Often I have heard that leaders are born, not made. Do you think this is true? How many times did you read a biography of a great leader, and discovered that as a child, he has been quiet, reserved and rather shy? Are those natural qualities of a leader? Of course not! These people have developed their leadership qualities later in life. Would you like your child to be a leader? What are the qualities of a leader?
Here are some of the qualities required to be a leader, and how you can encourage the development of these qualities in your child.
Integrity – remember to be a good example, a role model for your child. Parents teach by example, and integrity is a quality kids learn from their parents. Talk with your child about integrity. One tool that is very helpful is story telling. Look for books that tell about the value of integrity.
Courage – always praise courage. When your child shows courage, notice it and praise it. Praise courage wherever you see an expression of it. Story telling is also very effective in this case.
Creative, independent thinking. In order to develop this quality, it is very helpful to ask questions. When you talk with your child about any subject at all, always ask open questions, that encourage creative thinking. Use the “One Step Farther” principle. After you have gotten all the obvious answers, ask one more question, to come up with a deeper, more creative idea. Questions like “why”, “what would happen if…”, “how do you think did it feel…”, encourage your child to think creatively. Talk to your child, encourage independent thinking.
In addition, it is also important to listen to your child. When your child has a creative, unusual suggestion, never negate it or laugh at it. Always treat your child’s ideas with respect.
Confidence – this is one of the most important qualities required for success in general. To develop confidence in your child, avoid criticizing your child, praise your child sincerely and often, develop a habit to talk about your child’s strengths and achievements with him every day. Remember to make it a point to bring up at least one good quality of your child every day. If you adopt it as a routine, over time it will do wonders for your child. It takes only a few minutes to mention an achievement or a strength (a good quality). Encourage your child, repeat the phrase “you can do it” often.
A leader takes responsibility. When something goes wrong, sometimes it makes us feel better if we can blame something else or someone else. A leader takes responsibility. Make sure your child knows that he is the “boss” in his life. His success is his responsibility. We are not victims of our environment, we have control over our life. Teach your child to “come from a place of power”. When your child blames someone else or something else for a mishap, or comes up with excuses, you have an opportunity to encourage your child to assume responsibility. Make sure that your child knows that it is Ok to make mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. You can help your child draw conclusions, without “making him wrong”, by asking: “what did you learn from this?”, “what do you think went wrong?”, “why do you think this happened?”, “how could you avoid this?” and again “what do you think would happen if…?”. Your child should understand that he has no control over other people, and is not expected to have control over other people’s actions, but he has full control over his own reaction. This will give your child the feeling of power, as opposed to “being a victim”.
The conversations that you hold with your child have a profound effect on your child’s future. Make sure you take the time to talk with your child every day, to be involved with what is happening in your child’s life. To support, encourage and inspire. By doing that, you are being a leader, and you are developing your child’s leadership skills.