Have you heard talk about teaching kids leadership skills? Whether you are a teacher, parent, or other type 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.
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 your 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 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 yourself.