The world we live in today was created and shaped by truly inspirational leaders from all walks of life. It is said that true leaders are not born but are made, as all children have the potential to develop leadership skills and this development of leadership skills is a lifelong process.
As parents, caregivers, and teachers, it is our responsibility to help instill these qualities and skills in our children for them to emerge as future leaders.
Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, and at Sherwood high we believe that this tremendous responsibility of raising the next generation of leaders should be done with absolute due diligence. At Global Charity Foundation – our educational programs offer ample opportunities for children to learn about leadership throughout the year, and we also ask parents and caregivers to help in the same.
It is by teaching our children the right values and skills while also instilling leadership qualities in them that we can make a positive impact on the world when they grow up. It is vital this quality of leadership has to be taught from a young age, as children who learn the skills of leadership from a young age are known to develop valuable qualities such as resilience, confidence, positive attitude, perseverance, commitment, willing to take on challenges, willingness to accept their mistakes and to learn and grow from those mistakes. Therefore, we will look at ways by which we can inculcate leadership qualities in our children and encourage them to be future leaders in this blog.
1. ENCOURAGE THEM TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS BY THEMSELVES:
For most of us, the first parental instinct might be to jump and provide the best solution when our children come across problems, but it is not really the right approach. Without resorting to taking control and dictating the solution, we must engage our children more actively in the whole problem-solving process.
The first thing to do, when our children face a problem, would be to ask them what they think of the problem, and what they want to do about it. When children blindly comply with the views of parents or elders, they grow up to become individuals who feel obligated to follow the directions dictated by people in power or others.
So the best thing to do when our children face problems is to let them figure it out on their own. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to leave the problem-solving to them completely. You can guide them and advise them and give suggestions if and when required.
While you are guiding them and teaching them the process of problem-solving on their own, they will be far more independent and confident while they face any problems further in their lives as well.
2. PUSH THEM TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS:
An essential quality for any leader is their decision-making ability. It is said that leadership is making wise decisions, even when it is hard. Decision-making is not an easy skill, and it does not develop overnight, as leaders have to make the toughest decisions and making the right decisions takes a lot of practice.
As parents, what you can do here is to allow your children to make small decisions on their own. Such as deciding the outfit they would like to wear for a day or what dinner they would like to have, or when they would want to go on a picnic, or what game they would like to play, et cetera.
Push them to see the benefits and drawbacks behind every decision they make, and make sure you are available when they need advice or suggestions while making a decision. As they grow older, you can give them more autonomy to make bigger and bigger decisions while teaching them to weigh the pros and cons of every option to help them make the most informed decisions possible.
The mantra is to not make the choice for them, but to show them how to evaluate the options and to make those decisions by themselves.
3. HONE THE ART OF COMMUNICATION:
One of the most important aspects of effective communication is learning to really listen to another person. Most children very often tend to respond without listening clearly to what others are saying. So by teaching children to listen clearly and to understand the other person’s viewpoints and perspectives before responding is essential.
Mastering the art of communication is one of the most important skills that leaders require. As James Humes rightly said, “The art of communication is the language of leadership”.
Always make sure that your children are comfortable to speak their mind, whether they are around you or not. Instill that confidence by letting them take calls from delivery executives, or by encouraging them to place their own orders at the restaurants or sharing their opinions and reviews about a book or a movie on a regular basis.
Take some time alone to communicate with your children every day and make sure that you listen to them fully without the interference of mobile phones or background disturbances.
Once your children get the confidence to share their thoughts and opinions with you, it will further encourage them to speak freely even in your absence, as you have made them feel that their opinions and thoughts are valued. By doing this, you will not only help your children speak well but also make them a good listener, so that their overall communication skills will be on point.
4. TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO WORK IN A TEAM:
We encourage children to take part in multiple sports activities and group projects as a way for children to work as a team and build team spirit. We strongly believe that group activities like these teach children the necessary skills for collaborating, and values such as sharing.
Whether at school or otherwise, encourage your children to take part in team play or activities. It is while working with a team that children will understand the hierarchy of the team, and will learn the essential value of patience while awaiting their own turn.
A quality of a good leader is that they are willing to learn from others. As part of a team, children learn to work with others, while also developing good camaraderie with their team members and build good team spirit.
It is through teamwork that children will learn the essential attributes of working together and cooperating with others, and by seeing their team as one with themselves, they will be focused on team effort and understand that winning for the team, than as an individual is so much more fun.
5. ENCOURAGE CHILDREN TO LOOK FOR LEADERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:
As parents, most of us feel the need to protect our children and not want to burden them with responsibilities. While what we are trying to do may seem harmless, the result of this can be that our children grow into adults who shun responsibilities or are ill-equipped to handle them or take charge when an opportunity presents itself.
Good leaders are those who take up responsibilities and are willing to take charge. Leadership opportunities can be available at school, at home, in the housing community, during play, or at their support Center, family events, and so on.
You can start by encouraging them to be in charge of managing and planning a specific event. It could be something as simple as finishing their homework as a planned activity or delegating specific parts of their home chores to their siblings and finishing it together as a team, or planning and organizing a small birthday party and so on.
An important thing to keep in mind is to not criticize their efforts when they are in the learning process, even if the end product may not be perfect.
Apart from the above-mentioned points, always remember to encourage your children to dream big as grand visions make great leaders. This will help children see things from a unique perspective or in a manner that others would not have considered. Be a source of continuous encouragement for your children, help them, guide them, and advise them to take the necessary steps to make their dreams a reality.
Remember that as a parent, you are going to be the most important teacher your child will ever have.
As all children look up to their parents the most, no matter how different every child may be. So show the importance of practical leadership by setting a good example, be it in your role as a parent, a mentor, or as a professional, and so on.