Leadership begins at school – and at Scouts

Nobody really knows how to teach leadership. Like entrepreneurship, intelligence, morality and other ill-defined constructs that resemble fanciful delusions when authors indulge in verbose and convoluted idealism, if you can’t define it, you won’t be able to figure out how to teach it. But you can still notice what works.

Apparently, the British body, the Institute of Leadership and Management did some research amongst business owners and managers and found out a few interesting trends:

  • School leaders make social leaders
    4/10 were school prefects, 20% captained a sporting team and 9% were school captains.
  • Scouts make great leaders
    A third of men and 42% of women had been Scouts or Guides.
  • Leaders play sport
    Almost 70% played sport for their school team.
  • Music attracts leaders
    16% were in the choir and 10% in the orchestra.

While it’s nice to know that business leaders were usually school leaders and active in extra-curricular activities, a third of business leaders surveyed regard school leadership positions as the most important indicator of a good future leader.

While education is nice, academic qualifications aren’t the most important thing.

A third said that academic performance was the most overrated indicator of a good leader.

Evidently, teamwork, ambition, goal setting and the other attributes of leadership are acquired through what you do while you’re going through school rather than what you do in school… It’s a bit of a worry with co-curricular involvement – especially scouting – dropping so dramatically.

While organising teams in World of Warcraft probably develops similar skills in the virtual world, to me I’m still glad that I was able to figure out how to get myself (and my patrol) lost in the bush, learnt to deal with a coxen who couldn’t steer an eight straight, and was forced to act like a role model as a school prefect.