Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Three Things Every Child Needs To Learn About Leadership

Most of us parents have these dreams that someday our kids (at least one of them) will be in front of a team of people, maybe even thousands, motivating them to do great things, change their lives and perhaps lead others as well.

Of course the reality is that not all of our kids for a host of reasons will aspire to or have the talent to be in that dynamic a situation. They aren't all born with the skills, personalities and temperament to be great influencers of people.

But there are some things that every child needs to learn, especially at home, about leadership whether they ever become a leader or not.

First, they need to learn that everybody leads. No, not everyone is gifted as a leader, but everyone will lead even if it's only by default. As John Maxwell and other leadership experts suggest, leadership is influence, and we all will influence others in some way for good or bad.

Perhaps a corollary to this idea is that our actions towards others matter. We may only influence a sibling, a friend or two or a neighbor, but we're still leading. In other words let's teach our kids that their actions have consequences and often that will mean impacting someone else.

Second, teach them that not everyone is designed to be an overt, formal leader. Leaders need good followers. In fact following well is also a taught and nurtured skill. We parents can make a huge difference in how children actually learn to follow, us as their parents and the other leaders in the world.

And yet many parents are absent when training to follow is possible. They expect others to set up the rules and keep their kids on task, leaving the guidelines and boundaries open ended much of the time at home.

Third, we need to model for our children that leaders are to be respected even if we disagree with them. Yes, children will need to deal differently with peers who exhibit leadership skills early on and may want to use those skills to dominate or control them inappropriately. We'll probably have to help them navigate those waters and learn how to respond.

But, too many kids never learn how to talk respectfully and graciously to adults at school, their job in the future or church. They hear their friends talking down about leaders so they can be swayed to do the same.

Leadership training is not something to be put off until our kids are adults. Leadership is modeled and nurtured as well in our homes and we dare not skip our responsibilities in that. The dividends are significant.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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