While at a networking event this spring, Joanne Canady-Brown, a local business owner, presented her “10 commandments” for being a successful entrepreneur. One of the rules she mentioned struck a chord with me in writing about more of the amazing work the Trenton Next Generation Community Leaders (NGCL) are doing for the benefit of the City of Trenton. Speaking from her experience as owner of The Gingered Peach bakery, she said quite simply, “know your strengths and operate within them. Also, know and understand your areas of opportunity, and leave the others to those who have matching strengths!”
Team Trentonian Titans have been focused over the last eight months, meeting with community partners who have knowledge and experience in the various areas our teens are interested in to improve health in Trenton. While gaining the knowledge and understanding of others, the youth leaders have also had the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge of themselves as individuals and, more importantly, of how their strengths play a part in the team’s success. Just as important, our youth are aware of the areas where they aren’t as strong and where others can step into the gap so the team can move forward as a cohesive unit.
Through the use of Strengthfinders 2.0 and a personality quiz, our teens and coaches are able to better appreciate each other’s mannerisms and tendencies in a more objective way. We can also better understand what others may see as “weird” or “unusual” through a very different lens. One of our biggest takeaways is that having diversity in thought and action makes the most effective teams. As coaches, we’ve been able to better match our teens’ strengths and areas of development to certain tasks and opportunities to more fully enhance their NGCL experience. We also believe that exposing our youth to these tools now allows them to be more conscious of their abilities and hopefully allow for them to be more intentional as they move forward in their project work together this July and into the future.
See the Trenton Next Generation Community Leaders’ work through their Facebook page. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.