How to raise a leader?

5th Nov 2012

How to Raise a Leader

Parents around the world see the change and know that the traditional three R’s – reading,
writing and arithmetic – are necessary, but not enough. Their children need to become far
more responsible, creative and tolerant of differences. They need to increase their ability to
think for themselves, take initiative, get along with others and solve problems.

Do you want your child to be a good leader? If yes, what is the definition of a good leader?

John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do
more and become more, you are a leader.” Ideally, this is the kind of leader you should want
your precious child to grow into.

Childhood is a time to develop leadership skills, enabling an individual to take the lead in
adulthood and forming the base of a child’s career development. If you want your child to
turn into a good leader, don’t subject him or her to a leadership skills test. Instead, create an
environment that is conducive to learning, where he or she can take responsibility as well as
make mistakes.

The following are leadership skills that need to be taught:

Communicate Effectively: In order to be a potent leader, one must be a good communicator.
Words can be very powerful in inspiring people and effectuating action or change. A good
leader communicates goals or plans clearly to his team. Therefore, teach children to say what
they mean or want clearly, so that others may understand. Another very crucial aspect of
leadership skills for children is listening. If one fails to listen and understand, then he fails as a
leader. Teach children to listen twice as much as they speak.

Teach by Example: As it is sometimes said, “Be the message.” As a leader, if you want your
team to learn something, the best way to do this is to lead by example. One of the most
important life lessons that will encourage children to become good leaders is that they must
learn to “do unto others as they would have others do unto them.”

Collaborate/Teamwork: For any big task to get accomplished, a group of people need to work
as a team. Teach children that many hands make the load lighter. Teach them to allow others to
share the burden (which in turn will make those individuals responsible), instead of trying to do
everything themselves. Also teach them to appreciate and utilize all the different abilities and
experiences each person brings to the group. Lastly, it is the leader’s job to ensure that people
work in harmony, and that the job gets done as smoothly as possible.

Decision-making: You must teach your child to make his or her own decisions early in life,
irrespective of the consequences, as a good leader is always looked upon as a good and

quick decision-maker. People do not want leaders who hesitate or are uncomfortable making
decisions. Hence inculcate into your child the habit of making his decisions through trial and
error with the end result of making him a good leader who makes quick decisions.

Negotiation/Compromising: A good leader is one who works well with others. As a leader, you
will have to work along with many different kinds of people, some will be temperamentally
difficult, while others may have opposing points of view. Teach children to allow room for
differences and respect other’s point of view. Effective leadership qualities include the ability to
give and take while working with others. To be a good leader, not a dictator, one must be able
to compromise and negotiate, keeping the bigger picture in mind. However, most importantly,
teach them to accept when they are wrong.

Serve: while most will have you believe that true leadership lies in ‘managing’ people and
delegating work, the virtue of good leadership skills lies in service. In leading a team or
organization, a leader is serving his people, which is something he must always remember.
Teach children to put the needs of the people they lead before their own, and also that no job
is too small for them to do. It is in understanding what goes into getting a certain task done,
that they are in the best position to manage it. Example: Let him/her buy his milk from the
supermarket while you are waiting for him in the car (under your supervision) and most of all
praise him for achieving the task!

Vision and Planning: A good leader must be able to think about the future with imagination and
wisdom while always keeping the values of the team in mind and ensuring that all efforts are
towards achieving the singular goal. To accomplish these goals, the ability to plan strategically
is an asset to any leader. Teach children how to draw out a plan of action and right down the
smallest detail. For children, large tasks can seem overwhelming, thus they need to be taught
how to break it down into sections.

Along with the aforementioned leadership skills, if you teach children not to quit, you’re sure to
produce some fine leaders. Teach them to be the kind of leaders who will help others to discern
their gifts and put them to good use. Support them in their efforts and draw everyone together
by providing a sense of unity and direction. Leadership skills in children can be inculcated in
childhood, therefore, it’s never too early to start.

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