Learning how to be a leader

Learning how to be a leader

Many leaders also serve as parents, happily balancing a daily workload with ball games and family dinners. Along the way, most of these leader-parents also realize the influence they have over young minds. Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders, especially if those children have parents who are leaders.

While leadership skills can come naturally, children learn lessons along the way that significantly impacts them later in life. The right words at the right time can make all the difference. 

I see many children in our karate classes that are going to make great leaders and then I see others who always try to take shortcuts and/or only want to try at the things they like to do.

Being a leader is not easy, but it can be learned. Leaders do their very best all the time and they have probably learned this from their parents. They see you and will emulate everything you do.

Here are some tips that can help you to get your children headed in the direction of becoming a leader rather than a follower.

1. Be a good role model.

As a leader, you realize the importance of setting a good example for your team. This is even truer of your role as a parent. By allowing your children to see how well you balance your work and personal roles, you’ll teach them accountability through effective leadership.

2. Participation in organized activities.

Early on, identify your children’s interests and encourage their participation in organized activities. Whether it’s joining a scouting troop, karate classes, participation in sports or joining the school band, children learn valuable lessons about being disciplined, working hard to improve and working with others.

3. Help them understand perseverance.

The best leaders learn to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success. It’s important to expose future leaders to disappointment rather than protecting them from it. Children need to learn to handle the loss and move forward when the other team wins or someone else is elected class president.

4. Learning how to compromise.

Every good leader knows the art of compromise. Instead of giving your children a firm “yes” or “no” to a request, make an offer and allow them to counter that offer by providing solid points. While you don’t need to negotiate everything, it is important to teach them how to work together and find a compromise.

5. Teaching discipline.

Children should learn how to make good decisions as early in life as possible. Because children become overwhelmed by too many choices, narrow down the options to two or three, whether a child is deciding on afternoon activities or a movie to watch. Help them to understand the decisions that they are making and how they will affect them. This will help them to make correct decisions in everyday life.

6. Give them chores to do.

Chores are an important part of growing up. Children need to learn and understand responsibility for the tasks you give them. Help them understand that this is their role to help their family. These early jobs can be essential to building leadership skills in children.

7. Avoid jumping in.

When your child works on a project or activity, it can be tempting to jump in and help, especially if you see your child struggling. Instead, consider stepping back and letting your children work through it themselves. If they ask you for help, guide them in the right direction but don’t do the work for them. Let them learn to problem solve with some guidance from you.

8. Goal setting.

Help your children understand how important goals are, and even more importantly, completing them. Have them set challenging but realistic goals. Walk them through how to set goals, the importance of following through, and the fulfillment when they complete a goal. This is an invaluable tool to becoming a leader among their peers.

9. Encourage reading.

Studies have shown the benefits of reading for fun in childhood, with children who read having greater intellectual progress in a variety of subjects. Young readers tend to learn more about the world, even when the reading is of a frivolous nature. Reading helps to create a greater vocabulary, a better imagination and exposure to many new and different ideas.

Use these tips and ideas to help your child become a leader for tomorrow. There are so many things that can distract your child from what is important. Helping your child to become a leader will be huge for them as they grow into teens and beyond. 

Yours Truly for Awesome and Amazing Kids,

Sensei Randy Kopke

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