Are leaders born or made? A really good question… Developing good leadership skills may not guarantee future success but it does teach kids and teen’s responsibility and empathy. These skills will serve anyone well in life. Clearly everyone is not going to become a leader. However; understanding how to plan, set goals, take on responsibilities and set deadlines will enable growth, productivity and life skills. Leadership skills can and should be learned by everyone, beginning at a young age. Some leadership traits that are easily identifiable include self-confidence, organizational skills, problem solving, creative thinking and being able to motivate others. While some of these traits may come easy to some people, everyone has the capacity to develop them. Developing good leadership skills can help children and teens to succeed in many ways, including in school, work and social circles. Some people say that certain kids are “born leaders”. This may be true. Imagine if these “born leaders” also benefited from leadership programs in a classroom setting…
So why is leadership a key factor to goal setting? It is important because a true sign of a leader is someone who is capable of making a plan, setting goals and achieving goals. If a child becomes a leader it is important to encourage and nurture these tremendous life skills. On the other hand, if a child is not a leader, it is important to encourage, nurture and teach these ever so important life skills. Regardless of a child’s personality, or whether he or she is shy or outgoing, leadership skills can be nurtured. The goal isn’t to turn the child into someone they are not, but rather to help them succeed in school and life for years to come.
A child / teen that can set goals and make plans is more likely to be more confident. A more confident person is more likely to become a leader. A leader is more likely going to hire a Leadership Coach along their journey.
Without confidence, there is no leadership. Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of mud. It may have a nice coat of paint and wallpaper, but it is shaky. While the leadership and educational communities have focused on passion, communication and empowerment, they have ignored this basic element.
Leadership is about having confidence to make decisions, develop plans and set goals. If someone is afraid to make and commit to a decision, all of the communication and empowerment in the world won’t make a difference. If a child, who speaks well and is passionate, can’t commit or make a decision, they will be lost.
Not only does confidence help children and teens make tough decisions. It helps those surrounding them feel the confidence as well. It allows children and teens to lead in front of peers with authority and open communication. The more peers perceive fellow classmates confidence, the more faith they will have in them. As leaders consider how well a child or teen will deliver a class speech in a government class or in front of a sports team. If delivered with confidence it will inspire but if delivered with doubt the same speech will become a mockery in both the classroom and on the soccer field.
Good leaders are organized. They seem to know how to delegate and prioritize to get a task started and help it progress to its conclusion. People turn to a leader for guidance on dividing up the work and getting it done.
Developing good organizational skills in children and teens goes hand in hand with teaching them goal setting techniques. This can be done by teaching them how to be organized at home, school and in extracurricular activities. Creating a priority list is a good way to start. This could include household responsibilities, homework, chores, extracurricular activities and personal hygiene. Checking off the tasks as they are completed will bring satisfaction, confidence and a feeling of accomplishment.
Example: A teen sets 2 goals this week:
1) Audition for school play for the role of “Annie”
- 1 hour every day
- Meet vocal coach 1 time this week
- Memorize lines by Tuesday
2) Study for science test (need a 92% to stay on honor roll.
- Both of these goals are specific and will require tasks to stay on track.
- Both will require organizational skills.
Another way to teach organizational / goal setting skills is by working with a child or teen to help organize her room. Giving the child the opportunity to brainstorm and dream up a plan to organize her room will bring excitement, motivation and creative thinking. Working with the child to come up with a plan that works best will be teach teamwork, communication skills and goal setting skills. Since this space is the child’s or teens they will be thrilled to discuss and suggest ways to organize their personal space. Toys, art supplies, sports equipment, books, etc. After all, these are important items to them. Staying connected as the parent or teacher is key to the success of the child or teen. Holding them accountable will keep them motivated and help them stay on track.
Teaching organizational skills inside the home will ultimately help with organizational skills outside the home as well.