Recently, there’s been a lot of attention on what makes a strong leader. It is an important question and extremely relevant in the lives of teen girls. More often than not, girls shy away from leadership roles. They fear they will be seen as bossy or controlling. Lack of confidence can steer girls into being followers rather than leaders. Even though they have leadership abilities, they may be afraid of being judged, ridiculed, or even worse, outcast.

Perhaps that’s why so many organizations have been requesting my workshop on leadership. When I teach girls about leadership, I start by sharing a simple premise: being a leader means being able to make decisions with confidence and assurance. It’s about setting a personal standard for behavior, which inspires and has a positive influence on others.

In my workshops I emphasize the importance of understanding personal values, habits and paradigms. Girls learn that choices, based on their values, influence the outcome of a situation, whether as ASB president, starting a club or simply finding their way through the maze of adolescence. As leaders, they develop a sense of integrity that gains respect without being labeled as bossy.

Use the following four ideas and questions to start a thoughtful and introspective discussion on what it means to be a leader:

  1. You are the choices that you make.  Ask: How is this true for you?
  2. Paradigms are perceptions, how you see things, people, and experiences. Ask: How do your perceptions shape your choices?
  3. Habits are powerful and important. Ask:  How do your habits impact your life at school? With friends? In sports?
  4. Values inform your choices. Ask: What are your values? What choices have you made based on your values?


Remember: Lead by example and share honestly.   You are your daughter’s model leader.