Just like the saying ‘leaders are not born they are made’, leadership is an ability that can be acquired by learning skills. The great leaders work hard and eventually develop skills to become a good leader.
Children’s definition of leadership is quite different from adults. However, more often they develop this quality from childhood itself. Teamwork, commitment, self-responsibility, taking up initiation, negotiation skill, and communication are the basic requirements to enhance leadership skills among children.
How do parents can enhance these skills in children?
Children spend most of their time at school, and also it is one of the greatest platform to showcase leadership skill as it provides umpteen number of chances to exhibit the same. Children can be a class representative, project leader or study group leader. Usually children learn from seeing, listening or even by imitating. It is important for parents to teach their children about how do team work, and self-responsibility actually work in school set up. For example when the child talks about group project of a particular subject you need to understand whether he/she has taken initiation, and is interested in doing the task or that the work is distributed equally among team members. If children encounter any issues give them enough examples to solve the issues.
Leadership is not about ordering instead doing the task together
It’s a common human nature that when they get power, they like to control others. The same thing goes among children. Once they get a chance to monitor the class or become a team leader unknowingly strong children try to dominate others or passive children like to withdraw from the task. But actually both are wrong. Children are not told how to respond to different situations. Leadership is not about shouting, or exaggerating the mistakes of others instead communicating in a proper way to solve the problem.
Teach them empathy and communication skills
By nature children are competitive when it comes completing the task assigned individually from the teacher. When a child becomes the team leader he/she only concentrates about completing the task. In this process he/she might choose different styles like coaching, demanding or requesting team members. Sometimes these styles may not work so they might get into personal fights and quarrels. The essential quality for a true leader is that he/she has to be empathetic, and only then they would be able to analyse the situation. For instance a team leader instead of yelling at other child to complete the writing task without understanding the situation that he/she has problem with eye sight. Here it is about being empathetic and thus the leader can choose to shift the child to first row or convince other children to help the child while writing. Convincing other children includes communication skill. In this process the leader need to use gentle words to make other children help the problematic child. Instead of words like “You Should “or “You Must”, the leader can use “Can we all” or “Let us join our hands together.”
Give them enough examples by taking real life scenarios.
Leaders are responsible
Responsibility can be acquired by becoming self-sufficient. Children need to learn to do their task without being told. Doing their homework, folding clothes, helping in household chores or other simple tasks make them self-disciplined. When children learn these qualities they become aware about the entire structure of the task. Only then that they can guide others in a proper way.
However children do learn these skills by repeating the daily routine. You can’t be leader within a day.
Talk about never give up attitude
When children encounter situations where they have problems to solve many give up. This doesn’t mean that they are weak but they are not told how to tackle problematic situations. Problems like bullying, discrimination among gender or targeting/blackmailing are mostly solved with the help of teachers. But children sometimes feel fear, cry or stay away from these situations. But a true leader can solve these issues only when he/she has confidence or is aware about the never give up attitude. When children learn to solve these issues by themselves they eventually develop leadership skill. Hence parents can often talk about never give up attitude through stories or by giving real life examples.
However, you don’t have to be loud all the time to reach the crowd, but you need to be understanding, empathetic and good communicator to convey your thoughts.
Image by Sasin Tipchai