Youth development is defined as “an intentional comprehensive approach that provides space, opportunities and support for young people to maximize their individual and collective creative energies for personal development as well as development of the broader society of which they are an integral part” (South African Government, 2017:1). Redmond and Dolan (2016) also bring meaning to the concept of youth leadership development with their explanation. They explain youth leadership development as a process of “which leadership can be explored, taught, or experienced by young people” (Redmond & Dolan, 2016:262).
Youth leadership development is different to that of adult leadership development. As the approach of youth leadership development has, a specific focus on the leadership developmental needs of young individuals. Youth leadership development is directed more towards the learning of leadership whereas adult leadership development has more do to with the abilities of an individual in their leadership practices. Factors of adult leadership can be results of the power and influence, where adults have a higher degree of having power and influence than the youth (Mortensen, Licty, Foster-Fishman, Harst, Hockin, Warsinske & Abdullah, 2014:452).
Much concern has been created in respect to the developments of young individuals (Fraser- Thomas, Côté & Deakin, 2005:19). As it is with the focus of this study, which is largely directed to the young individuals of Generation Y, and Generation Z. The reason behind this, resides on the view that the youth face a number of challenges and that supportive structures need to be in place to assist these individuals to overcome their obstacles (Roth & Brooks- Gunn, 2003:97 & Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005:19-20). Further to this, is that the practice of developing leaders for the future is needed. Thus, developing skills, abilities, and knowledge for these individuals is essential.
As Murphy and Johnson (2011:460), stated young individuals are of a malleable age, where their development is adopted and applied more easily. Hence, providing for student leadership development can be made easier as an opportunity arises to develop them while they are in their developmental stages (Berg as cited in Ingleton, 2013:220).
Carrying out developmental practices will allow these individuals, “to lead a healthy, satisfying, and productive life as youth and later as adults, because they gain the competence to earn a living, to engage in civic activities, to nurture others, and to participate in social relations and culture activities” (Hamilton, Hamilton & Pittman as cited in Fraser-Thomas et al., 2005:20). All of this is a direct reflection to the requirements that are needed to develop students as future leaders.
Chapter 3 spoke of the evolution of leadership development and has also shown, that there are key factors that affect the leadership development of an individual. Over time this activity has shifted, and has become a practice where synergy is at the centre. This takes in all factors to ensure a comprehensive understanding and effective creation of leadership development practices. Research as shown that organisational cultures and environment also contributed to such development, it had been said that a learning environment is key as it encourages and provides opportunities for growth and development.
Some argue that leadership is a born skill while others say it is bred. This stance is deemed as linear, as Bolden (2005:3), states there is intermediate space between both born skills and those that are learnt. This view led to the influences drawn from one’s early development. Gender and generational differences have resulted in different ideologies and practices of leadership and leadership development. The views that males and females have on leadership is different and somewhat stereotyped, and lastly generations have their own views on leadership of which is grouped into each of their cohorts. Generations differ in their values, beliefs, practices, experiences, and others and it further creates a distinction between that of youth and adult leadership.
Combining many fragments, those from the concepts of leadership and the importance of it from Chapter 2, to those of influencing factors to leadership development in Chapter 3, have created for the construction of the literature that follows in Chapter 4.
Chapter 4 is the concluding chapter of the literature review section. This chapter concentrates on student leadership development. It brings in discussion on student leadership benefits and challenges and reviews the social change model of leadership, which has been considered a significant model of student leadership development and that of Chickering’s theory of identity development, which forms the theoretical frameworks of this study. Thereafter, the roles of higher education institutions are discussed together with interventions to leadership development and policies.
41 CHAPTER 4
STUDENT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
“I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce leaders, not more followers” – Ralph Nader
Drawing from the discussion in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 it is noted that leadership development is an important activity. With global research, it has been found that leadership development of individuals has become priority (Hackett & McIntyre as cited in Brown, 2001:2). This is found in both past and present writings. Having read the Human Resource Development Strategy for South Africa (HRD-SA), a policy that is used to address citizen development, places much emphasis on the importance of growth and development of the citizens of the country (South African Government, 2016:7). Reinforcing this are many academics, like those of Eich (2008:176-178), who stated the pivotal significance of leadership development, with a particular focus on students. This understanding and awareness has been raised from the cry of young individuals who place much value on their leadership development. It is with this backdrop that Chapter 4 has been constructed.
The centre of this study is students and their development of leadership skill and abilities. This chapter starts by introducing student leadership and the factors that encompass this form of leadership. In order to understand this phenomenon better, the social change model of leadership development and the Chickering’s theory of identity development had been used.
The discussion of this chapter goes on to analyse benefits of student leadership and its challenges. It briefly explains the role of higher education institutions to student leadership and the practices from such institutions that lead to student development. Closing this chapter is a final exploration of polices that structure and guide development.