Leadership Prerequisite: Teach 1st or 7th Graders
Before ascending to a leadership role, it might be an interesting challenge, with some interesting outcomes, if there were a requirement to teach 1st or 7th graders just for one day. Let prospective leaders take their pick—1st or 7th grade. Students at those grades are more similar than you’d think if you discount the body sizes. 1st graders are energetic learning sponges, and 7th graders are learning sponges, too, but it’s not as obvious due to a stealth mode that seems to kick in at that age. Both are sufficient challenges for a prospective new leader.
If you can plan, organize, schedule, and pull off a day’s worth of engagement with a class of students at those levels—and get things done—you’re a shoe-in for a long, productive, and creative leadership career. That’s most likely not going to happen, but the idea of what that might be like would be a good reference to have in your head when leading a meeting of your peers, or while engaging colleagues to successfully complete a project on time and well.
If you’re thinking, “Why not make this leadership requirement challenge involve nursery or kindergarten teaching?”… well, everyone knows that would be asking leaders to possess superhuman talents and energy right out of the starting blocks. Prospective leaders in tears wouldn’t be fair.