Leadership skills mostly come naturally. However, even kids who appear to be natural leaders need proper guidance and practice to develop their leadership skills. Nevertheless, even if your kid does not seem to be a future leader, the practices mentioned below can surely set your child apart from the crowd.
If you can point out signs in your child to be a leader, you should surely nurture the child leadership qualities in your kid. Thus, before we discuss about how to raise a leader, let us first elaborate the signs that indicate your child to be a leader.
Six Signs Your Child is a Leader
Time and again, leaders have been showing certain qualities since their childhood. Thus, if you think your kid possesses some or all of the following signs, you probably should not waste time and start working on ‘how to raise a child to be a leader’.
Leaders generally talk a lot. This is because they have excellent communication skills. Therefore, if your kid’s long chatters make you crazy, then hold on. Your kid might be on his way to becoming a great leader.
2. Good Listener:
Communication is a two-way process and one who doesn’t listen patiently cannot be a good communicator. Listening is an essential aspect of communication between any two people or parties. If your child listens carefully and patiently before talking a lot and giving his version, then you should start working on developing leadership skills in your child right now.
Kids with leadership qualities are responsible for a very young age. They do not need constant poking to finish their homework or clean the mess of their toys or managing their room. They are self-sufficient and have an inner drive to motivate them to accomplish their daily tasks.
4. Good Decision-makers:
One of the most important attributes of a true leader is that he is a good decision-maker. Tough situations do not give much stress to them. Kids who can decide on their own since a young age have the aptitude to become a leader. If your kid can prioritize his interests between playing and studying or between what subjects to focus more, you can anticipate a future leader in him.
5. Full of Empathy:
Kids with leadership traits can empathize with their friends or family. They are also peacekeepers and thus try to resolve issues by considering both sides of an issue without any bias. This skill makes a leader great as he has the ability to weigh the two sides of a story equally and navigate the world of relationships much better.
A leader wants to know everything happening around him, whether it is within his team or outside. A true leader is not afraid of asking questions. He wants to know more and more before driving himself to any conclusion. He has a true desire to add things to his knowledge bank. If your child is inquisitive about everything that he sees, then start raising him as a leader.
How to Raise a Leader, Not a Follower
1. Introduce them to Sports:
Explore your kid’s interest in any of the team sports and encourage them to take it up. While playing sports, kids learn to accept defeat, teamwork, and being flexible for the betterment of the team. Playing as a team, whether it is for sports, school projects, or work; is as important for the leader, as it is for the other members of the team.
Many kids do not have an inclination towards sports. Thus, they ultimately drop out within some years. However, the goal here is not to force your child to play the sport, but to learn an essential leadership skill, that is, teamwork and flexibility.
2. Conversation skills:
Communicating a timely and correct message to the team is very important for a leader. The language, however, is not essential here. Therefore, when we say that you should teach effective communication skills to raise a child to be a leader, we want you to focus on clarity, assertiveness, attentiveness, and voice-modulation.
Explain to your child about different types of communications and voice-modulations required for them – assertive (firm and clear), interrogatory (questioning someone), aggressive (loud and imposing), passive (fearful), and authoritative (commanding). Explain the importance and role-play situations to give them a demo of each of these types of communications.
A leader ought to understand the non-verbal cues as well during his communication with someone. Body language is an essential component of communication. Therefore, also teach your kid how to understand the unsaid words through the body language of the person while communicating.
3. Develop Negotiation Skills:
Compromising in certain circumstances is necessary. However, it is the leader who can decide for the team how much they can give up to get something in return. This is called negotiation skills. It is imperative for a successful leader to hone negotiation skill.
To build the ability to negotiate, never give your child a firm ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Give them a hint that you are ready for a counter and ask them to try to convince you. Explain them negotiation skills by reducing their household chore in exchange of a reduced screen-time or play-time.
4. Polish Decision-making Skills:
Allow your kids, even when they are toddlers, to decide for themselves or sometimes even for the whole family (at least for the things that don’t harm them). For example, involve them in deciding what the family should have for dinner. Give them two or three options to decide. Let them decide whether they want to go for a picnic or to a friend’s place on a Sunday.
Gradually give your kids some tougher decisions to make. Tell them how to weigh the pros and cons of an option before making a decision. The most essential task at a leader’s hand is to take the decision for the whole team. Hence, to raise a child to be a leader, it is crucial to hone this skill.
Moreover, kids should also know that decision-making is more than just a power. It is a great responsibility and that whether the result is right or wrong, they should be able to take its full responsibility.
5. Avoid Procrastination:
This is important as well as a difficult thing to teach a kid. We all procrastinate one or the other thing at some point in our lives. However, when it is made a habit, it can hinder a person’s growth. Further, if that person is a leader, his procrastinating habit becomes a growth obstacle for the whole team.
Therefore, kids should be taught from a very young age about the dangers of procrastinating tasks at their hand. The best way to initiate this is by making them understand the difference between important and urgent. Urgent things should never be delayed and important ones should be accomplished on time to avoid making them urgent.
For example, completing homework is an urgent thing to do by a kid but revising the lessons taught in the school is important. Tell them that completing homework is urgent else, they will be punished in the school. However, revising the lessons taught in the school is important because if they procrastinate revising it every day, it will be super urgent for them after a month. Moreover, during exams, he will have huge syllabus to revise but very limited time at hand, thereby, making revision a very urgent task that will probably not be completed at the eleventh hour.
6. Failure Acceptance:
A common scenario in a normal household while playing carom would be to let the child win and make his day. However, if you want to teach your child to be a leader, not a follower, then you will have to let go of this kind of scenario.
Do not let your child win every game that you play. When you win and your child loses the game, tell him that you are happy with his attempt for winning the game and that he was a tough competition. Also, make him understand that it is more important to play, rather than to win.
At a school sports event or in a project competition, encourage your child to give his best. However, do not be sad if he loses. Your disappointment will reflect in your child for years. Therefore, lead by example and show him that you are genuinely happy with his sincere attempt.
7. Avoid Spoon-feeding:
When we see our kids struggling with their creative assignments or homework, we usually end up helping them to ease their problem. However, what we do not realize is that we are actually spoon-feeding them. When we help our kids in every small issue, we are actually snatching the opportunity from them to resolve their own issues and learn from their mistakes.
When you help him, your child may get good score but would not learn anything that a small mistake might have taught him. Instead, the best practice would be to discuss the obstacles and mistakes that he faced and alternatives that he would have used to cope up with those problems.
8. Teach Patience:
Children, by nature, are very impatient. Teaching your child patience might need ten times more patience from your end. However, with a lot of perseverance and patience, it is possible to teach your kids about patience.
Patience, combined with perseverance, is a vital trait of a leader. Managing the whole team, deciding and communicating the short and long term goals to the team and then motivating the team through the journey is after all a tough job. Driving the whole team together in the same direction of success isn’t a cake walk.
Take up some activity that needs the patience to show the result. It might be a long drive to reach a town that your kid wanted to visit, planting a tree, baking a cake, fishing, or a scrapbook activity. The idea is to intentionally take up a chore that would take longer than your kid has anticipated and then you teach him that the result of patience is always good.
9. Allow Them Plan Events:
Planning for family get-togethers, trips and events gives a lot of confidence to kids. Whether it is a birthday party, a picnic to country, a family trip, or even a small get-together, involve your child in the planning process.
Sit together with your child and brainstorm about the guest list, menu, decoration, and groceries to be bought in case of a get-together, or itinerary, cities to be visited, and travel check-list in case of a trip.
Consider every such event as a business project and allow your kid to take the lead for things he can (as per his age). Children not only enjoy this but also gather a lot of experience, exposure, and confidence from this.
10. Enhance Emotional Intelligence:
A leader has to play the role of a conflict resolver. Sometimes, there are conflicts in a team that involve the leader himself. In such scenarios, the leader needs to have empathy and high emotional intelligence to tackle the matter.
Moreover, when a leader leads a team, he also builds relationships with the team members. Thus, it becomes difficult for a leader with low emotional quotient to resolve the conflict impartially. Hence, a leader should have high emotional quotient to handle such grave issues.
Explain your kid about emotions, such as empathy and sympathy. Explain them the difference between personal and professional relationships. Make them understand how to keep ethics and moral above everything else.
This is only achievable when your kid talks about his problems with you and you both discuss a lot about emotions. There is no particular day or event when your kid will instantly understand all of this. It is a gradual constructive process that will take years to nurture a deeply rooted emotional intelligence.
11. Enrol in a Summer Camp:
Summer camps are places where kids meet numerous other kids. Such camps are a place where group activities are very common and teamwork plays a major role. Older kids get a chance to mentor groups of smaller kids.
Additionally, some summer camps also take older kids as counsellors for the younger ones. Therefore, your older child gets a good chance to practice his leadership qualities over a group of younger kids. Moreover, parents-free-life at summer camps allows kids to suddenly become mature and self-dependent.