Teaching Leadership Skills to Children


The parenting tip request we receive most often is, “How do I teach my child strong leadership skills?” Even if we don’t care if our own child grows up to be a president or a world leader, we want him to have the courage, integrity and strength to be in control of his own life.

Americans used to believe that leadership was genetic. Now, it is generally believed that great leaders are made, not born. Children and teens can learn to develop certain qualities that reflect strong leadership—to define a clear vision, to create a climate of acceptance and challenge, to influence others to believe in a cause and to join in their efforts, and to give credit and praise to those who deserve it.

Good leaders have vision, energy, confidence, integrity and compassion. You can give your child a head start in life by teaching leadership qualities. Whether or not she becomes a leader in the conventional sense, it is important that she learns to be a leader of her own destiny.

Seven Myths About Leadership

  • It is a rare skill. (Any reasonably bright person has the potential to be a leader.)
  • Leaders are born, not made. (Leadership is a learned skill.)
  • Leaders are created by extraordinary circumstances. (Leaders are created by commitment, determination and planning.)
  • Leadership exists only at the top of an organization. (Leadership exists everywhere in an organization.)
  • It takes a powerful person to be a leader. (It takes a committed, caring and organized person to be a leader.)
  • Leaders must be charismatic. (Leaders have a knack for helping others see how they can benefit from the common goal.)
  • It’s immoral to seek power. (It’s smart to be in control of one’s own life.)
Next Week: Characteristics of Great Leaders

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