Top 6 Skills Young Leaders Need In The 21st Century

2021 placed a premium on everyone’s leadership abilities—especially young leaders.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented another economic and global threat that tomorrow’s youthful leaders need to address.

“Millennials are a resilient generation. Amid the pandemic’s unparalleled health and socio-economic upheaval, millennials stay loyal to their ideas and views,” says smartphone and laptop for rent distributor Karina Wolfin of Direct Appliance Rentals.

Young leaders have the power to guide us through challenging times and lead us toward better futures. Here are the top six skills we believe will make them stronger leaders in the 21st Century

1. Self-awareness

Everything begins with you.

The first step in being a successful leader is to understand who you are: What motivates you? What are your skills, interests, and values? Gaining self-awareness can help you identify your blind spots and hidden prejudices, increasing your credibility and earning you the confidence of your peers.

Self-awareness, fortunately, can be learned and practised. Young leaders need to reflect on their talents, interests, and beliefs to create a vision of the kind of leader they want to be.

2. Goal-Driven Mindset

Students Planning Initiatives in a Burn Bright Program
Burn Bright Students Exploring Qualities in a Program

Effective leadership is enhanced with a clear purpose. Many leaders think that an organisation’s goal is critical to its success, yet its meaning isn’t embraced as a reference when making decisions.

Young leaders are looking for a sense of meaning and purpose in their personal lives and work lives. Essentially, young leaders whose goals and purposes are linked with the objective of their organisations are more likely to succeed.

3. Visioning

Visioning is what we mean when we say “coming up with ground-breaking ideas.” Today’s complexity necessitates innovative ideas and solutions, yet having a vision does not necessitate being a visionary. 

Young leaders should incorporate a range of visioning techniques, including reframing, backcasting, and brain sketching, to develop large, bold ideas that will have a beneficial impact.

While everyone’s visioning process is unique, here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Go at your own pace.
  • Seek inspiration in unlikely places.
  • Get used to taking chances (and experimenting!).
  • Allow yourself to get carried away by the experience.

4. Adaptability

Adaptability is perhaps the most critical skill to master as a 21st-century young leader. In an ever-changing economy, you must be prepared to learn and adjust as needed. Of course, it’s a challenging process since you’re forced to compromise your beliefs or organisation model to remain competitive.

For one thing, you need to make your whole organisation adaptable, which includes encouraging individuals to voice their concerns and ideas about where the organisation ought to go next.

5. Emotional Intelligence 

Your EI must be excellent if you want to be a successful leader. Put another way; you must be aware that people’s emotions can influence their conduct and push them in a particular direction. Also, mainly when the circumstance is severe and unpleasant, you must learn how to cope with and control these emotions—whether these emotions are yours or your colleagues.

6. Creative Problem-solving

As a leader, you’ll encounter various challenges as you progress, from resolving difficulties to formulating new strategies. No two issues are alike; in fact, complications are divided into archetypes, each of which necessitates a distinct problem-solving approach.

Creative problem-solving skills enable leaders to deploy the appropriate tool for the right job at the right time, resulting in increased productivity and success.

Take Steps To Become A Better Leader

Don’t be concerned if you’re not confident in your present leadership skills. These abilities, fortunately, may be taught and improved through time. There are a variety of methods to learn, develop, and advance your leadership skills. Attending Burn Bright’s Leadership Camp is one of the most dependable ways to enhance your leadership abilities and prepare you to handle the rigours of life. Give us a call, send us an email, or drop a message using this form to learn more about our leadership camps.

Written by Maya Carter



Continue your student’s leadership or wellbeing journey with our digital programs. Specifically designed to be flexibly implemented into your wellbeing or leadership programs, these courses can be completed at any time in any place, providing a self-paced option for students to explore in class or on their own. These modules include individual student logins, a teacher dashboard to track student progress and lesson plans with follow up face to face resources.

See what's happening in our world



Facilitator in Laptop Screen

I found Burn Bright in the midst of studying civil engineering at the University of Wollongong, just as I wanted a richer, deeper, more full experience of life.

Through Burn Bright, I have met many students and volunteers who are all seeking to find their place in the world. When we come together at NLC or SLC, no matter our age, we begin on the same page, of wanting to do good for ourselves, our community, and the world. And then we are thrown into a program that brings us closer to each other, our purpose, and how to bring forth this impact. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

Volunteering with Burn Bright stoked a fire in me – It helped me feel comfortable in myself and made me realise life isn’t just about work, study, or productivity, but our relationships and how we connect with others along the way.

I have learned skills in videography, worked for a top-tier corporation in marketing, and most recently published a book called “18 and lost? So were we” 

I have a passion for storytelling, bring loads of energy wherever I go, and am dedicated to helping young people move through the initiation of leaving high school and going into the ‘real world’. 

The best part for me is being able to stay connected to the latest generation growing through high school. To see them grow, expand and express more of themselves is like watching an artwork paint itself. It’s magic.

I am Simon Thurston, a Kiwi based in Perth. I work as an Instructional Designer and in my spare time I enjoy reading, running, and board games.

Since my initial connection to Burn Bright I have been onboard with their mission. Burn Bright’s focus on building the capabilities enables students of all ages to see how they can shape their world through connections with others and their own self discovery.

Seeing others grow, learn, and open up is what keeps me coming back, to help others realise their potential and how they can influence their future and their community is a definite highlight. It’s infectious, the atmosphere when they run a program or camp is welcoming, exciting, emotional, and rewarding all in one.



Hi, friends! I’m Kelsie, a psychologist from central QLD working in private practice. I got involved with Burn Bright officially in 2016, but the journey started long before that. I attended the National Leadership Camp (now hosted annually by Burn Bright) in 2009. It had such a profound impact on me that I returned as a mentor and volunteer. Those connections ultimately lead me to joining the Burn Bright team as an adult.

When I transitioned from facilitating with the Burn Bright team to working as a psychologist, I was so grateful for an incredible foundation of skills (particularly facilitation, communication and interpersonal skills) along with a strong grounding in positive psychology that Burn Bright integrates into their ethos.

I can’t imagine my life without volunteering for Burn Bright. I have met some of my dearest friends through the Burn Bright crew. I’ve found that volunteering for BB is rewarding, humbling, and often brings as much personal growth for the volunteer as it does for the young person.

From a professional perspective, I love that Burn Bright programs/camps support the adolescent individuation process by providing an exciting and supportive environment for teens to explore their own sense of self, personality, identify and values alongside other young people.

Imagine this POV: you’re back at school wanting to figure everything out and fit in – and you find
yourself in a room with amazing music that uplifts you and hooks you in. You meet the team of
dynamic, interesting, caring facilitators whose own friendships inspire you. Their facilitation skills bring about amazing light-bulb moments and lessons that light a fire inside you… It makes me want to feel that for myself again. The next best thing, for me, is volunteering for the team who passes that on to other young people.

My start at Burn Bright is one of the best cases of one door closing and another door opening. After losing my job at a local pub while on uni holidays, I started looking for new opportunities that were different and decided to volunteer. Searching for opportunities, I found working bees, community driving and nursing home visits, but the chance to become a National Leadership Camp intern stood out. Over nearly six months, I worked with the team to pull off Burn Bright’s first National Leadership Camp, and had an absolute blast in the process. After camp, I started working for Burn Bright while studying, doing anything and everything — data analysis, hiring strategy and even picking up furniture.

Finishing up working for Burn Bright in 2019, I am still actively involved with the Burn Bright volunteer community. I’ve found that the emphasis placed on investing in your relationships, understanding your values and making an impact allow you to be accepted for you. This has given me the tools needed to make the difficult decisions that life will inevitably throw at you. Besides all that, I’ve had a ton of fun and formed life-long friendships with people I may have never crossed paths with otherwise. “Get involved — you’ll change your life for the better and make life‑long friends in the process”.

I am a health science student from Perth wanting to get into the mental health realm of occupational therapy. In the meantime, I work as a barista and supervisor at a beachside café. In my spare time, I love to play netball, be around my friends and I have just gotten into crocheting. I went to Perth College where I was lucky enough to go to the first Perth College Leadership Camp in 2018 as a student and absolutely loved it. What really drew me in was the atmosphere that was created, the open conversations, and the lasting relationships formed.

Since then I have been a mentor for the Perth College Leadership Camp in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and had the opportunity to go to the National Leadership Camp in 2019. When Burn Bright comes to Perth I also love helping out at their programs as much as I can.

Volunteering for Burn Bright has given me so much that I could never have imagined. I have learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence in myself and my abilities that I know I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t exposed to the amazing opportunities volunteering for Burn Bright has given me. Before being involved I would never have seen myself being a mentor, role model, and facilitator to students, but now I can confidently say that I am, and I have made an impact on others that I am proud of. I have also made so many meaningful connections to so many amazing people from all around Australia through Burn Bright. I get asked quite a bit why I keep coming back to my old school to volunteer and it’s simply because I was given this amazing opportunity to be a part of the Burn Bright programs and if I can help facilitate that experience to someone else then why wouldn’t I?

I was born in Perth and moved to Sydney in my early 20’s to continue work as a youth worker and surfboard maker. This was followed by 30 years working in IT as a computer programmer.

Following retirement in 2016 I searched for an organisation that was aligned with my values of servant leadership and service, especially in the youth space. This search led to Burn Bright where I am now volunteering one day a week and mentoring at the National Leadership Camp. Volunteering with Burn Bright gives me a great deal of hope and confidence in the next generation of leaders. It is a pleasure to be a part of the Burn Bright family.

I have been married to Denise for 41 years and we both very much feel part of the Burn Bright team.

When not at Burn Bright you may find me running along Manly beach, riding my mountain bike or indulging in my passion for photography.











Hi! I’m Rosie, a 20-something full-time public servant, part-time Tassie tourism advocate.

I am passionate about seeing young people succeed, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching them become the next generation of change-makers.

I have been a champion of the ethos and work of Burn Bright since its inception in 2014, and consider them to be the leading experts in their field. By delivering impactful leadership and wellbeing programs to students across Australia, they offer the knowledge, skills and engagement to invoke lasting positive change in school communities.

The Burn Bright team are dedicated, inclusive and values-driven, which is why I love working with them.