Leadership Traits to Instill in Children

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Leadership Traits to Instill in Children

I happen to believe that there is no greater or bigger responsibility in the world than raising children. Sometimes, I feel utterly overwhelmed by the largeness of the task at hand. After all, we are talking about a human being! However, when I look into our daughter, a/k/a Excitedly Eight’s eyes, I can’t help but be inspired to be the best Mom that I can be to her.

Instilling leadership traits is a parenting priority!  Did you happen to see the recent New York Times article about the disproportionate number of women in leadership positions?  It was simultaneously disheartening (kind of depressing, actually!) but also motivating. So here are some leadership traits that I happen to think are important and that we are teaching Excitedly Eight.

Leadership Trait #1: Observation True leaders aren’t necessarily the loudest in the room, but their actions speak volumes. They are constantly observing and gathering information from their immediate environments, looking for parallels and connections with “the bigger picture.” They consult a variety of sources to collect data and remain in contact with each level of their tribe.

Leadership Trait #2: Humility True leaders recognize the talents of those around them. Instead of feeling jealousy or insecurity, they look for ways to encourage, delegate, and provide opportunities for the growth and development of their affiliates. Prudent leaders find — and create — ways to make their contingents better.

Leadership Trait #3: Foresight You may walk by an empty store and wonder why it closed. A leader sees the vacant lot and envisions what might be. Leaders aren’t restricted by thinking only of what is best for today; they consider the long run and what might happen ten years from now.

Leadership Trait #4: Empowerment Leaders foster a sense of ownership and commitment from their team through trust, responsibility, and reward. By handing off significant tasks — duties in which failure has actual consequence — leaders demonstrate trust in their squad. And with the gift of responsibility comes loyalty and dedication in return. Rewarding a job “well done” establishes feedback loops that promote respect and build work ethic within teams.

What traits do you think are important?  I’d love to hear!

* Photo credit to Elizabeth Messina (of course!)

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  1. Carolee Groux says

    These are four great leadership skills to instill in our children and students. I would add by 'Example', because one can lead by example and our children do model our behavior, good or bad, so it too is important to set a good example as a leader.

  2. Rebecca says

    I would agree with Kathy, that kindness is huge. It was our theme at home with our four as they first interacted with each other, then with those outside our family. But I'd also like to make sure you've read "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking". It's most salient point is that you don't have to be an extrovert to be a leader, that some of our best leaders have been and are quiet, thoughtful people. It's important to remember that being quiet doesn't preclude our children from leadership. Schools and society seem to more readily recognize and reward the child who always raises their hand, or the extravert in the room. ALL personalities have the potential to be leaders.

    • silverpen says

      I LOVE the book quiet! It is wonderful! In fact, I need to write about it. Did you happen to see Susan's TED talk?
      Thanks for sharing!