From Child to Leader: Everyone Can Do It! | El Paso, Texas, USA!
These days, we hear so much about how important it is to be a leader, to be someone that people will willingly follow. We all want to be that person, but most importantly, we all want our children to be future leaders. Why should we do that? And how can we do that? Those are the questions I’ll do my best to answer in today’s article, as well as this week’s Facebook’s posts.
I’ve had so many parents come to me and tell me, “I want my child to be more active in life, but they’re so shy, and I don’t know what to do.” This is a common “issue” for parents. But don’t worry, many shy children grow up to be excellent leaders, and that’s because leadership is, at least for me, more about how you treat other people than about how extroverted you are.
There’s been a lot of talk about extroversion and introversion these last years. A plethora of blogs and articles have been written about it. That’s why I decided you and I will do this, together, in a different way.
First, let’s take a quick look at what “leadership” or “being a leader” means:
One article on Forbes says, and I quote: “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” This sentence is understandable for us, adults, but for children, it doesn’t mean anything. So, let’s simplify it into simple bullet points:
- Being a leader doesn’t mean one is charismatic or extroverted (yes, really).
- Being a leader doesn’t mean one is the most powerful person in the room.
- Being a leader has nothing to do with titles.
- Being a leader has everything to do with how you treat people, especially your subordinates.
The last point is especially important to teach to children. They have to know that being a leader is more about asking other people about their opinions, and really, genuinely, taking them into account. Being a leader is being a person that other people look up to, because they know that person will acknowledge them, help them, listen to them. But most importantly, being a leader means being someone other people trust.
How could you raise your children to be like that, you ask? Look no more, as usual, this article contains some practical tips that you can use. Here we go!
- Setting a good example
As always, I’m writing about this first. I’ll never stress it too much, but your children mirror exactly what you, their parents, do. Teach them about respecting others by truly listening to them. Ask your children about their opinion on something, anything, and really take it into account. A child who grows up like this will treat other people like this too.
- Teaching your children about communication
If your child has misbehaved or has said something they shouldn’t have during dinner, don’t ground them and send them to their room. Instead, discuss it together. Talk about why you didn’t like what they did, and teach them why they shouldn’t do it again. This way, you open conversation with your children and teach them about the importance of communicating with other people. This simple tip will open the door for future more important conversations. (hint: those beautiful and drama-free teenage years.) ;)
- Encouraging team activities
Leaders are team players. They know how to communicate and work with other people. This is why you should definitely encourage your children to participate in some team activities. Whether it is soccer, or the school choir, they’ll learn about teamwork, and this will get them further in life.
- Encouraging reading
Reading is one of the activities that turn children into great leaders. A non well-read person will definitely not have what it takes to be a leader in our era. This is why you should encourage children to read, especially fiction, which reinforces empathy.
My last tip would be to teach your children the difference between being bossy and being a leader. Just because they’re followed by their schoolmates (in both the good and the bad), it doesn’t mean that they’re leaders. They might hold some power over them, but power isn’t leadership.
These are tips that you can follow to help your children, but in the end, it will be all about their own personal work. They will grow up to be adults with their own principles, their own ideals, and their own ways of life. They might want to become artists, writers, doctors, or firefighters, and even though some of them might choose their passion over money, know that they did it because YOU showed them the way, and gave them the means to follow their dreams.