Creating a Leader In Your Children
Signs That Your Child May Be a Strong Leader
Is your child a strong leader? Do you suspect that he or she might grow up to be an effective and proactive leader? Or maybe you aren’t sure what to look for. Still, others might wonder why bother – does it matter if you discover leadership abilities early? Actually, some sources say it does matter. Observing leadership qualities early means parents, teachers, and caregivers can work to develop those talents so they do not fall by the wayside.
If you want to make sure you develop your child’s leadership qualities, here are some signs to watch for. Some of them may surprise you!
- Talkative: Does it sometimes drive you crazy that your child talks so much? Actually, being talkative may be a sign of things to come. A chatty nature indicates a child with excellent verbal skills, which are important for good leaders. Did your child talk early and proficiently? This may be a sign that he or she will be a good leader.
- Treats Others with Respect: If you notice that your child seems to end up in responsible positions – team captain, for instance, or band director – and you know he didn’t get that position because of “muscling” his way to the top or bullying others, then this may be a sign of leadership ability. Notice if your child seems to have others “gravitate” toward her and wish to emulate her. Take note as to whether or not this is due to respectful treatment. If it is, you may have a strong leader on your hands.
- Sees Both Sides: Some kids exhibit an ability to understand both sides of an issue. They tend to be peacekeepers, helping two arguing kids to see reason, for instance.
- In the Know: Does your child always know what’s going on? Is he or she always aware of the latest happening at school or in the family? This is not the same as being a gossip (that’s not a good leadership quality), but it does mean that he or she is paying attention and interested in what’s going on with others.
- Inquisitive: A good leader is not afraid to ask questions, but he/she is not afraid to go looking for answers on his own, either. Too much questioning may indicate self-doubt – your child is always trying to make sure about things – but healthy questions that spring from a true desire to know more about something may be a sign of leadership ability.
How to Create a Home Environment That Instills Leadership in Kids
As parents and caregivers, we often want to create an environment at home that will be conducive to instilling leadership. But how? Instilling leadership can take many forms, and of course, your individual family dynamic comes into play. But generally speaking, here are some tips on how to create a home environment that fosters leadership in your children.
Have a Routine: You may think that having a routine is creating followers by telling them what to do and when to do it. But actually, having a routine is alleged to encourage leadership, because it provides security and a model of order and predictability. A good leader is not fickle – he or she is self-controlled and fairly predictable so that those who are followers are certain of where they’re going.
Routines also teach organization, another important leadership skill. Organizing time is crucial if your kids are going to grow up to inspire others to follow. Include your kids in the development of your schedule and calendar, and show them how time is organized and tasks and activities are prioritized.
Clear Boundaries: As leaders, your kids will need to be able to define and enforce boundaries. Having clear boundaries in your home helps make expectations clear and lets your kids know how far they can go before they cross over. They will learn how to be fair and firm when boundaries are crossed, especially if you take care to consider the situation before enacting consequences. Not all boundary violations are the same, in other words.
To be good leaders, kids need to learn when to be firm (such as when a boundary is blatantly ignored) and when to be lenient (such as when a boundary is crossed accidentally). Including your kids when you develop boundaries and consequences is another way to create a leader-building environment.
Appreciate: When your kids do a job well, let them know. Give them positive feedback so they will learn how to give it themselves when they grow up to be leaders. A good leader knows when to pat followers on the back and appreciate their efforts.
Chores: Yes, having a chore list is something that parents may dread, or they may have heard about it and just don’t think it will “fly” in their family. But chores are one of the first ways that kids learn to be a part of the family “team,” and being part of a team is an important way to learn leadership.
Chores can be delegated depending on age and ability, and you can certainly include your kids in making the chore list. To keep motivation, have rewards for chores that are done well and on time. In fact, chores can be a way to earn privileges – your chore list can have two columns, one for chores and one for the privileges each chore earns.
6 Leadership Skills to Teach Kids
Have you heard talk about teaching kids’ leadership skills? Whether you are a teacher, parent, or other types of caregiver, you have probably heard about the importance of instilling leadership. But how? What skills? Following is a basic list of leadership skills you can teach kids.
- 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.
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.
Have you thought about the importance of negotiation skills in leadership? Think about it: government leaders, particularly the president, 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!
Being organized is key to good leadership. 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.
In the category of an organization is also the concept of making lists. 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 completing of the paper but also in instilling the leadership skill of organization.
This is essential for leadership. Leaders must express their goals and their vision for whatever project or task they are leading. They can’t expect others to read their minds! Teach your kids good communication and listening skills by encouraging them to share their thoughts even if you disagree, and by actively listening to yourself.
There are all sorts of things you can do to build a home environment that fosters leadership. Don’t be afraid to be creative, and remember to include your kids and give them age-appropriate responsibilities. It All Starts With You!
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