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Thinkers That Your Teenage Kids Can
Surely Learn a Lot From

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As parents, one of our most important functions is to prepare our kids for whatever challenges that lie ahead. They must understand at least the basic concepts that are at play in the society that they’re in, especially when they become teenagers and start assuming adult roles.

Among of the most mundane but very abstract matters that all members of society must come to terms with are politics and leadership. We experience them daily. We see these concepts at play in schools and workplaces. We even see them in churches, friend groups, and even in families.

However, in spite of such concepts’ ubiquity, not one of us can define them in the most precise way. But there are authors from the past who took the time to think about these things and provide their own take on them. Their definitions and insights may not be that accurate, but they surely are worth pondering upon.

In this article, we present some of these authors. We also present some of their major points...

Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine of Hippo is among the most revered figures in Roman Catholicism. His life serves as a perfect reminder that there is hope for change even for those who are so unchristian in their ways. Those who are familiar with his life know that he was a vivacious young man who indulged in alcohol, excessive merry-making, and other vices before his conversion to the religious man that many know him to be. This dramatic shift is often attributed to the piousness of his sainted mother Monica.

Not only was Augustine a spiritual man, he was also a scholar who was very active in giving opinions about the social state of affairs. Needless to say, one of the topics that he wrote and spoke much about is leadership and societal order. Of course, his viewpoints are pretty much influenced by the Bible, especially those parts that recount the life and teachings of Jesus.

Some authors regard Augustine as among the pioneers of what is now known as servant leadership. He spoke at great length about how leaders should learn to humble themselves so that they function more optimally. He also spoke a lot about the true essence of leadership – bettering the lives of others and not those of the leaders themselves.

Max Weber

Max Weber is among the first in the modern world to explicitly point out that leadership highly depends on the specific context that the actors are in. To illustrate this point, a manager can be a respected leader in her office but she becomes a timid and quiet housewife at home, simply because the context has changed. Specifically, when she assumes the role of the wife, the gender-biased norms of her community change the dynamics of her status relations with her husband and sometimes even her children.

Aside from that, Weber also identified three types of leaders: the bureaucratic, the charismatic, and the traditional. These three types function within two basic paradigms: one that involves transactions and another that involves transformations.

Transactional leadership is basically characterized by giving importance to order and structure. Leaders who function in this paradigm tend to always invoke the power that their titles hold to get their way. Bureaucratic and traditional leaders are said to be transactional in nature.

Transformational leaders, on the other hand, tend to get others to follow them by virtue of their own personal charisma, which may or may not be aligned with the current structures. It is safe to say that these types of leaders are the ones that bring about the most change, hence the term ‘transformational’.

Daniel Goleman

A psychologist who is trained in the current empirically motivated ways, Daniel Goleman used careful qualitative and quantitative analyses of data to come up with his short list of characteristics that make a person a good and inspiring leader. These characteristics are also the very components of what Goleman called emotional quotient, which he thinks is the one thing that every leader must have in abundance. The five characteristics are self-awareness, motivation, empathy, social skills, and self-regulation. More about the crucial role emotional intelligence plays in leadership here.

Self-awareness simply refers to the person’s acknowledgement of his own sets of strengths and weaknesses. Motivation is the person’s internal drive to move forward and reach their goals. Empathy is the person’s ability to see the world from the perspective of others. Social skills refer to those capacities that make it easier for the person to relate to others. Finally, self-regulation is the ability to control impulses if there is a need for such control.

Before we close this article, we just want to make clear that you or your kids don’t really have to agree with the views presented here. The authors above bring to the surface things to think deeply about so that you and your teenagers can form ideas of your own.

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