When you think of a leader, what qualities and skills come to mind?
In my (most humble) opinion, a good leader:
- Can see the big picture as well as the small details.
- Can come up with a solid plan for accomplishing goals.
- Has the focus necessary to implement plans.
- Can inspire others to want to do better and to act on their goals.
- Can communicate with others in a clear manner.
- Is not afraid to take risks and make changes where necessary.
These skill and traits come in handy throughout life as we work towards personal goals, join the workforce, and navigate all sorts of relationships. Equipping our children with these leadership skills can improve their quality of life drastically. Here are a few simple ways that you can start encouraging these skills in your children.
Set a Good Example
One easy way that you can teach your child how to be a good leader is for YOU to be a good leader. Let your family know your personal goals and celebrate with them when you reach them. Be an encouragement to your family as they work towards their goals. Emphasize to your kids and your partner that you are all part of a team and that you must work together to make things happen.
Give Them Opportunities to Practice Their Communication Skills
Encourage your child to speak up when they have something that they want to say. Teach them that their voice and their mind are powerful tools that they should use frequently. One simple way to give them a chance to clearly communicate what they want is to let them speak to other adults in situations where the adult would normally (though not necessarily) speak to you. For example, if you go out to eat as a family, allow your children to place their orders with the waiter instead of you ordering for them. This is something that is so simple, but it really helps to build your kids’ ability to communicate clearly as well as their confidence in doing so.
Let Them Practice Making Decisions
In addition to giving your kids the opportunity to communicate, you should also give them more and more opportunities to make decisions. You can start small by letting them choose between a few options for small things like what they will wear and what they have as a snack. Then, as they get older, let them choose between more options and for bigger things. The more practice they have with making decisions, the easier it will be when they go out into the real world.
Create Vision Boards as a Family
Creating vision boards can be a fun and creative way to display your life and business goals. I recommend everyone who needs a bit of clarity create one each year. However, it’s not just an activity for adults – the kids can get in on the fun as well. Collect a bunch of magazines (I know you have some laying around) and gather up an array of crafting materials (poster boards, scissors, glue, tape, markers, crayons, pencils, etc.) then get to work crafting a vision board. You can put together one vision board with the entire family or each member can put together their own board (or you could do both). This exercise helps kids learn to focus on goals. Then, once you have created your vision boards, you can take time to pick 1-3 goals to focus on and create a plan to accomplish each one. Throughout the year, you can refer to your vision boards discuss your progress, and come up with plans to accomplish more of the goals.
Have Family Game Night
Does your family have a collection of board games just waiting to be played? Make use of them! Board games can be a great way to practice working on a team. They also help encourage good sportsmanship, a healthy sense of competition, and teach kids how to strategize to achieve a goal – all of which are key leadership skills.
Encourage Them to Be Active in Team Activities
Another simple way to encourage your child’s leadership skills is to have them join in on a variety of team activities. Activities such as sports, debate teams, 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and many other extracurricular activities provide children with ample opportunities to work with others, resolve conflicts, and work towards goals. They may even have the chance to gain leadership roles within these organizations.
Resist the Urge to Solve Their Problems
Finally, resist the urge to step in and resolve conflicts for them. I know it can be difficult seeing your child struggle to overcome obstacles, but if you do it for them all the time, they will never learn to do it for themselves. Feel free to keep an eye on situations in case it becomes necessary for you to step in, but give them the space and time to try to come up with their own solution. You may be surprised by what they are able to achieve when they are left to their own devices.
These are just a few examples of things you can do to instill leaderships skills in your kids. Do you have any suggestions of your own? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.