When you think about our children as our future, do you take time to consider if we’re raising leaders or blind followers? Sure, not everyone will grow up to be President one day, nor should everyone want to. But as parents, I think it’s important that we focus on raising leaders so that in the areas where our kids need to take a stand, they can do so confidently and competently.
Good leadership skills are important for being successful personally and professionally. Teaching your children how to develop leadership skills will serve them now and later in life.
Key Strategies for Raising Leaders
Haven’t you always heard “a leader is born, not made”? What if that weren’t true? What if you could help your child become a good leader?
There are qualities of a leader that you can encourage them to develop. Here are some simple strategies for raising leaders.
The first leadership skill is integrity. Parents are great role models and, as such, need to show good moral character. Speak with your kids about right and wrong and find books that represent integrity in action to use as examples.
Another fundamental leadership quality is courage. When your kids are showing courage, take note of it and praise it.
Storytelling is also beneficial in this instance. Give them examples from history about people being brave in the face of fear and how they overcame it.
Also, talk to your kids about their fears and discuss ways to overcome them. For younger children, this courage printable is a really helpful tool.
Creative, independent thinking is important because you want them to be their own person. If they choose to follow the crowd, it would be because they chose to and not because they are being led like a sheep.
To help develop this leadership skill, you need to ask open-ended questions to force them to come up with their own answers. Try taking it one step further each time to go deeper than the obvious answers. Questions like “what would happen if…” and “why” encourage your child to think creatively.
On the flip side, when your child has an unusual suggestion, don’t negate it as so. Treat their ideas with respect so they know they can continue to be imaginative.
For more tips on fostering creative thinking, read How to Encourage Innovate Thinking in Your Kids from Raising Lifelong Learners.
Building your child’s self-esteem greatly impacts their confidence. Praise them often and make it a habit to regularly speak with them about their strengths and accomplishments.
Make a point of bringing up at least one good quality every day and over time they will become more confident. Repeatedly tell them “you can do it.”
If they counter they don’t have the right knowledge or skills, just say they can’t do it “yet.” Leaving room for improvement lets them know they shouldn’t give up.
And finally, a leader always takes responsibility for their actions. When something goes wrong, it might make you feel better to blame it on something or someone else. But a leader has the integrity to take responsibility.
Teach your child that you are not victims of your environment and they have control over their lives. They need to know that is okay to make mistakes. Those are just opportunities to learn and grow.
Help your child draw conclusions from their actions without making them out to be “wrong.” Ask “how could you have avoided this?” or “what do you think went wrong.” By taking away blame and replacing it with the responsibility for your actions, you take away the stigma of being bad.
Having these conversations with your children and being involved in their lives teaches them how they should respond to the world. What you model will get mirrored back through them. By exhibiting good leadership skills yourself, they will be more inclined to follow suit.
More Resources for Raising Leaders
The books below are great options for inspiring leadership traits in your child.