Peter Drucker, a renowned management consultant and writer had once said, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things". I guess most of us would agree to that. Leaders do the same things as others, though in a smart and different way. That is what makes them stand out. This quality is also about taking charge of things and motivating the others to work towards a goal, including himself. If the qualities are introduced to children in an early age, it proves to be a fantastic asset to their overall development. But the million dollar question is how? Because dealing with children is not an easy task. In addition to that, making them understand an issue like leadership seems quite an uphill task.
Developing Leadership Qualities in Your Child
The Need and Drive for Leadership: Leading is not just about barking orders or commanding someone to do something. It is much more than that. You can help your child to be the best in his or her job or he or she can try to be the best, but that would not mean that the kid has imbibed effective leadership skills. Be it a 15 year old or a 20 year old, one aspect of this quality is to win the trust of the others; trust building. The drive to do something towards a group goal or intent is what results in individuals becoming leaders. Those who have that are always ahead in organizing events and working towards a common purpose even if it is at a micro level. It also involves the best use of available resources and grabbing the initiative at every opportunity.
The Desire to Lead: Once the children get used to taking the initiative and working with a group of people, that habit develops into the desire to become a leader. That initiative drives them further. Hence, it is very important that the parents and the elders, including school teachers encourage and motivate the children who exhibit such qualities. All those who are great in their job are not necessarily leaders. If that individual takes along the others in the path of progress, helping them out all the way, then he or she can be called one.
Cultivation of Required Qualities: Intellectual skills are most importantly needed in a leader. Children need intellectual stimulation right from the time they are babies, which will sharpen their little gray cells and give them a sense of intellectual curiosity and intelligence. Skills which are included in developing intelligence are good verbal communication, math literacy (logical thinking and power to analyze and calculate), keenness for reading and learning and emotional intelligence.
Qualities Needed to be a Leader: Leadership not very tough to develop if you give children a pat on their back for doing a good job, excelling in a particular activity and motivating them. Thus these are the following qualities inherent to a leader apart from the intellectual development which we are looking at:
- Integrity, Character: Children always look up to their parents and so only they can set a good example in front of them about their character, honesty and integrity.
- Confidence: You got to be confident if you want to achieve something in life. Moreover, unless you are confident, you cannot pass that on to others.
- Courage: Confidence and brains itself is not enough lil' fellas, you need to have the grit and the gumption to get and achieve your targets and goals. Children should be taught by the parents that once you decide to do something, you stick to it, come what may.
- Sense of Responsibility: If you have erred, you should own up for your mistake. Explain this to your children at the very onset. Similarly, you can bask in the glory if you have attained your goal. Also in the time of glory, a leader always takes a back seat and lets others be in the limelight.
- Independent Mind: Help children develop an independent mind and creative thinking of their own. This will go a long way in enhancing their persona as well. Asking questions and making them think before they answer is a good way to cultivate this tenet.
That was a brief elucidation of what are the factors involved in bringing out the leader in a child. Although many people say that leaders are born, I feel that this skill can be developed if you begin early. What you need is a proactive role of elders and responsive kids. What you need is to have a keen eye for everything and to learn all the time from what you observe.
Finally, as John F Kennedy said, "leadership and learning are indispensable to each other". This is where I sign off!