Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Challenging the process is the hardest leadership attribute for teens to learn. Asking for clarification on their mark, changing school policies that affect them, fearing that their hours or job will be cut, and the list goes on. It serves as the biggest obstacle in their way.
Challenging others, and the systems in which they operate, teams, schools, and society is a skill some of us never really master. Most of the time it is because teens don’t have the language to approach a situation, and other times, it is because they feel like the result is going to be unfavourable. This requires a balance; a delicate dance, so to speak. How can they stand up for themselves, challenge the process, without challenging authority, rules, and expectations and causing rifts in relationships and negativity. Building up courage is not always enough, having the language and practicing it until it becomes second nature and a mindset is something teens and adults can utilize.
Try this when dealing with a situation that requires teens to question or challenge how things are done:
“Why is it important that you ask your teacher for feedback?”
“What is the best result that can come from this?”
“What is the worst result that could come from this?”
“What are you doing on your part to avoid what you are
fearing or worried about?”
“What are you planning on saying or doing?”
Essentially, it is empowering teens without causing a power struggle. Power struggles and defensiveness arise when one party is not constructive or approaches a conversation without clarity and ownership of their shortcomings or responsibilities. These reflective sessions help build on this attribute by considering what teens are doing, what can they do prior to advocating for themselves, and how to seek for clarity on how things are done and how they can be done to help them succeed. Challenging the process requires some homework before hand; some preparation but yields confidence and growth through healthy conversations.
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