9 Ways to Encourage Leadership From a Young Age
Being an adult is a tough job indeed. Getting a job, paying the bills, getting married, having a kid, retirement- the list never ends. However, with age, a lot of things become clearer.
Parenthood, for instance, is one of the most taxing yet rewarding experiences of life. Every parent has the same goal- to raise children who grow up to be successful and kind. However, there is no yardstick to proper parenting.
The world is in shambles, with the ecosystem crumbling, income disparity widening and people becoming more intolerant. It is the next generation that holds the power to change things. Teach your kids to build a better world, be better people, and fix the damage that we have propagated.
There are no set formulas to raise the perfect child. Give the child the space to make their own decisions. The most you can do is motivate, educate, and support them. A good leader is not just assertive, but also sensitive, helpful, intelligent, reliable, and willful.
Here are some tips to instill these qualities in your child:
1. Develop their Cognitive Abilities
Cognitive abilities are not limited to academic success. It refers to the natural intelligence of the child. How well can your young one understand concepts? How are their analytical abilities? How do they fare when faced with a problem? These are some of the things that you need to instill in your child.
Schoolwork does play an important part of this. However, there are other ways of boosting the cognitive skills of an individual. Introduce them to different perspectives and alternatives and then encourage them to make an independent decision.
2. Nurture Empathy
Being emotional or sensitive is not a sign of weakness. Empathy is when an individual makes a conscious attempt to truly understand what the other person is going through. Encourage them to be kind, generous and helpful to those around them.
A good leader is not just someone who has access to all the resources. They are someone who knows how to use the said resources in a manner which benefits everyone. Also, instill self-reliance and an independent streak in kids. This can help them overcome the negativity around them.
“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
3. Technical Expertise
Technology has usurped almost every aspect of our life. It has changed the way we commute, communicate, and conduct business. In such a scenario, it would be foolish to keep your child away from social media and gadgets. You should definitely censor their exposure and check their online activity. However, give them the space to explore the virtual space and experiment with the various tools out there. Help your child understand how the internet works.
4. Encourage Curiosity and Questioning
Kids are inherently very curious about their surroundings. You might often notice young children questioning the notions and concepts that we otherwise take for granted. It is this creativity and innovation that makes them truly creative and unorthodox.
Don’t let the questioning spirit of your young one wither away. Instead, encourage them to ask more questions, but in a more rational and structured way. Over time, most kids are conditioned to think and act in a certain way. Don’t force your opinions on your kid, and encourage them to develop their own views over time.
5. Build Communication Abilities
Great oratory skills and a strong command of language is another virtue that most great leaders possess. Motivate your child to read as much as they can. This helps develop their vocabulary from an early age. The treasure trove of words and the knowledge of their correct application can go a long way.
Language is a great manipulative tool that can be used to move the masses. Great leaders are known for addressing large groups and putting forth their points confidently and assertively.
6. Practice Team Building
A good leader is never born in isolation. He always has the support of the masses. One of the most important skills for a leader is teamwork and diplomacy. Encourage your child to be active in group activities in school. Also, enroll them in several extracurricular activities and debates for that extra confidence boost.
Leadership is not about forcing other people or dominating other people. It is about representing their perspectives, opinions and working for the common good of all.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch
7. Motivate Them to Negotiate
Children who grow up with a diverse set of friends from different ethnicities and communities are often tolerant and accepting. By introducing them to different cultures and groups you are normalizing the differences that otherwise divide people.
This same concept also helps develop their communication abilities and interpersonal skills. Your child is better equipped to negotiate with different groups and crack deals that are mutually beneficial. Bargaining is a life skill that everyone should be equipped with. In a consumerist society, it is a survival hack that would take your kids a long way.
8. Set a Good Example
Children learn more by imitating the actions of their guardians than by sermons. If you want to inculcate good habits in your child, you have to lead by example.
Show them how to be good orators. Be good, kind, generous people. Be more tolerant and accepting. Be strong, assertive, active and willful in your everyday dealings with people. Also, learn to take initiative, be active in raising your voice when needed. Treat everyone with basic respect, equality and credibility. Kids are more likely to learn by imitating their elders than by listening to what they say.
9. Encourage Perseverance
Perseverance is another quality that kids should develop from a young age. Encourage the never-give-up attitude in children. Let them fail and then learn from their failures.
Life is not always a bed of roses, and there will be times when things won’t work out the way you would want them to. It is when times are trying that you are truly tested. Encourage your child to break free from their comfort zone. Motivate them to take risks, experiment, try new things and be brave in the face of adversity.
Good leaders are neither completely logical nor overtly sensitive. It is a combination of these two qualities that make for a likeable personality. Leaders are not to be feared, but respected for their work. Children are especially influential and malleable. Ensure that you inculcate these skills and qualities from an early age to help them become successful leaders of the future.
What do you think is the most important trait to encourage in younger individuals? Share your ideas below!
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