Did you know that kids can start developing leadership qualities as early as their preschool years?
The sooner kids cultivate leadership skills the more opportunities for success they will have and the easier it will be for them to recognize opportunities.
Consider the following strategies to help your children take command of their lives and grow up to be more productive and happy.
Understanding the Basic Principles of Leadership
Develop emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the basis for sound leadership. Kids can work on accurately identifying specific feelings in themselves and others and managing them constructively. This way they’ll solve emotional issues more easily, get along better with others and avoid destructive behavior.
Emotional intelligence helps them to better understand how to easily communicate with different personality types.
Keep the focus on caring for others. Life is full of opportunities to serve others and recognize that we’re all connected. There are lots of easy ways to do this even with the youngest of children. Your child can make a card for a friend who is sick, make a present for a family member on their birthday, help a friend. You can also have them help in their community doing such things as creating a care package for a Veteran, collecting cans for the food pantry, or collecting school supplies for kids in need.
Take charge of your own life
Show kids they can take an active role in making things happen. Help them to understand that they create their own outcomes rather than viewing life as something that happens to them. The more they can see you show up as a leader, the more they are likely to mimic and follow your lead.
Leadership Development Strategies for Younger Children
Help your child to help himself. It’s so easy to want to order for your child at a restaurant or check the books at out the library. But by letting your child do the little things, it is adding up to big confidence and leadership. Allow him to order his own meals, run his books through the check-out scanner at the library, scan items at the store and pay for items with his own allowance.
Learn to read facial expressions
It’s important to become sensitive to non-verbal cues. Play games with your own facial expressions or you can draw pictures. Discuss how someone may look if they were preparing to eat an ice cream cone versus surprised by a loud noise.
Choose your words carefully
Encourage kids to select words that convey their affection for others. Ask them to talk about what they like about their siblings or friends.
Demonstrate that it’s fun and effective to cooperate with others. Spend time washing dishes or picking up toys together. Sign up for softball or split up into teams for playing charades.
Mind your manners
Show kids how to act appropriately in different social situations. Praise your kids for mastering basic table manners and acting as gracious hosts when you have guests in your home. This will boost their confidence in supporting the needs of others.
Leadership Development Strategies for Tweens and Teens
Engage in conversation and public speaking
Communication skills play a big part in leadership. Use family dinners as an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of current events. Presenting a report in class is valuable training for their future careers.
Kids naturally become more motivated and accomplished when they take ownership of their own goals. Present options to your kids but encourage them to choose the objectives they want to pursue. Then work with them to help them attain those goals. This will boost their confidence and create a sense of leadership.
Think like a critic
Support your child’s growing capacity for critical thought. They can evaluate their performance in different situations to identify areas where they want to improve. Even TV shows can be a trigger to discuss peer pressure and making ethical decisions. For conversation starters check out 100 Questions to Ask Your Kids After School and Get Your Kids to Talk About School.
Take on leadership tasks
Learning to motivate people and delegate tasks requires practice. Talk about taking the initiative at a summer job or internship to play a leadership role. It could be as simple as putting together a potluck family picnic.
Develop organizational skills
Young people can hone their management skills by overseeing complex projects. Appoint your teen to take charge of the logistics for a family vacation or college tour. They may even want to start a small business or charity.
Getting your kids off to a good start with leadership skills can create a better life for them and help them to become a positive influence on others. When children learn to manage themselves and get along with others, they’re better prepared for happiness and success.