So, you may ask, what are good leadership skills? Melissa King, Senior Curriculum Specialist K-12 education lists these criteria.
1. The ability to instill in others a sense of wanting to go the extra mile to provide for the greater good of a team.
2. The ability to inspire people to be better tomorrow than they are today and help the team focus on what matters most in life.
3. The ability to communicate, understand, and help people succeed.
4. Willingness to take risks and be courageous.
5. Having insightful, clear visions of the goals to be achieved.
Children are a valuable source of ideas, creativity and energy and most children are naturals at taking charge. Watch how they are with younger siblings and how they manage to get what they want from adults. Most of us have to learn the difference between being a good leader and being bossy. With the selected activities and guidance, children can learn these skills.
Here are, according to Melissa King, some ways to help your children develop good leadership skills.
What’s a Person To Do?
1. Teach them to set goals and always try to do their best at what they do.
2. Help them learn to see different viewpoints in a situation, which will be helpful when trying to manage multiple opinions in a group setting.
3. Help them maintain a positive attitude—even when others make things difficult or tell them they can’t achieve something.
4. Teach them that mistakes will always happen and are a natural part of life—and not to let the mistakes beat them down. Instead, teach them to ask themselves what they can learn from each situation.
5. Enroll kids in extracurricular activities that can give them the self-confidence needed in order to lead people both as children and as they become adults.
6. Let them make decisions. Start small, such as letting them choose food in a grocery store. As they get older, they can start making more difficult decisions, like how to spend their money.
7. Help them to participate in community service activities. Sports, fund-raising, the local hospital, assist in school sports events, special Olympics, senior citizens’ centers, the local shelter for homeless animals, Nursing homes, hospice centers, Meals on Wheels, community clean-up are just a few ideas. With these activities, they learn skills and also become aware of issues people in different situation experience.
Volunteering taps into a teen’s innate desire to be independent in a productive way. Teenagers are extremely busy with academics, extracurricular activities, sports, and of course their social events! But carving a few hours out of their busy schedules regularly for community service can be therapeutic for them and helps to improve their communities on so many levels.
Volunteering can also help to improve public speaking and communication skills later in life. It teaches them to identify their strengths and weaknesses. It helps them develop organizational skills. And finally, it teaches them to work well with others.
It is important for adults to provide education, training and support in these areas so they can succeed in these endeavors.
Getting kids involved means also letting them be a part of the process from the beginning. Sometimes as adults we forget about the importance of kids being part of the decision-making process. Not surprisingly, kids often have ideas on how their environments could be improved. By reaching out to youth to join the decision-making tables, advocacy strategies can be strengthened by developing solutions with them.
It’s important for adults to step forward and build up our kids and provide them with tools to be life-long effective leaders in our ever changing world.