I see parents around me worried what their children would end up doing with their lives. But I don’t care about what my child wants to pursue. Rather, I want to give her a toolkit that propels her to success. Leadership traits are a vital part of that kit.
For many children these traits are inherent. But as a parent, you need to imbibe valuable lessons that will help your child throughout their life. Knowing how to persuade and influence people is a useful skill because life is mostly collaboration and trusting each other.
So let me show you three ways to inculcate leadership traits in your child while having fun.
1. Encourage team building by participation in extracurricular activities
As an entrepreneur, you might regularly go on team lunches and play games to boost your team’s morale. You also expect your employees to learn new skills.
With your children, you can choose from a wide array of activities to impart the importance of teamwork. So identify your child’s interests and encourage them to participate in a competitive environment.
Enroll them for that baseball summer camp. Help them set up a rock band. Let them volunteer for an NGO.
Such real-world experiences will provide your child a taste of the independent adult life.
2. Encourage their playfulness and curiosity
Did you know that Google encourages its employees to pursue side-projects?
20% of the work time is dedicated towards them, and some of the best Google products ideated during this period.
Children are inherently curious. They don’t judge their feelings and creations. That is until the time they are made to believe that ‘only successful are respected.’
You need to clear the air by telling them stories of how failure has been fundamental to breakthroughs in the world.
Play word games, get them to role play a superhero, mental gymnastics and anything else that fuels their imagination.
When they come up with a creative output, appreciate it. Give them nuanced feedback that doesn’t rate an idea as either good or bad. Rather, it’s about the in-depth understanding of what’s working and what isn’t.
Steve Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about how he involved his son in projects. Instead of telling him to clean the trash and water the lawn, he shows the neighbor’s yard to set expectations.
Once he sees how green and clean it is, Steve’s son is motivated and jumps on the mission to make their garden shine.
3. Tell stories that show hard work, passion, and ethics in positive light
It’s crucial to inculcate a core set of values in your child. Hard work, discipline, focus, and integrity are cornerstone skills that determine how far you get in life.
But instructions, no matter how elegantly put, might fail to motivate your employees to work.
Similarly, declarative statements about what’s important in life can sound preachy and bore your child.
An alternative tool is stories. They can subconsciously influence the behavior of your child.
You know what can drastically change their outlook?
Stories from your life where you exhibited grit and perseverance. Because kids don’t do what you tell them; they copy what you do.
And while we are on the subject, you should also gift them novels, comics, and literature. Reading expands their idea of the world. It is essential for quicker learning, and it’s a habit that all successful people fall back on.
Leadership is a mindset. If your child has a sense of ownership, then they won’t surrender in the face of adversities. Rather, they will believe in taking action and getting past the failures – because you taught them so.
What strategies do you use to inculcate leadership traits in your child?