Teaching your kids to be leaders

Some people are natural born leaders. Some aren’t. But that doesn’t mean that those who don’t exhibit leadership skills at an early age can’t be taught them so that one day they might lead rather than follow. The first obstacle to be aware of as a parent is the fact that typically, kids like to fit in. They don’t want to stand out as being weird or different, so often times they will do what the others do. This isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, kids learn a lot by imitating and by joining in. Understanding social norms is a good indicator that your child is on the right path. But how do you get your child to step outside of his/her shell and take the reigns every once in a while? Teaching your kids to lead rather than follow can be tricky at times. Here are a few things you can do to draw the best out of your child.

Ask thought-provoking questions and inspire critical thinking in your child. The more able he/she is to see the bigger picture, the more inspired your kid will become. The more inspired, the more driven he/she will be to lead the way into a life that will be fulfilling for him/herself and not be so hung up on what others are doing, thinking or saying. If your child seems unsure about a situation, ask tough questions to get him/her thinking about how to become surer about the situation.

Encourage assertive behavior in your child. Allow your child to entertain big ideas and try to help him/her bring those ideas to fruition. Encourage your child to start thinking big and smart at an early age. If he/she is particularly social, let him/her know it’s ok to make the first move by inviting some friends over for a party. If he/she shows an interest in politics, make sure you show him/her the best way to become a part of the student body at school. Nurture his/her talents by setting your child up for success. For instance, if he/she is not particularly good at math, maybe forcing him/her onto the math team isn’t the best idea. But if he is a natural soccer player, encourage him/her to take his abilities one step farther than just playing on a team. Maybe he/she would be interested in being the team captain, but just hasn’t had the idea suggested to him/her in the right way yet.

Allow your child to make as many decisions for him/herself as possible. The earlier he/she learns to decide and then act on a decision, the easier it will be as they grow older and have to make important life decisions for themselves. Ask you child to think about what he/she wants before consulting with others. If he/she feels strongly about something, and says it out to you and him/herself, he/she may be more apt to stick with a decision and not be swayed by others.

There’s no need to force heavy texts on global leadership or strategic management on your child at an early age. After all, who¬† masters strategic management at the age of 10? But encouraging participation in activities like group sports or debate clubs or even running for class president can instill an early sense of leadership in your child. Developing strong leadership skills is ultimately what will bang open doors and open up opportunities for you child in the future so help him/her set goals and charge toward them, no matter what others say or think.

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