newer and more senior colleagues should have more. If they don't ask to go on training sessions, suggest some suitable courses. Grow your team. Through varied experience and regular training, you should be developing each team member to be more and more confident and more skilled. Inspire your team. Consider making available a motivational quote or story every week or month [for lots of good quotes click here]. Celebrate with your team. This might be a personal event, such as a member's birthday or anniversary, or a professional occasion, such as completing a project or winning oa contract. Socialise with your team. Have lunch or an after-work drink with them, especially when a member has a birthday or there's another reason to celebrate. Set objectives for each team member. As far as possible, these objective such be SMART Specific MeasurableAchievable Resourced Timed.

Review the performance of each team member. At least once a year - at least quarterly for the first year of a new team member - have a review session where you assess performance, give feed-back and agree future objectives and training. Thank constantly. The words "Thank you" take seconds to say, but mean so much. Praise constantly. The words "Well done" take seconds to say, but will be long remembered and appreciated. Communicate constantly. Don't assume that people know what you're doing, still less what you are planning or thinking. Tell them, using all the communication tools to hand: team briefings, electronic newsletters, organisational newspapers. Eliminate. Too often we do things because they've always been done. Life changes. Consider whether you could stop doing certain things altogether. Delegate. You don't have to do everything. Develop your team members by training them to do more and trusting them to take over some of the things you've been doing. Empower. A really effective leader sets clear objectives for his team members, but leaves detailed implementation of these objectives to the discretion and judgement of individual members of the team. As Second World War U.S. General George S. Patton put it: "Don't tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results. Facilitate. A confident leader does not try to micro-manage his team, but makes it clear that, if team members need advice or assistance, he is always there to facilitate and support. Be on time. Always start meetings on time and finish them on time. Natural breaks keep people fresh. Short meetings concentrate the mind. Be seen. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. So visit each unit or department for which you are responsible on a regular basis. Don't do this unannounced - you are not out to undermine other leaders or catch out staff. So arrange with the unit leader or departmental head when you'll visit and ask him or her to walk round with you. Make time. Managers are often very busy and this can deter people from approaching you, so make time for people and be approachable. People will appreciate you taking five minutes out of your busy schedule, especially if you act on/listen to what they say. Really listen. Many of us - especially those who think they are important - don't really listen, but instead think about what they're going to say next. Give the person speaking to you your full attention and really take on board what they are saying. [For more detailed advice on listening click here] Accept honest criticism. Criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance or a stranger - but it's a powerful tool

of learning. Above all, assess criticism on merit, without regard to its originator. Think strategically. The doers cut a path through the jungle; the managers are behind them sharpening the machetes; the leaders find time to think, climb the nearest tree, and shout "Wrong jungle!" Find time to climb the trees. Have a mentor or buddy, someone doing similar work in the same or a similar organisation with whom you can regularly and frankly discuss your progress and your problems as a leader. Have a role model, someone who can inspire you to be a truly great leader. If you can't find one, study Jed Bartlet as the American President in any episode of the television series "The West Wing". Constantly revisit and review these tips. In his seminal work, "The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey puts it this way: "Sharpen the saw". Plan your succession. You won't be there forever and you may not be in control of the timing and circumstances of your departure. So start now to mentor and train at least one colleague who could take over from you.