How to Inspire Leadership Skills in Children

Raising children is a difficult job, one that requires parents to prepare their kids to live an independent life. Teaching children life skills is important, but sometimes parents overlook other skills that can help children be successful. Learning leadership skills is an excellent way to help your children be independent and strong enough to withstand peer pressure. These lessons will also help children blossom into adults capable of leading others to positive change.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, known as “EQ,” refers to the ability to understand the emotions and social cues of others, which in turn enables some people to accurately read people and communicate with them. The best way to help your children develop good EQ is to model good behavior. Kids look at their parents for how to respond and react to strong emotions. If you respond patiently and proactively to your kids’ emotions, they will learn to do the same to others. According to one survey, 58 percent of a leader’s job draws on their EQ intangibles. Developing these perceptive skills early is a net gain for kids in their future lives.

Pursuing Excellence Not Achievement

Parents can get extremely stressed out if a child’s grades do not match their parents’ ideas of success. Academic and sporting achievement is important, but it is not healthy to focus too much on the end result. To build leadership characteristics, parents need to emphasize process. Learning to be organized and disciplined about study habits, for example, is more valuable than simply getting an “A”. Too much emphasis on individual achievement not only sets up kids for too much pressure, it also gives them a skewed view of what life is all about. One the job, it will be much more important for them to learn how to work as a team than to bring home the trophy.

Allowing Children to Fail

Failing is healthy. However, parents have taught their kids to be risk-averse and afraid of failure. Some of the best life lessons are driven by failure. That’s how many CEOs learn what works and what doesn’t. Setbacks are natural in life and in business. If children are over-protected from failure in order to spare their self-esteem, parents are actually creating scared and anxious children who won’t know what to do when they inevitably face tough times. Support your children when they fail and teach them how to make the changes necessary to succeed and watch their confidence and resilience grow.

Focus on Problem Solving

A related concept involves letting children solve their own problems. Some parents hover too much, swooping in to help kids do everything from hitting a baseball to building with blocks. Although it hurts to see your kids frustrated, the process of being frustrated teaches them how to think things through. If parents step in too often, it deprives children of learning how to stand on their own two feet. In school and work, there won’t be parents nearby who can step in and fix problems. Letting children find their own way encourages them to be independent and not passive.