Growing Kids to Be Great Leaders

Today, growing our kids to be great leaders could be more important than ever before. I am not sure that there has ever been a time where it has seemed to be more imperative to focus on a new generation of upcoming leaders. For anyone who truly knows me, you will know that I am passionate about quality leadership. It is at the foremost of my mind most of the time. I feel that every decision that I make, in both my professional and personal life, boils down to what kind of leader I want to be, and I desire for those thoughts and desires to trickle down to my children as well.

Unfortunately, teaching our children to be great leaders is more than a trickle-down effect. The more I read, study, listen and learn about how to grow myself as a quality leader, I realize that I also have a big responsibility as a leader (or parent) to teach my children to become great leaders. As you continue to read, you will be introduced to ten qualities that I believe makes a good leader. Our kids have the ability to begin to learn and experience these qualities at an early age in order to jumpstart themselves into great leadership.

Today, growing our kids to be great leaders could be more important than ever before. Click To Tweet

The next ten qualities of a good leader are not limited to our children alone. These qualities can be applied to anyone at any age, but in order to grow our children into great leaders, we need to start teaching them as soon as possible. As we read through these qualities, we can think about each one and how we can apply it to our child(ren), and even how it could be applied to ourselves. One of our children’s greatest teachers is the example, influence, and experience that they receive in their environment as they grow into adults.

My top 10 qualities to grow children into great leaders are:

1. Teach them that in everything they do to be honorable and to do their best. In order to teach our kids to be honorable, we must first be honorable ourselves. Our children need to be a generation of doing their best with the knowledge that doing their best will ultimately lead them to excellence and satisfaction; however, we need to remember that excellence does not mean perfection. Excellence is simply doing our best for the best possible outcome. We are a scouting family, and at every meeting, every scout and uniformed leader stand at attention to recite the Scout Oath, which begins with “On my honor, I will do my best…”. In this oath or promise, the scout promises to do their best at serving God and their country. Our scouts also have a motto, which is simply “Do your best!”

2. Leaders seek solutions to problems. Allow them to try and fail – even when we know it won’t work. Experience is the best teacher, and we know, from experience, that we learn from our mistakes. If we don’t allow our children to try, make mistakes, and fail then they will never learn from their experiences. We, as adults, also need to remember to stay away from the “I told you so” attitude. When given the chance, kids can learn how to come up with great solutions to be great problem solvers. We can allow our kids to fail, and when they do, encourage them to try again.

3. Give them jobs and responsibility. Once we give them a job, let them figure out how to accomplish that job (even if it means hiring their little brother to do it for them.) Stay away from micromanaging. Give them responsibility and a timeline but then allow them to learn how to carry out that responsibility in a timely manner. Set clear boundaries and consequences if the chore, or job, doesn’t get done on time. Chances are that when they are older and begin to work in the corporate world, their boss is not going to be a micromanager, and they will need to know how to work responsibly, independently, and timely.

4. Teach them perseverance. Teach them to “…press toward the goal to win the prize…” (Phil 3:14) Teach them to never give up, to set goals and work hard to meet those goals. Hold them accountable for reaching their dream.

5. Teach them about the deadly trap of comparison. The comparison trap is an ugly vortex of never ending dissatisfaction and discontent. No one is immune to the comparison trap, but the way that we respond to it is exactly how our children are going to respond to it. Comparison doesn’t only revolve around acquired things. It can also revolve around our children’s talents, gifts, and activities. We need to teach them to always have hopes and dreams and to continue to work toward the next thing, but only because it’s what they want or because it’s what they are being lead to do; not because it’s someone else’s dream or talent. When our children are confident in who they are and not trying to be someone else or like someone else, they will stand out and others will begin to take notice in them.

6. Let them feel the weight of their own schedule. (church, school, games, events, social…) Teach them the great ability of time management skills. If we are constantly arranging their schedule and activities for them, they will never learn how to manage it for themselves. Give them a time limit, and actually stick to it. We are a homeschooling family, and I allow my oldest to manage his school schedule around his activities. It is up to him to make sure that his school work gets done and turned in on time. There have been times that he has not been able to participate in an activity because of improper planning. He has felt the consequences and now works hard to finish his work on time.

7. Have them plan and organize activities. Allowing our kids the experience of planning and organizing activities is a great way to allow them to exercise leadership skills. Allow them the opportunity to plan meals, activities or events for family or friends. We can even give them a budget, and encourage them to delegate responsibilities. We need to remember to allow them to follow through with their plans and try not to interfere or persuade them into making certain decisions. Chances are, they will learn what needs to change for the next event without pointing it out to them. We can teach them the importance of planning meetings, but this is also another area where we should remember to stay away from micromanaging or “I told you so.” Teach them how to ask for help or how to obtain the resources that they need.

8. Teach them how to say yes and allow them to say no. Matthew 5:37 tells us to “…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Our children’s yes and no should not be a simple shoulder shrug. It should be taught as a firmly spoken yes and no. In order for our children to have good boundaries and negotiation skills as adults, we need to teach them to say yes and no. Allowing them to say no does not always mean they are being disrespectful. It is necessary in order to teach them how to set and exercise good boundaries and leadership skills in a safe and loving environment. It will also help them be more prepared and feel comfortable in telling others no when they are on their own.

9. Have them talk face-to-face with adults and younger children. Talking face-to-face with adults and younger children (other than their parent, guardian, or siblings) helps them gain confidence and good communication skills. Having our child prepare a list of questions in advance can also teach them to prepare and help them feel more confident in their conversation. This will exercise their communication skills and help them feel confident and prepared when it comes to leading others, especially those that are not family members or their same age.

10. And last, teach them to rest and allow personal time for themselves. We live in a time where we are made to feel that we need to spend every waking moment with our children. The truth is, they need time away just like we do. Sometimes not spending time with our kids is the best thing for them (and us.) Encourage them to rest, chill, take a responsible time out or even get away with someone besides their own family. Teach them the importance of personal time. Allow them some refreshing downtime to sit quietly and not have to talk or listen to anyone.

Teaching our children to be great leaders is more than a trickle down effect. Click To Tweet

I believe that our children have the potential of becoming great leaders, and it is our responsibility to guide them along and give them the tools they need to do so. We, as parents, guardians, or adult mentors, may feel as though we have ample time to teach our children about leadership and what it means to be a good leader, but in reality, we have very limited time that is passing by very quickly.

What are some of things that you do to teach and prepare your child(ren) to be a great leader? Feel free to leave your comment below. I’d love to hear from you.



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