Are good leaders born or made? Is leadership a natural talent or is it a characteristic that can be nurtured in a child? The question should start with what makes a good leader? We believe that parents have a key role to play in defining leadership traits in their children. There is no better place than the home to start training children to become a leader for the future. Below are the top 10 characteristics of Leaders.
- Independence – This is naturally inborn and starts when a baby starts to learn to walk by trial and error. While you will not let a child go in the line of clear danger, but you must enable the child to explore and even make their own mistakes. One easy way to achieve independence is to encourage your child to take responsibility in the house. For example teach your child to take his dishes to the kitchen and then ask them to wash their dishes as they get older. Build independence through responsibility. [Read:Age Appropriate Chores]
- Team Player – organised sports are not the only way for a child to pick up team player skills. Children can learn to be team players right from the home, dealing with their siblings. The ability to take other people’s needs and desires into account is critical in learning to be a team player. The home is the child’s first negotiation experience.
- Loyalty – Loyalty is the ability to rely on someone. Loyalty means looking out for each other. Not selling each other out. A brother looking out for a brother, a sister looking out for a sister. Children should not be allowed to ignore their family or close friends for an invitation to a party. So teach them from now to be loyal.
- Perseverance – If everyone could only get a bottle of this and consume the daily dose. Perseverance is what leaders are made of. The inability to take no for an answer, to keep trying with a goal in mind. Successful leaders always have stories of all the failures and set backs that they had to overcome on the journey to their success. It is never an overnight luck factor, success has no secrets – it takes hard work. That is why only 20% of people achieve their goals, they preserver and keep taking steps towards their goals.
- Good Attitude – Everything is about attitude and it is not cute to say your toddler has an attitude. An attitude at three will lead to a teenager and an adult with an attitude. Life is full of ups and downs and what makes the difference is the attitude that you have. A good attitude is so critical for all aspects of life – the ability to lead, to follow, to get along with colleagues, bosses, customers and everyone in between. So encourage and teach good attitude from the home. Do not ignore or excuse away a bad attitude.
- Empathy – Good leaders are empathetic, that is the ability to think about others needs and think about other people. The best leaders earn respect and genuinely care about the people around them. Start this training from the home, let you children consider other people’s feelings when they make a comment or take an action. Let them care for the people around them who are not as privileged as they are, this builds in a natural humility to be thankful and have an attitude of gratitude.
- Focus on Tasks – These days of faster, more and quicker makes us think that we are the masters of multitasking but the truth is that the best way to get things done is still to focus on a task at a time. So do not let your children get into the habit of having dinner while using their smart phone and also trying to have a conversation. There should be a sense of doing the right thing at the right time – it reduces errors and it also makes them more efficient.
- Goals – When a goal is written down it seems to get a life of its own. If a goal can be visualised and written down, backed by identifying one to three steps needed to achieve them – then it has the chance to become a reality. Most adults were never trained to do this and one of the biggest areas of stress that I have seen as a coach is the feeling of regret later in life. You can only track the goals that you take the time to write down and try to achieve. Encourage your child to have appropriate goals and to celebrate the feeling of accomplishment. [Tweet “Encourage your child to have appropriate goals “]
- Honesty – Being honest is something that has become almost a thing of the past, everywhere you turn people seem to make things up and get away with it. The society seems to have relaxed when it comes to holding people to a high standard. The person who is honest, who lives up to their promises and has integrity is more valuable than money in the bank. So do not encourage them to keep secrets, or to lie to get away with things. This means as a parent you must also be held to this standard – do not tell them to tell the person on your phone that you are asleep while you sit beside them on the sofa – confusing.
- Financial Skills – Being able to understand how money works is crucial for a successful future making and handling wealth. Children can learn the value of money from home. Learning how to make money is something most people have to figure out along the way and it is not the same as just earning a good salary. Creating wealth comes with understanding how to create value, how to save and invest. Depending on the age start them on earning by creating products like lemonade for sale, or get a summer job from a young age. Children learn best about money when they learn how to handle what they make. There is a big difference between saying something is expensive and taking them to the store to spend the hard earned money they earned after a long day working.
The home front is the best training ground for your future leader, when you realise that you are raising a future leader and not a child you take a very different role in the lessons that your child is learning. Raising a leader takes intentional parenting.
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