Strong leadership skills are vital in everything from group projects at school to inventing the next big thing that will change the world! For students in grades 7-9, the Leaders-In-Training (LIT) program from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® offers the perfect opportunity to build these skills.
If you’ve signed up to be an LIT, throughout your weeklong experience, you’ll guide K-6 Camp Invention® campers through high-energy STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) experiences, encourage their creativity, inspire innovative ideas and discover the importance of role models.
You also will be introduced to our Hall of Famers – world-changing inventors and impactful leaders. These extraordinary role models have inspired us to put together a list of tips to keep in mind as you work on your own leadership skills!
1. Be Encouraging
As a young creator, you need the confidence to try new ideas, learn from mistakes and believe in yourself. By encouraging others, you give them the opportunity to take healthy risks and explore their creativity.
“Curiosity and exploration are the essential starting points of innovation. Without those two, nothing really begins. So, we have to cultivate that in ourselves, and in young children, because that’s where it starts.” – Hall of Famer Sumita Mitra, inventor of nanocomposite dental materials
2. Show Empathy
Throughout life, we all will face many obstacles and setbacks, but it’s important to remember – and remind others – that every failure is an opportunity for growth. When you consider the feelings of others and see things from a new point of view, you can help them overcome these challenges and find successful solutions.
“You have to stand on somebody’s shoulders before you can see far. And so, it’s very important that I have a strong shoulder for others to stand on, so they can see far and they can do greater things.” – Hall of Famer Victor Lawrence, inventor of signal processing in telecommunications
3. Inspire Others
Part of being a good leader includes setting a strong example as a role model and empowering others to see the value in themselves. When you take steps to inspire others to pursue their dreams and see the potential in their ideas, you are contributing to a better future.
“The future of the world is in the hands of the people that we’re training today. It gives me fulfillment to contribute to creating the next generation of scientists who can make the world a better place.” – Hall of Famer Carolyn Bertozzi, inventor of bioorthogonal chemistry
4. Work Together
Have you heard the phrase “two heads are better than one”? Well, it’s true. By collaborating with others, you can combine the knowledge, perspectives and experiences of multiple people of varying backgrounds, leading to the most impactful solutions – and happiest teams!
“I don’t think anyone makes anything today without help from others.” – Hall of Famer George Alcorn, inventor of the X-ray spectrometer
5. Remain Open to New Ideas
As a leader, you do not have to have all the answers, all the time. Rather, you should work to bring people together and make sure all voices are heard. Often, you must adapt to new information, be open to change and allow new ideas to improve the current way we view a problem or solution.
“‘I wonder if you could do this.’ It’s such a wonderful phrase, and a great way to start the day. You have to see if your ‘I wonder’ statement propels you into thinking a different way or looking at a problem differently.” – Hall of Famer Jacqueline Quinn, inventor of EZVI (emulsified zero-valent iron)
Be a Leader This Summer
Put these leadership tips into action and uncover innovative role models as an LIT this summer at Camp Invention. Not registered yet? Now is your chance – sign up to become an LIT at a camp near you!