Whether you are a teacher, parent, or other type of caregiver, you have probably heard about the importance of instilling leadership in your children. But how? What skills? Although the following is rather basic, as adults we sometimes just need a little reminding of how easy it really can be.
1. Independent Thinking:
Help your child break out of the “cookie cutter” mentality by teaching him/her to think independently. Ask your kids’ opinions on things, and refrain from judging or expressing your opinion. Just listen so that no opinion is “wrong.” You might share your own opinion respectfully, and if it differs, all the better – part of independent thinking is hearing several sides of an issue and coming to your own conclusions.
Age-appropriate responsibilities are important skills for building leadership. Give your child responsibilities as early as you can, and have him deal with the consequences if those responsibilities are not carried out. Of course, your child needs guidance; but once you explain what the consequences will be, sources say it’s best to let them play out. A child craves a sense of control and power over something, anything. By giving them responsibility you fulfil this inner need to feel valuable to the family unit.
Leaders need to be fair. Being too rigid and unbending is not a great way to teach your kids about fairness, but being too permissive isn’t, either. Help them to understand what is fair and what isn’t, and how sometimes being fair means being firm even when others are upset. Talk to your child about all the possible outcomes for their decisions and stand back as they quietly determine the right course of response.
Have you ever pondered on the importance of negotiation skills in leadership? Think about it: government leaders, particularly the president or prime minister, need to be well-versed in the art of negotiation. So it’s okay to discuss your child’s wants and desires – ask him to present a convincing argument as to why he thinks he should have whatever it is, or participate in an activity. And sources agree that it’s okay for a parent to allow him/herself to be “talked into” something now and then!
Teach your children how to prioritize tasks and organize their time. Show them how to use calendars to keep things straight, and explain how time is organized by prioritizing tasks. A simple way to do this to start with is to give your child a list of things that must be done before bedtime and then get them to tell you in which order they believe those tasks should be done Ask them why they think that way and congratulate them for their response (whether you agree or not!)
Have your kids make lists of what tasks they plan to complete each day and/or week. This also helps break tasks down into steps – maybe your child has a research paper due three weeks from now. Helping your child break that down into weekly and daily steps can be very helpful – not only in accomplishing the completion of the paper, but also in instilling the leadership skills of organisation and time management!
An essential trait in Leaders, expression of their goals and their vision for whatever project or task they are leading helps to share their commitment and workload with peers. Teach your kids good communication and listening skills by encouraging them to share their thoughts even if you disagree, and by actively listening yourself. (Active listening means paying full attention, nodding, smiling as your child talks on.) When a child knows that they have been heard already, they invariably feel the need to speak less! Fascinating.
Tomorrows leaders are the children of today. We all know this, and yet sometimes our lives are so busy we forget how our simple actions are manipulating their reality and future selves. Lead by example, talk calmly with your children and inspire them to be a great leader just as you are. The more time you dedicate to their mindset and growth, the faster you’ll be able to delegate your ample household chores to them and give you that time back!
And say, ah!!