Search form

Section 7. Encouraging Leadership Development Across the Life Span

Learn how to encourage people to take leadership positions and provide training, which can bring them into leadership within the community efforts.

 

  • Who are potential leaders?

  • Why look for and encourage potential leaders?

  • What is leadership development across the life span?

  • What are general guidelines for encouraging leadership development across the life span?

There are many opportunities for leadership and the development of leadership capacity in a person's life. Some become leaders early -- eighth grade class president, general instigator of neighborhood games and mischief, captain of the high school basketball team. A few of these may continue on to become the movers and shakers of their generation , but many may never take leadership positions or act as leaders again. Others develop into leadership more slowly, taking what we might consider the "normal" route: higher education, a succession of increasingly responsible jobs and experiences, ending in a formal leadership position (vice president or CEO of a company, director of a health or human service organization, school principal.)

Many people are late bloomers, finding themselves as leaders much later in life , perhaps even in old age. A large number never assume leadership at all, except perhaps briefly in informal situations (choosing teams for softball, finding the path when everyone's lost in the woods, coming up with the solution that saves the contract ). Some are put in leadership positions (teacher, coach), but vary in how well they carry out their charge. The variations are endless, just as the variations in individuals are endless.

Good leaders are always needed. They make things happen on every level from families to national governments. While some people may have more leadership potential than others, very few can develop as leaders without experience and support. This section discusses how leadership can be encouraged at different periods in people's lives.

Who are potential leaders?

If you've been reading Chapter 13 all the way through, you're probably tired by now of hearing that very few people are born leaders...but it's true. Most leaders become so by learning how to lead, often painfully and over a long period of time. Many don't even think of themselves as leaders, but simply do what seems right, and others follow. Many others only lead in specific situations, or only very few times in their lives.

A great number of people, probably the vast majority, never become leaders at all. A life of obedience to authority, a need to conform, fear of risk, or a wish to avoid responsibility may cut some off from the possibility of leadership. Others may simply never see the opportunity, may feel they don't have the skills, or may be quiet and shy and not see themselves as "the leader type."

This section assumes that nearly everyone is capable of being a leader at some time and place in her life. That doesn't mean that everyone will assume a leadership position, but merely that the possibility is there. Potential leaders are everywhere, although their moment may not come for a long time. For that reason, it makes sense to assume that everyone needs to develop leadership skills, as well as the confidence and ability to use them when that moment comes.

At the same time, it's important to look for those who have "natural" leadership skills: good communicators, initiators (or instigators), reasonable risk takers, serious listeners, people who see beyond the immediate horizon. These folks are especially in need of cultivation, because many of them will be thrust into leadership positions whether or not they want to be. They need to be ready.

Why look for and encourage potential leaders?

Almost everything significant that happens in the world starts with a leader or a group of leaders who care enough about something to organize and get others moving toward a goal. The goal may or may not be admirable -- Martin Luther King galvanized the Civil Rights Movement; Hitler was a genius at mobilizing Germans to the wrong ends -- but it is unlikely to be realized without a leader to steer others toward it.

Not all leaders are needed for lofty goals, however. Sometimes a person with the right combination of characteristics is in the right place at the right time: to short-circuit panic and help people find their way out of a burning building, for instance, or to buoy up spirits or find the right strategy in the midst of an exhausting and frustrating advocacy campaign. There are times when 30 seconds of leadership is just as important as the months or years that we usually picture.

During the War of 1812, an American invasion of Canada was stymied in a few minutes by one ordinary man. At the battle of Queenston Heights in Ontario, the defending British commander, General Brock, was killed early in the fighting. The British line wavered, but a local militia officer, a young lawyer named McDonald, rallied the troops with a fiery speech and led them forward. Although McDonald, too, fell in the battle, the Americans were defeated because of his action. Had it not been for him, and his half hour or less of leadership, history might be considerably different.

Nor does leadership have to be dramatic. A respected high school athlete may lead his friends by his example of not drinking or of doing his homework and asking good questions in class. A senior citizen, by convincing her friends to form a walking group, may lengthen and improve all their lives. Someone who writes two or three well-reasoned letters to the Editor may start to be seen as a community spokesperson .

Communities, advocacy efforts, and grass roots and community-based organizations need these people, just as the larger society needs the Martin Luther Kings. They make positive growth and change possible, and improve the quality of life for everyone. But they don't come out of nowhere: the right people are much more likely to step up as leaders when they've had some experiences that make them feel they're capable.

Leadership development across the life span

It's never too early to start helping people understand leadership and their own potential for it. Any time -- both any time in a person's life, and any particular experience or situation -- is an appropriate time to address and encourage leadership development. An individual's personal and cognitive (thinking) development, however, have a lot to do with what kinds of experiences will be significant for him. As you consider leadership development at different ages and stages of people's lives , it's important to think about what's appropriate both to what they can understand and where they are in their lives' journeys.

In this part of the section, we'll discuss leadership at different stages of people's lives and look at some ways to encourage leadership development at each of those stages.

Childhood

Among young children, there is often competition for leadership -- to be a team captain (and get to pick the other players), to be first to do something, to walk at the head of the line. For kids, however, leadership usually means little but privilege or attention, without any accompanying responsibility. (There are those for whom this concept extends into adulthood.) Nonetheless, you can still work on leadership skills with young children, using examples and experiences that are appropriate to the development of their logical, interpersonal, and moral reasoning.

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

  • Sports and games. For pre-teen children, leadership possibilities often arise in sports and games. Some kids seem to know instinctively how to lead, while others, who may be more talented, are concerned only with their own performance and with gaining recognition for it. By praising the child who runs over to offer encouragement to the goalie who's just been scored on, and who takes responsibility for her own shortcomings and works to correct them -- or by suggesting she'd be a good captain -- we can begin to make clear what kind of behavior defines a leader.
  • School, camp, and other institutional situations. In school, camp, or other situations where projects and meetings are the norm, we can give each child the opportunity to lead a different activity or gathering. As children get older, they may be able to assume more and more of the responsibilities of such leadership, such as actually planning the activity, or helping to set the agenda for a meeting.
  • Community projects. Encouraging children to take on community projects, or to try to correct problems in appropriate ways, is another way of fostering leadership development. Kids can take leadership roles in projects as diverse as cleaning up a vacant lot and conducting a community advocacy campaign.

Two Massachusetts 11-year-olds initiated and successfully carried out a campaign to eliminate smoking in town buildings and restaurants. They wrote and circulated a petition, rallied supporters, and ultimately brought their request to the City Council, which passed a smoking ban. The two girls were quoted in the paper as saying that they didn't think what they'd accomplished was any big deal : they'd simply seen an issue that was important to them, and done something about it.

In all of these cases, it's important to help kids learn to plan so that they have a chance of success. We can also point out much of the process and the idea of good leadership, emphasizing some of its characteristics as they come up: service, responsibility , listening, setting an example, including everyone, trying to help everyone do his best, sharing power, keeping everyone moving toward the goal, etc.

We can also leave kids alone to work out solutions to their own problems a lot of the time. Constantly being bailed out by adults is not conducive to the development of leadership abilities. Perhaps most important, we can demonstrate good leadership in dealings with young children, by treating them with respect and acknowledging their abilities while still providing a structure in which they can operate safely .

Adolescents

Working with adolescents is complicated. Most are still children trapped in adult bodies. They're totally confused about which world they ought to be in (although they think they know), and the fact that they're often treated like children but expected to behave like adults does little to help resolve the issue. They're herd animals who insist, in unison, that they're totally different from one another, even as they struggle not to be seen as different by their peers. They're tremendously self-centered, and they sleep too much. Despite -- or because of -- all this, they have some wonderful characteristics that make this a prime time of life for leadership development.

  • They're idealistic. The concept of fairness, although not always clearly understood , is uppermost in their minds, and they're usually ready to go to the mat for what they care about. While this can be frustrating to the adults around them, it is, in fact, an admirable trait, and one that can be used to help them learn to think as leaders.
  • They're tireless. Try to keep up with 16-year-olds doing anything. They have boundless energy when they're engaged.
  • They're enthusiastic. If they find the right thing to get involved in, they'll give it their all, and pull in their friends as well.
  • They don't have enough experience to assume they can't do something. This may sound presumptuous, but it's not meant to be. Starting with the assumption that you can succeed at something is half the battle. There are certainly kids who've already been beaten down to the point where they don't see themselves as capable of much of anything, but there are many more who just don't see that as a problem.
  • They work cheap. What most adolescents crave are other adolescents and food. If you provide those, you can keep them interested.

Given these characteristics, how can you introduce adolescents to leadership?

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

  • Athletics. Athletic teams provide an outlet for some, but by adolescence, athletic ability becomes much more necessary for leadership in this area. For those who are talented, sports can provide a way to demonstrate and test leadership.

Since athletics is often what people think of when they envision springboards for adolescent leadership development, it is worth some attention here. It is a platitude that sports creates leaders. It is also a platitude that sports creates -- or attracts -- and encourages insensitive, hard-drinking, sexist, intolerant bullies. Both stereotypes have some truth to them. Much depends on the atmosphere created by coaches and communities .

If the leadership that adolescent athletes see is based on core values -- hard work, respect, tolerance, honesty, doing one's best -- and if it is clear that the "jock" stereotype of behavior is unacceptable, the adolescents are likely to absorb those core values. If the leadership they see -- from coaches, team captains, parents, and others -- is based on winning at any cost, on their unacceptable behavior, being ignored because they're athletes, and on being macho (regardless of their gender), then those are the values they are likely to absorb.

The positive lessons of athletics -- working hard to attain a goal, always putting out your best effort, learning that you can accomplish more than you expected, teamwork, appreciation of others' abilities -- can, and do, contribute to leadership development in both sexes. There are abusive coaches and communities with questionable values in both men's and women's sports. It is up to parents and others who have close contact with adolescents, and to communities, to ensure that sports do provide opportunities for the development of good leaders. It takes a village to raise a child, and to help that child learn to become a leader.

For the vast majority of teens who aren't athletically gifted, there are many other outlets for leadership development.

  • Music and theater. Musical and theater organizations, within and out of school, can help adolescents overcome shyness and learn communication and technical skills, and even give them opportunities to write, direct, stage, or design performances. Music and theater, whether you're involved as a performer, a technician, or as part of the stage crew also breed an intense sense of teamwork and community, and an understanding of how everyone's contribution fits into the success of the whole.
  • Youth groups and clubs. Church and community youth groups and clubs connected to community organizations and schools provide another avenue for leadership development. Depending upon the purpose of the organization, they can teach teens how to run meetings, reach consensus, accomplish tasks collectively and individually, and reach goals. Organization-run retreats and group-building experiences enable adolescents to step into leadership roles, and to learn the importance of planning, collaboration , encouraging others, keeping everyone moving toward a goal, and other elements of good leadership.
  • Involvement in community and political issues. Among the most powerful experiences for adolescents are those in which they can have some effect on the larger world . They may organize to try to bring about something important to them, such as the building of a skate park, or the lifting of a curfew. Involvement in community volunteer efforts -- to clean up vacant lots in the neighborhood, to canvass for a political candidate or a cause, to provide services for invalid elders, to participate in a violence prevention initiative -- put adolescents in close contact with caring adults, make them feel -- rightly -- that they're doing something substantive for the community, and give them the opportunity to take leadership positions.

In Flint, Michigan, adolescents at risk helped to create and run a successful community garden program. In Santa Barbara, California, current and former gang members who have agreed to forgo violence receive a $50,000 grant to use in community development. The first year of this program, these street-hardened gangsters decided to use their grant for food to make sure none of the younger kids in the community went hungry. Adolescents can surprise you if you give them the chance.

  • Challenging outdoor activity. Outward Bound and other similar programs can build confidence and provide numerous opportunities for developing leadership skills. They help adolescents understand the necessity of both teamwork and self-reliance, give them responsibility, and also give non-athletes a chance to shine in physical pursuits. They demonstrate to teens that they can exceed what they thought were their limits, improve their confidence and self-control, and help them learn to deal with adversity, all of which are vital to good leadership.

Scouting, under a cloud because of its exclusion of gays, has traditionally provided adolescents of both sexes with chances to earn and exercise leadership. Many local councils have disavowed or challenged the national position, however. These are modeling ethical leadership, while continuing to provide adolescents with the traditional scouting experiences in leadership development.

College students and other young adults

Young adults of college age and beyond (approximately 18-25) still have much of the idealism and enthusiasm of adolescents. Because of both their physical and emotional development and their increased experience and freedom, however, they generally have better judgment and a somewhat more realistic understanding of how the world works . Many are ready to, and do, take on real leadership positions at this time.

Ironically, while young adults probably occupy the bulk of entry-level positions in human services, they also make up one of the most resistant groups among target populations. Often concerned with jobs, sorting out their adult identities, relationships, and parenting, they seem to have little time or inclination to participate in community interventions or initiatives. For young adults in this position, this may be a time to step temporarily off the track: leadership development or actual leadership opportunities may simply hold no attraction for them at this point.

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

  • Entrepreneurship. During the technology boom of the late '90s, particularly, many people as young as 20 started their own companies while still in college (or left college to do so). The Internet portal Yahoo, for instance, was started by a group of undergraduates. Young adults have also functioned as social entrepreneurs, starting or guiding community interventions and organizations.
  • Politics. In the '60s, college students, some of whom gained national prominence while still in their teens, provided much of the manpower and leadership of both the Civil Rights and the anti-Vietnam War movements, as well as Gene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign. Some, like John Lewis and Tom Hayden, went on to continued national prominence in later life. Young adults run for elective office as well - one local school committee, for instance, has elected at least two members at 21 in the past two decades.
  • Service learning. Many colleges have traditionally sponsored voluntary community service organizations staffed by students, and continue to do so. In addition, service learning - students receiving instruction in, and credit for, providing community service, or having to fulfill a community service requirement to graduate - has become a fixture on numerous campuses. In addition to introducing students to a part of the real world they may have been unaware of, these programs, often student-run, provide a variety of leadership possibilities.

I participated in college in a student-run, volunteer social service organization, which operated a variety of programs for target populations ranging from disadvantaged children to prisoners to the elderly. After becoming a team leader in a student-founded settlement house, I eventually, as a college senior, founded and ran an educational program for young children. The experience was by far the most educational and important of my college years, both steering me to my life's work and demonstrating to me many of the rewards and difficulties of leadership.

  • Employment. Many young adults and college students enter on career paths at this time of their lives. First jobs, summer jobs, or cooperative education jobs may acquaint them with particular career paths and give them their first taste of leadership. Work study jobs at school may evolve into supervisory positions over time. Those who don't attend college may find themselves cast as group leaders, foremen, or even employers when they are hardly out of their teens. The high-tech industry still regularly offers (often high-paid) leadership positions to people just out of college.
  • Government-sponsored service programs. Peace Corps, VISTA, and AmeriCorps positions have placed large numbers of young adults in situations where they have had to learn and exercise leadership. The result of being thrust into an unfamiliar culture -- often without a real grasp of the language -- with, more often than not, an amorphous mission, can be the development of impressive self-reliance and leadership skills.

Many human service agencies, faced with the choice of two equally qualified applicants, one of whom served in the Peace Corps, will almost always take the former Peace Corps volunteer. They know she'll be self-starting, adaptable, able to relate well to just about anyone, and cheerful about the often adverse conditions that accompany community human service work.

  • Non-profit and non-governmental organizations. College students and other young adults form much of the support and do much of the legwork for such organizations as the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and Amnesty International. This work can afford supervisory opportunities and expose young adults to the dedication and styles of the leaders of these types of organizations.

A number of people who've gone on to prominence as policy makers and advocates for progressive causes in the U.S., for instance, began their careers as members of Nader's Raiders, college students and young adults who spent short periods of time working as researchers and operatives for Ralph Nader. These young people uncovered government and corporate misdoing, investigated consumer complaints and issues, and made it possible for Nader to be, for a period, the nation's ombudsman and watchdog . The opportunities for leadership development for the Raiders were enormous, and many grasped them and never looked back.

Parents and other adults through midlife (25-50)

This is the time of life when people most often assume leadership. Both men and women generally seem to experience a drive, at about age 30, to get their lives in order and to pursue long-term goals. In their mid-30s, people of both sexes seek independence, often starting their own businesses, or changing their lives to be more consistent with their visions of themselves. At midlife, generally in the 40s or early 50s, many people change their focus. Those who have been work-oriented may slow down and pursue other interests or spend more time with their families. Those whose lives have been consumed with relationships, whether raising children or in other ways, may reach out into the larger world.

These are generative years, the time when people are most likely to start to create -- through raising children, through their work, through their contributions to the community, or a combination -- the legacy they will leave in the world. It is a period when people are most willing and eager to take on leadership positions, and most ripe for the development of good leadership.

Many older people in this age group and the ones following act as mentors to younger colleagues or friends. This relationship can occur in almost any situation, from an older worker helping a younger one learn his job, to a CEO of a large corporation advising the person she sees as her eventual successor. The mentor role can be an important one in community activism or development, with those who have been engaged for years advising and supporting newcomers. More experienced people in this situation can help to moderate and channel the enthusiasm of those with a lot of passion and somewhat less grasp of when to be passionate and when to take a lower-key attitude.

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

  • Community activism. Finding a local issue that members of a community or a target population feel passionately about is a way to get them involved in leadership development opportunities and in actually taking on leadership.
  • Organizations and associations. Churches, sports or other activity-based groups, service clubs (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.), and work-related organizations all provide the opportunity for people from all walks of life to take leadership positions, from team captain to chair of the entertainment committee. Professional associations and unions also recruit leaders from among their ranks, and often provide people with their first experience of leadership.

Some people are seen as community leaders simply by their positions, whether they choose to be leaders or not. Clergy often find themselves in this situation, as do certain members of the business community (who they are may vary from community to community), some community officials (police and fire chiefs, for instance), school and college administrators, and directors of some health or human service agencies or organizations (hospital administrators, e.g.).

  • Parenting. Perhaps the most unrecognized leadership position, because it's so common, is that of the parent. Parents are leaders -- and mentors -- whether they want to be or not. What they model and teach is what their kids will learn, and probably carry into the rest of their lives. Good parents are likely to be the children of good parents, just as abusive parents are often themselves victims of abusive parents. It is ironic that the most widespread and important leadership role in the society is seldom acknowledged as such.
  • Parenting-related experiences. Parenting often leads to other opportunities for leadership. The desire to help their children in school may lead people to the PTA or School Committee. They may see the need for a community playground or other facility, and go about getting it built. Or they may take the lead in trying to prevent community violence or substance abuse.
  • Volunteering. Many adults at this stage volunteer in community programs as literacy tutors, mediators, mentors to at-risk children and youth, soup-kitchen workers, soccer coaches, etc. Many others volunteer in community and national initiatives and political campaigns, or on non-profit boards or community advisory committees. These volunteer positions can become leadership opportunities (board chair, for example) or even permanent positions (program director).
  • Local politics. In small communities, particularly, political office is a volunteer or near-volunteer position. As a result, it is often seen as more accessible than in a community where it carries considerable financial reward and prestige. Election to a town board, a school committee, or a city council may be an adult's first experience of leadership.

Elder statespersons (50-65)

While not substantially different from the members of the previous group, and while fitting into many of the same leadership and leadership development circumstances, people in this age group have lots of experience and expertise. They may command a good deal of respect in their community by this time in their lives, and thus qualify as leaders simply because they've been around long enough. They are often very willing to take leadership positions in the community. Their children are often older or gone, and they may, thus, have more time for community service.

This group is referred to here as elder statespersons because, while they're not retired or elders, most have accumulated some wisdom. They're often less concerned with the way they appear to others than with actually dealing with issues in effective ways. They may also have a good deal of influence among those who know them, and may thus be able to help sway the balance of opinion.

Folks at this age, whether members of target populations or the community at large, are likely to have had some experience of leadership in their lives, often similar to that of the previous group.

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

  • Employment. Members of this group often have leadership positions at work, if only because of seniority. They've been around long enough to have demonstrated their ability and have been promoted.
  • Organizations and associations. Many have belonged to some organization long enough to have become an officer at some point.
  • Volunteering and community service. The boards of community-based and grass roots organizations are often filled with people from this group. Their volunteer work tends to be in this vein, although they may volunteer to work in community programs and interventions as well.
  • Local politics. They may have already been elected to office, or have been outspoken on a community issue. As a result, they may be more willing to take on political leadership again, unless their experience has been totally negative. In addition , because of their knowledge of the community and of practical matters, they may make up a majority on town boards and committees.

Retired persons and seniors

Many retired and older people remain deeply involved in community life. They have more time than other groups, and they want to fill it with something meaningful. Those who've spent their lives immersed in work and family may discover, sometimes for the first time, community-centered interests. As volunteers, as mentors, as part -time workers in agencies and community-based organizations, and in numerous other ways, they continue to serve their fellow citizens.

Seniors in general are an untapped resource in too many communities. Even those who are physically frail are often intellectually acute, and have much to offer. In target populations, it is often seniors who have the clearest sense of community history and who know where the bodies are buried. They can be the most important individuals to a community intervention or initiative in helping it to avoid the pitfalls of the past and to embrace methods and directions that are likely to be effective.

Opportunities for encouraging leadership development

Numerous opportunities for leadership and leadership development exist for this group.

  • Community service. Community boards and committees offer many older people an outlet for their talents
  • Advocacy. Advocacy organizations sometimes find an unexpected resource in older citizens who have the interest and passion - and the time - to work on issues they may have long been concerned with.
  • Local politics. Again, time is often the issue here. People who are retired may be more willing than others - especially in small communities where elective office is essentially a volunteer job -- to serve on town boards or as elected officials .
  • Volunteering. Many retired and older people volunteer in community agencies and for such organizations as Meals on Wheels. They participate in Foster Grandparent programs, providing relationships with caring adults for children at risk. In addition , they join organizations such as RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and SCORE (Service Corps Of Retired Executives), which offer retired people the chance to pass on their accumulated knowledge and offer community-based and other nonprofit organizations both program-level volunteer time and free consultation with experts in business, accounting, law, and other fields.

Some general guidelines for encouraging leadership development across the life span

How do you get people at any age involved in leadership? There are a few basic rules:

Ask them.

Many people would never consider the possibility of volunteering, much less assuming leadership, unless it's suggested to them. The best way to make them aware that they could be helpful is to ask them. Leadership might be part of your initial request, or it might grow out of another role. Follow up on your request to make sure that someone who's interested actually gets involved.

Start where people are.

Provide opportunities at the level at which people feel comfortable. Someone who has never before even spoken up at a meeting is unlikely to be willing to lead an advocacy effort. If secretary of the bowling league is what someone is ready for, then that's a good first step. Once he's comfortable in that position, he may be convinced to go on to something broader.

Provide real-world opportunities.

The most powerful leadership experiences are those that have an impact on people's lives and the lives of those around them. Being involved, simply as a participant, in a successful effort to support a needle exchange program to stop the spread of AIDS among heroin users, or to stop the development of a wilderness area, can be a powerful spur toward taking leadership in similar efforts.

Challenge people with reachable goals.

It's far better to begin by succeeding at something small than by failing at something huge. Small successes are not always easy to come by, either, especially for those who've never tackled them before. Challenges should be real, but not so great that they can't be overcome.

Provide training.

Don't ask anyone to assume a leadership role without helping them gain enough of the skills to discharge that role successfully. Among the areas in which people might need training:

  • Communication skills
  • Planning
  • Group facilitation
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Coalition building

Especially for members of a target population who may have never had leadership experience, and who may not have had the common middle-class experience of sitting on committees or participating in meetings, training is crucial. People need the right tools for the job.

Build on success.

Continue to provide leadership opportunities with increasing levels of responsibility as people become ready for them.

Provide peer support.

A mechanism by which leaders - especially those who are in leadership positions for the first time - can receive support from others who understand their situation can keep enthusiasm high and prevent discouragement and burnout over the long term.

Where possible, provide an institutional structure for leadership development opportunities.

Some examples are college community service offices, volunteer clearinghouses, and the community service programs of some Chambers of Commerce. These structures should afford not only recruitment, but training, placement of volunteers in appropriate situations, a support network, and the possibility of increasing responsibility.

Provide models of effective leadership.

Participatory, respectful, and visionary leadership are not intuitive for most people: they have to be learned, ideally through experiencing them. If potential leaders have been exposed to examples of the kind of leadership that both works and empowers others, they are far more likely to learn to practice it.

In Summary:

The possibility of leadership and leadership development experiences exists for people throughout their lives. In childhood, adolescence, college and young adulthood, parenting and adulthood, the midlife "elder statesman" years, and beyond, there are opportunities for virtually everyone to exercise leadership of some sort, particularly community leadership. Encouraging people to take leadership positions of any sort, and providing some training to help make their leadership more successful, can bring them to leadership in community efforts.

Contributor 
Phil Rabinowitz

Online Resources

Giving and Volunteering, a survey by the Independent Sector on contributions of money and time to charitable institutions (1999).

Website of Leadership Development -- articles on leadership development.

The Pew Partnership's publication "Ready, Willing, and Able."

Print Resources

Levinson, D. (1978). et al. Seasons of a Man's Life. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. 

Sheehy, G. (1977) Passages. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 

Volunteer Leadership magazine, published by the Points of Light Foundation, 1400 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20005.