Developing young leaders is at the heart of why Strive Lane exists

Written by: Joe Mikaele Ah-Koui, Registered Teacher, Director Strive Lane | June 16, 2020

The term ‘leaders’ has become a catchword and used as a replacement for management titles, but at its core leadership is about character, influence, and impact. A manager does not equal a leader but leaders do exist in management positions.

Teaching children basic leadership principles can be difficult for some parents, especially if they haven’t been supported to build their own or know how to effectively part with that knowledge. These principles should underpin everyday life for everyone, regardless of age or where they’re at in their educational, professional, or personal journey. This isn’t to say people won’t experience the highs and lows of life because we all know that’s an unrealistic position to hold. The hidden power effective leaders hold is the ability to navigate, adapt, and respond to these adversities.

Since March, we have seen the biggest disruption to education ever posed to Australian children, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Aside from the immediate public health implications, we’ve witnessed an emotional crisis unravel in front of our eyes. Families have been left feeling enormous health, financial, and educational burden, causing unimaginable levels of stress and anxiety for some.

There has been no other time in recent history where good leadership is needed.

As adults, we often recognise poor leadership in our workplaces before we’re able to truly appreciate the value of having an exceptional leader. Why is this? Probably because the latter is few and far between in comparison. Think of the best leader you have ever worked with. What was it about that leader that you enjoyed the most? You will never forget that leader in your lifetime. It’s no different for a student when they think back to their own education and recall that one teacher that left a lasting impression because they believed in their students and made them feel seen, heard, and valued.

COVID-19 has sparked a rapid increase in youth unemployment rates, with regional Australia hit the hardest. Given this, we must equip and educate the next generation with hope, resilience and the will to never give up. Recent Queensland government data shows youth unemployment rates have risen from 11.2 per cent in April 2019 to 24 per cent in 2020.

As a parent of two young boys who face a future of economic uncertainty, and a teacher to adolescents who face immediate unemployment regardless of their chosen industry, this terrifies me and motivates me to do everything in my power to provide the necessary skills to not just survive in a future world but thrive and do it with confidence!

For adults, navigating our way in a post-coronavirus era will require new ways of doing business, re-wiring old habits to make way for a new approach will be an art form in itself, but for young people who have been dealt this low blow before even entering the workforce have an opportunity to seize the moment and become the emotionally and socially intelligent people the future world requires.

Most people would be familiar with the iceberg illusion because it could apply to just about anything, but its particularly relevant to teenagers and how they perceive other people’s success. So, as we look towards the future, it raises the question — what skills will we need to thrive in this brave new world? These critical skills include complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision-making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility. There is no coincidence that Strive Lane has already been working to equip its students with these skills while supporting parents to do the same.

At Strive Lane, emotional and social intelligence isn’t taught the same way subjects are delivered in a traditional classroom setting because we’ve made a point from the outset that each of our students will be seen, heard, and valued as the individual they are. This shapes our tailored approach to engage teenagers in a personalised way they can relate to.

Our lessons, workshops and one on one mentoring has proven successful because of our collaborative learning approach from industry trained specialist mentors who understand parents challenges of competing with a generation who see technology as an extension of their identity yet still face the hardships of emotional and social issues, many of which are further amplified by social media.

Backed up by evidence from the World Economic Forum, we recognise that it would be counterproductive to exclude a child from using digital media and so the challenge for all of us is to help them to do it safely while also strengthening their character.

Generation Alpha, the children of millennials, are the most racially diverse generation across the world. This is also a generation that sees the power of working collaboratively to solve the world’s biggest challenges – climate change and mental health being top on their agenda. While Generation Alpha is at this point possibly oblivious to the impact of the global pandemic on their education, the impact will surely be felt even for our youngest learners for years to come. According to a Dell Technologies report, 85 per cent of the jobs in 2030 that Generation Z and Alpha will enter into have not been invented yet. According to this World Economic Forum report, 65 per cent of primary school children today will be working in job types that do not exist yet.

We can’t afford to not take this seriously.

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