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Youth Leadership

Leadership has been called the most studied and least understood topic of any in the social sciences. Leadership is the process of providing direction, energizing others, and obtaining their voluntary commitment to the leader's vision. A leader creates a vision and goals and influences others to share that vision and work toward the goals. Leaders are thus concerned with bridging about change and motivating others to support that vision to change. As scholars state, "management involves coping with complexity, while leadership is about coping with change."

Regardless of their age, leaders exercise power and effective leaders know how to use it wisely. The types of power used by a young leader reveal a great deal about why others follow that child. One of the most useful frameworks for understanding the power of leaders was developed by John French and Bertram Raven. They identified five types of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent and expert power.

As today's world pace speeds up, the leadership styles applied during the previous century, or even twenty years ago, differ substantially from the ones needed to be applied today or in 2020. To illustrate this, consider the young members of a school baseball team who if unwilling and unable to perform, the school coach will then definitely have to follow the autocratic leadership style. As long, though, as the coach applies appropriate motivation and training techniques, the young subordinates gradually become willing and able. Hence the situation is changing. This denotes that the leadership should also evolve from the autocratic towards the democratic style. In a few words the leadership style should "comply" with the evolution of the outstanding situation.

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