Every kid has the potential to be a leader in some area of his or her life. Leaders come from a wide variety of backgrounds and have a large range of personalities; some are outgoing and friendly, and others calm and subtle. Many successful leaders have learned their leadership skills from the influence of mentors. As a parent, you will have opportunities every day to be a role model to your children and instill leadership traits in them.
Here are 15 easy ways to develop leadership skills in your kids:
1. Volunteer together
Getting out of the daily grind and spending time serving humanity together will build your relationship with your kids, and expand both of your perspectives on the world. Your children will see firsthand what the needs are in your local community. Tell them about the significant impact they can make in the world by volunteering to help those in need.
2. Teach communication skills
Show them how you celebrate joyfully with others. Let them see you praise people generously and disagree with others respectfully. Help young kids name their emotions by saying things such as “Are you mad because your brother took your toy?” or “Are you frustrated because your tower tipped over?” Nurture their efforts to communicate with others; being an effective leader requires the ability to build relationships, inspire others, and communicate effectively.
3. Encourage them to blaze their own trail
Your children are not you. Remembering that they are unique individuals and supporting them as they pursue their passions and strengths will help them develop into leaders. Your kids may have completely different interests than yours; encourage your children to pursue the lives of their dreams, not the lives of YOUR dreams. When your kids have unconventional ideas, brainstorm together to help them turn their wishes into action.
4. Nurture an entrepreneurial spirit
Help your kids make posters for their lemonade stand and flyers for their lawn mowing business. Assist them with formulating a sales pitch and let them practice saying it to you.
5. Set financial goals with them
In the book “Rich Kid Smart Kid,” author Robert Kiyosaki discusses setting financial goals with your children and helping them form a plan to achieve their goals. Kiyosaki states, “The self-esteem that is built when they achieve those goals is priceless.”
6. Surround them with leaders
Jim Rohn, a businessman, said “You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.” Explain the importance of choosing friends wisely. Also, help your kids seek out positive, successful role models. If your child shows interest in a certain subject, find a mentor who is thriving in that area.
Stress the importance of being an excellent listener. Successful leaders have excellent listening skills and seek to understand others.
8. Promote a “How can I?” rather than an “I can’t” mentality
Promoting a “How can I?” rather than an “I can’t” mentality will boost your kid’s self-esteem and inspire him or her to continue to dream big. When your child is struggling with something and wants to give up, it’s easy to want to jump in and save the day. However, standing back and asking questions, such as, “Do you think there’s another way you could do that?” will help your child use creativity to solve problems, a very important skill for a successful life.
9. Encourage perseverance
It’s hard to watch your kid have his heart broken by his first crush, lose a championship game, or fail a test. But those are the teachable moments that can impact your child for life. One of the best skills you can teach your child is the ability to regroup and move forward.
10. Teach negotiation skills
Give them opportunities to negotiate with others for win-win solutions, starting at home.
11. Model integrity and accountability
Show them how you build others up with your words and actions. Keep your word. Be there for others and teach your kids to do the same. And as difficult as it can be, do your best to take the high road when you are wronged by others. Point out to your kids the importance of admitting their mistakes.
12. Promote teamwork
Participation in team activities gives kids opportunities to develop valuable traits that will benefit them their whole lives. Teamwork helps kids learn to cooperate with others, support their teammates, aim toward a common goal, control their emotions, communicate effectively, and do their share of work when others are relying on them.
14. Give them choices
Offer young kids the option of choosing between items such as two healthy snacks or two sippy cups. As your kids get older, gradually give options requiring more thought. Giving your kids choices helps them feel they’re in control of situations, and fosters their decision-making capabilities, which helps them build confidence.
15. Emphasize the value of reading
Reading opens kids’ minds to new possibilities and expands their world.