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5 Leadership Tips Inspired by Hall of Famers

Strong leadership skills are vital in everything from group projects at school to being on a sports team and even 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 inspired these tips to keep in mind as you work on your own leadership skills!


1. Stay Curious

It’s important to maintain your sense of curiosity and creativity as a leader. When you lead with curiosity and creativity, you can help empower others to ask questions and think outside the box to achieve collective goals and aspirations. As an LIT, you act as a leader when reminding campers to stay curious as they explore the world around them, giving them the opportunity to take healthy risks and lean into 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. Empower Others

Before anyone can achieve something, they must first believe they have the power to do so. By helping others see their own strengths and unique talents, you can empower them to accomplish incredible things. As an LIT, you can help make sure campers feel they are capable of creating, ideating and succeeding as they explore real-world problems and hands-on challenges.

“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. Be Inspiring

Part of being a good leader includes reminding others that it is OK to dream big and set high goals. When you take steps to inspire others to pursue their dreams and see the potential in their solutions, you are contributing to a better future. Make sure each camper understands that their ideas have value, and that they have the potential to one day change the world with their actions and innovations. (And remember – so do you!)

“The future of the world is in the hands of the people 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 your knowledge, perspectives, backgrounds and experiences to create the most impactful solutions – and happiest teams! Ask campers questions when they have a hard time coming up with solutions. Offer assistance if they look like they’re stuck or struggling to use the given materials to make their big ideas come to life. You can even encourage them to team up with friends to share ideas, come up with new solutions and build awesome inventions.

“I don’t think anyone makes anything today without help from others.” – Hall of Famer George Alcorn, inventor of the X-ray spectrometer


5. Model Persistence

As a leader, you set an example for others. While leaders are not immune to challenges and don’t have all the answers all the time, remember that campers will look to you for encouragement, even if you can’t offer the perfect solution. It’s important to show campers that they learn the most when they persist despite setbacks or failures. You can use “I wonder” statements to help them see challenges from a new perspective and give them the push they need to keep trying new things!

“‘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!

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