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How to Raise a Leader

Are leaders born or are they made?

Research suggests that people are not born leaders but I am open to the possibility that some may be "born leaders".

But the qualities of a leader - integrity, commitment, a positive attitude, competency, good communication, selflessness - need to be taught and cultivated. And, if (as the evidence shows) that's the case, that puts everyone in the running.

Hold on a minute! In my years teaching, I've seen many kids who are outgoing and able to get everyones attention, bark orders, and even influence others - especially in Middle and High School. But does that make them leaders?

Absolutely not! The ability to get noticed is not a quality of leadership. Neither is getting someone to follow you through peer pressure or intimidation. Bossy is not being influential.

But you can provide your kids with opportunities to develop and hone the skills that will help them become more confident leaders.

What can you do to cultivate the leadership qualities needed?

  1. Teach your child to love him/herself: You can't lead anyone else if you don't first love yourself. Confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth are all offshoots of self-love. So, establishing and cultivating practices of self love will reduce the lack of confidence and self-doubts that can lead kids down (for want of a better word) the wrong path. Self-talk is one of the most powerful influences on your kids’ emotions, their mood, their self-esteem, their self-confidence, their actions, and therefore what they create in life.what it is/what it can look like. Negative self-talk creates an undercurrent of self-doubt - eroding self-esteem and self-confidence.-statements such as “I can’t”, “I’m going to fail this test”, “They won’t like me", "I don't get it.", and “I’m bored".” Positive self-talk creates positive energy and prepares both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind to create that experience - includes statements such as “I can do it!”, “I’m ready to ace this test!”, and “I feel great". Caution: ”I am” statements are great…but need some action to back them up.. I’m ready to ace this test comes after preparation…I feel great because you are giving your body the nourishment, movement, and rest that it needs…

  2. Hone their "people skills": Cultivate an attitude of gratitude, work on manners and fairness. Develop their communication and listening skills. And build their resilience. Allow them to make mistakes and fix them on their own. Not everything will go their way -- and that's okay. Lead by example.

  3. Let them solve their own problems: Spats with siblings or friends, homework, things that pop up in day-to-day life. Learn to step back and allow them to work through their own problems and find their own solutions. Offer guidance, not solutions, when asked for help.

  4. Ditch the false praise: Sorry, Mama, but not everything they do is not wonderful. You know it. They know it. It's a breach of trust not to be honest. We affect the identity of our kids by what we tell them. Don’t make it about the outcomes…make it about the effort.

One of the strongest force in human personality is how we identify ourselves. If you want to raise a leader, give them the tools that requires. Help them by reframing the negative to the positive, recognizing their strengths, pursuing their own goals and interests. Notice their progress and efforts, allow them to challenge themselves, and help them to hold themselves accountable.


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