There’s a lot of talk these days about leadership, and the need for children to have strong leaders. Whether you are working with children who are yours or you’re a teacher/mentor/leader for others’ children, learning how to lead them effectively is important. Whether you’re wanting to lead your children to practice a healthy lifestyle, increase communication, or something else, good leadership is a way to reach your goals with the children in your care.
But how do you become a good leader for kids? It can be hard to know if you’re not accustomed to it, or if you didn’t have strong leaders when you were a child. Here are some tips.
Set an Example
You’ve probably heard “lead by example,” but that means more than just doing something and hoping your kids will notice and copy your behavior. It also means being deliberate in setting an example, and you’ll need to refrain from certain behaviors and watch what you say.
For instance, if you want your children to be patient with others – a key leadership attribute – then take care that you’re patient with them. If you want your children to be able to make decisions like a leader, then make sure you’re not making all of their decisions for them. To lead by example, you need to think about more than just living out healthy, positive lifestyle choices (although that’s important, too). It’s also a matter of setting an example of how to treat others.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent, including the children in your care is important to instill leadership. How do you include them? For one thing, let them help. In the classroom, this might take the form of collecting papers and passing out other papers. Students might be allowed to write an assignment on the board. At home, let your kids be a part of your daily routine, helping you wash the car and clean the house. After all, these are life skills, and those are vital for good leadership.
Good leaders know how to delegate responsibilities and tasks. In your home or classroom, give kids various responsibilities. You can set things up so that the children in your care have a task to complete, and they have to delegate tasks to others to get it done. Or simply explain the task, and give a job to each child to get it done. They will see the value of delegating (you might want to point out that you can’t do this task alone), but they will also have the satisfaction of helping get something done.
Allow Them to Help Others
Wherever you can, let your kids help each other without being bossy. In fact, being bossy is not necessarily a good leadership skill. Teach them how to help others in an appropriate way, and then set up a scenario where that help can happen. This works in the classroom or at home with friends and/or siblings.