Do you think Indira Gandhi’s parents groomed her in her childhood to become a leader?
Did Barack Obama’s parents teach him do’s and don’ts of being a leader in his childhood?
Do you train your kid from now to become a leader?
Are you ready to groom your kid today as a leader for tomorrow?
Do you want to see the leader in your kid that you are today?
Often, such questions pop up in a parent’s mind. Sometimes they feel, they might be missing out on something or are they doing the right thing for their child. As parents, we are overwhelmed with the new responsibility on one hand, and on the other quite skeptical about the ways we are going the perform the same. Obviously, as parents, we want THE BEST for our kids, and while doing that sometimes we go wrong and sometimes we excel. Sometimes we try to fulfil our dreams through our children. And sometimes we nurture their wishes and let them be what they want.
But in all situations, it is better to start the process of instilling positive qualities in your children, early in life when their mind is still young to take in good foundations of life and character. We think how will a toddler understand all this, but trust me, they can inculcate these virtues more than us.
One might argue that a child might not be at the right age to understand and learn ‘leadership skill’, but ask yourself how will he cope up when your boy wants to be the class prefect or your girl is chosen as the head of the sports team?
Have you ever thought your child can be a leader of TOMORROW if he/she starts TODAY?
5 parenting behaviors that will help to build on leadership qualities in your child:
1) Teach them to take risks:
It is a good thing to safeguard your child against all odds, but it is equally important to give them enough scope to take risks. A child might get bruised while playing on the ground or might get hurt while doing something for the first time. We need to be careful, but not over protective that we will not allow them to do that thing ever or we will restrict them from going out and play. Once they face the situation, they will be able to judge the gravity of it and find ways to come out of it. One of the main characteristics of a good leader is risk taking and negotiation. We need to make them understand how and when to take risks or rather how to deal with that both physically and mentally. Let me start from the smallest things in the house.
2) Don’t interfere too early:
Let them handle situations my themselves. Sometimes we need to help or assist but sometimes it is better to ‘let go’. They are individuals with an innovative mind and they have the ability to see the situation from a different angle, which we might have been not able to comprehend. If they always get the feeling that adults will come and rectify the things in the end, then they will not learn to use their own minds. A good leader is someone who equips his people to sustain on their own. Once your child is able to do a job without your assistance, they learn and their self esteem grows. They continue to exhibit self-confidence in their future endeavors.
3) Show them real life examples:
Share your stories or mistakes and what you have learnt from them. Kids think that their parents must have never done any mistake in life and they will get scolded if they do anything wrong. But they need to understand that we too have learnt from others and life and that our roads were not all that smooth. Discuss real life situations like what difficulties you faced when you were the head of the science club or how was it that you had proposed the first time or even how it felt to be rejected or how was it during your first job interview. Give them real life situations where they can display their leadership skills and trust me, they might come up with something absolutely new. Learning never ends, so you might be able to learn a thing or two from your child. A leader is someone who paves his future with the learnings of the past. Let me take you as their ‘role model’ so it is important to you to practice what you teach them; good leadership skills like honesty, time management, etc. Make them understand the importance of the strong foundations of character like trust, loyalty, integrity in life.
4) Help them with goal setting :
Goal Setting is one of the most important things about being a leader or to a successful person in life. Help your child understand the importance of planning and organizing. Help them make small goals for them like if they have a project to submit, how and when to start and proceed step by step. Help them with planning a new community service or a hobby club, if they want to. Make them understand why SMART goals are important in every aspect of life to achieve and succeed.
5) Reward them for a good job:
A child is always looking for assurance from his parents, they want your approval for anything they do. They are happy and comfortable when you they them that they did a good job. So reward them when they did something good at home or at school. It does not have to be a reward of tangible thing, it can be a few great words from you or praising them or taking their example in front of the family. On the other hand, do not scold or demean them if things go wrong. Rather make them understand what went wrong and why. Urge them to try it again with a new enthusiasm. Leaders are known for their sustained determination and zeal to succeed. Let them face the challenges once again, do not discourage them to do the same again. Let them know that failure is the just the first step to success. Let me know that if they could not be a leader today, tomorrow is yet to come and that they have to keep trying. Tell them no job is small and they need to start from the smallest of things to lead the biggest of endeavors.
To be very frank, I have never been quite a leader in my life. I was shy and could never grab onto opportunities when they came. Probably I was afraid to take risks. I could never put the right step forward in time, hence somebody else did. But I want my daughter to try and try till she succeeds. I want her to understand the importance of self-belief in her life.
Leadership is not just confined within a boardroom or running a big business. We have to be leaders in our day-to-day lives- we need to CHOOSE, we need to ACT and we need to KEEP TRYING. And that is exactly what we need to teach our children.
So are you ready for the small Indira Gandhi budding in your daughter?
Are you ready to nurture the small Obama in your home?
Who knows your child might be destined to be the LEADER, the world is waiting for?
Don’t forget to share your and your child’s leadership stories with us. Happy Parenting!!