What does the word “Leadership” bring to your mind? You might think of a political leader, someone pursuing a personal cause or passion. You might think of someone adventurous who goes where nobody has gone before. You might even think of a company’s CEO or manager who develops the company’s strategies and makes sure that they stay at the top of their game and ahead of the competition. Leadership may hold different meanings for different people. You might think that a community leader or a religious person is a leader.
A leader can come from various and diverse backgrounds. They set the tone so that others can easily follow them. They guide others in doing the right thing. They give us a sense of direction and purpose and inspire us to become better than we already are. They can make us see something that does not exist yet and realize an issue we did not consider as a problem previously. Being a leader is a huge responsibility; however, it is also exciting.
Are leaders born or made?
Although the debate is still ongoing, many studies and research have stated that everyone can be a leader. People are not just leaders by birth; they can become leaders at any stage of their lives. You can dive into multiple things at an early age to understand, learn, and implement leadership skills in your life. There are various programs like doing Masters in educational leadership online and others that you can enroll in to polish your leadership skills. Just remember that learning leadership is not a one-time thing. You have to keep at it.
What is the Proper Age to Teach Leadership?
There is no specific age to teach leadership to children. According to studies and researches, it should be done as soon as possible. Different elements require instilling at various stages of life, like confidence, teamwork, problem-solving, collaboration, etc. All these skills are interrelated, and the more you learn, the better your chances of becoming a leader. Children starting from kindergarten can be taught these skills according to their intellectual level by providing them with the right experiences. The earlier the training begins, the better it will be for the children to internalize these qualities quickly.
How to Teach Leadership to children?
Now that we have concluded that children as young as kindergartners can learn leadership according to their intellect, the question arises that how can we teach it to them. As parents, teachers, guardians, or any adult who spends time with children, we can teach them leadership in various ways. Let us see how to achieve this:
Children See Children Do
Children learn more from observations than from lectures. The more we model leadership qualities, the more they will learn them. Tell them what you are doing and what you expect from them. Teach them how to put themselves in other people’s shoes.
Confidence is by far an essential quality that you can teach your children. Give them the chance to do various jobs and then praise them for a job well done. You can say things like, “I am so proud that you took this responsibility,” or,” It was a big job, and I love how you handled it.” Do not be general when praising them.
One of the leadership qualities that we desperately need in today’s world is creative problem-solving. We can teach this quality by allowing children to make small decisions by themselves and then decide whether it has the right outcome. The more opportunities they get, the more they will learn. They will understand the concept of consequences and learn to visualize the problem so that they can get the desired outcome.
One of the ways that you can teach leadership to children is to create small leadership roles and then assign them to them. It could be in school or at home. In schools, you can create jobs like “attendance checker,” “classroom greeter,” “supplies manager,” “class pet manager,” and others. Ensure that you clearly outline the responsibilities attached to each role and let the children decide for themselves who will take which part.
Often we see that we prioritize individual success to group work. If we want these kids to become leaders when they grow up, we have to teach them the art of teamwork. They need to know how to work in a team and lead a team of diverse people. The best ways are to assign group projects as well as different sports activities.
The fact of the matter is that we should start teaching our children about leadership as early as possible. There is no specific age for learning leadership. You can do that in school, or you can do that later in life.