Activities that Build Leadership Skills

Building leadership skills in teens helps to foster confidence and strong mental health. Youths of all personality types can find spaces and opportunities to build leadership skills. What’s important is to find an activity your child enjoys and then create space for them to learn to lead.


Sports of all kinds are natural spaces to build leadership skills. Individual sports like track or golf allow for youth to focus on their confidence and work ethic while supporting and encouraging their teammates. Sports such as basketball or soccer that are played together as a team require collaboration and assessment of teammates’ abilities as well as their own.

When choosing a sport for your child, it’s important to find both the type of sport and level that’s a good fit. Trying something new is always challenging, but you want to avoid overwhelming your teen too much. Recreational sports can be a great option to try a new sport and build confidence. Then if they want to continue, you can consider more advanced options like the school team or even a club.


If your child has a creative spirit, finding an avenue in the arts could be a great fit. While sometimes arts are viewed as individually-focused, creativity blossoms with collaboration and constructive feedback.

Parents can look for options across the artistic spectrum: dance, music, theater, or even creative writing. Many schools sponsor clubs and activities that foster artistic endeavors. You can also look for community organizations for your child to join.


Getting involved in the local community can create a sense of belonging and agency. Participating in a service project or volunteering for a nonprofit organization helps teens to understand their ability to create change and meaningfully contribute. They can also build leadership skills such as organizing, planning, time management, mentoring, and networking.

Local organizations are always looking for extra hands. You can use a search tool such as Volunteer Match or network with family and friends to find opportunities.

No matter what path your child chooses, it’s clear that opportunities to lead are plentiful. Be open and let your child lead the way toward developing their leadership skills.

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