If there is one constant about life, it is change. As young people learn to navigate the world around them, success in any domain is driven by personal growth. When we become a leader, success is driven by helping others with their growth. American author, John Maxwell, wrote, “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
Positional vs Personal Leadership
Positional leadership exists when folks “have to” align forces due to authority afforded by title. Levels of compliance range from acceptance to indifference to reluctance to resentment. Personal leadership exists when people “want to” align forces. Driven by trust and respect, levels of buy-in range from acceptance to eagerness to excitement to passion.
Characteristics of All Good Leaders
Trust is the bedrock of leadership. American author, Stephen Covey, wrote, “Trust is the highest form of human motivation. It brings out the very best in people.” Our beliefs and values establish the foundation for our leadership journey. Dependability and reliability are easy. Be on time, always. Did we say we are going to do something? Do it. Period.
Leaders set the tone as a thermostat, not a thermometer. Good leadership recognizes that tasks, people, and missions are different. Flexibility is usually better than rigidity; leaders should have the right attitude, keep morale high, and be capable of adjusting their approach to every situation.
Relationships truly matter. American statesman, Teddy Roosevelt, said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Sometimes, a leader might need to be a follower. If a team is best served with the boss in the trenches, embrace servant leadership. Find opportunities for teammates to shine, drastically improving the likelihood of mission success. In the face of uncertainty, great leaders courageously and confidently inspire innovation, uniting teams with creativity, purpose, and direction.
Helping Children Develop Leadership Skills
While some people are naturally inclined towards taking the lead, the gifts are leadership are not limited to a select few. With dedication, self-awareness, and a commitment to personal development, anyone can learn and cultivate effective leadership skills.
In today’s ever-increasing digital marketplace, children are spending more time with screens and less time developing the soft skills that are so crucial to leadership success. The children who develop leadership skills today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Click here for a 40-week curriculum to introduce leadership concepts for kids ages 6 to 12.
Support people up with words and actions, be reliable, and teach children to do the same. Children are always watching; mothers who concentrate on developing their own leadership skills provide a model for kids to observe and imitate. If we are wronged by someone, take the high road. When we are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Teach that we are all learning and growing every day and that mistakes and failures are part of the process. Teach conscientious responsibility and macro-level accountability. American author and Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink, wrote in his book, Extreme Ownership, “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”
By allowing children to choose what to wear, what to eat, and who to play with, we introduce both autonomy and consequences. Allow young children to decide between two choices. As decisiveness improves, gradually propose more options. The act of making a choice promotes independence, builds self-confidence, and strengthens decision-making capabilities.
Teach Active Listening, Communication Skills, & Emotional Intelligence
Active listening, communication skills, and emotional intelligence are three of the most important tools in a leader’s toolbelt. When children misbehave, spark an open-ended conversation about how feelings and behavior are connected, helping them discover, clarify, and internalize the “why.” Mention real-life examples of people using soft skills to solve problems; help kids grasp the importance of good communication.
Find opportunities to help children learn to negotiate. If they concede too quickly, coach them to learn how their approach may have left them shortchanged. If they demand too much, explain reasons how and why their requests might be considered unreasonable.
As children learn to communicate, collaborate, and rely on each other, they can achieve bigger goals. Good teamwork instills leadership qualities.
Teach Entrepreneurial and Growth Mindsets
People with entrepreneurial mindsets tend to question the status quo. In the face of adversity and complexity, conventional approaches to problem-solving may prove unsuccessful. Outside-the-box thinking can lead to unconventional—yet effective—solutions. When children combine entrepreneurial thinking with a growth mindset, they learn to see failure as an opportunity to persevere, regroup, and move forward from a more informed perspective. Consider banning children from saying, “I can’t,” and instead, encourage them to choose words that frame their hopes not from the perspective of lack, but from the perspective of potential.
Children are naturally curious, ambitious, and enthusiastic. Sadly, these characteristics tend to fade as kids get older. As children encounter challenges, avoid telling them what to do; allow them to solve their own problems. Stand back and ask open-ended questions, provoke their creativity and resourcefulness to take the lead with exploration and discovery. Discuss the world around them, such as current events and the perspectives of people who think differently. American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Friends, Mentors, & Reading
American businessman, Jim Rohn, popularized the cliché, “You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.” Explain the importance of making and keeping the right friends, along with the perils of making and keeping the wrong friends. When children show interest in a certain subject, we can introduce a mentor or suggest an author who has thrived in that discipline. Remember, reading is fundamental. Wisdom from masters of yesteryear has been recorded in readily accessible books for our benefit—opening our minds to new possibilities that expand our world.
Ask Them to Say Grace
Provide some basic guidance and ask children to say the blessing ahead of family mealtime, showing appreciation for the gifts of family and food. As they become more comfortable, all they’ll need is a nod from mom and they’ll take the lead.
When giving of time and treasure, talk about why we help others more than what we do. Ask children to consider ways they can make the world around them a better place.
As the world around us changes, every soul is responsible for assuming leadership over their own circumstances. This truth from American author, John C. Maxwell, is undeniable: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” By reading the right books and practicing the lessons learned, any child—any person—can become a leader. The lifelong journey of true leadership mastery produces lifelong rewards.
“But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:26-28 KJV
Packed with fun illustrations and 100 words every boss baby should know, forget apple and dog. Get ready for revenue, philanthropy, and innovation.
From the bestselling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Covey illustrates how his principles of leadership can apply to children of all ages.
Its not enough for a leader to have vision, energy, drive, and conviction. If you want to see your dream come to fruition, you must learn how to develop the leaders around you.
Detailing the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply them to any team, family or organization.
In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams are doomed to infighting, fragmentation, and failure. Leaders Eat Last explores the all-important “Why.”
A guided journal to help kids cultivate authentic leadership skills such as Confidence, Self-Awareness, Grit, and Gratitude!
Maxwell outlines principles for inspiring, motivating, and influencing others from any type of leadership position—including as a business executive, a church leader, a teacher, or even a parent.
Start with Why shows that the leaders who have had the greatest influence in the world all think, act and communicate the same way. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Primal Leadership vividly illustrates the power—and the necessity—of leadership that is self-aware, collaborative, empathic, and motivating in today’s economically volatile and technologically complex world.
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Mothers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.