Developing Leadership at an Early Age

Today, leadership has become a very valued skill. The art of influencing and motivating people to bring nothing but excellence on the table holds far more value in today’s volatile job markets. Personal leadership can take an individual to the next level in the workplace, the community, and even at home. It’s a skill that can help guide an individual in making choices for success, plot out personal growth, teach leadership essentials, and help realize an individual’s full potential.

Today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders.  For some children, leadership comes naturally, but children continually learn along the way and these nuggets of information significantly shapes them in life. The younger the kids start learning skills, the easier it is for them to inculcate these skills in their lives. As parents, we want our children to be courageous, compassionate and authentic.  We have expectations that they will be able to inspire everybody around them but children always learn what they see. Hence as parents and guardians, their leadership journey is our responsibility. It’s a big responsibility, no doubt since our children are learning every day through our actions and reactions. The most important aspect to develop leadership is to say the right thing at the right time. Here are 6 things that you should do to develop leadership in your children:

Also read: Success is a journey, not a destination. Don’t chase it, experience it.

  • Demonstrate Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is an ability to manage behaviour and feelings, both of our own and of others. It involves being aware of emotions and to understand and act on them in a positive way. Often as an adult, when emotions run high, we say and do things which normally we wouldn’t do. For children, it’s what they do all the time.  Emotional intelligence helps children to shape how they respond to challenges. It allows them to measure situations, put them in perspective and figure out a way to make things work. Children learn this through their parents. It’s very important for parents to be able to understand and manage their emotions since children pick up the way their parents deal with strong emotional upheavals and how they respond to their feelings.

  • Embrace their failure

What we often forget about as parents is that failure is an integral part of success. A lot of times parents are so cautious about protecting their little ones, that they don’t let them take risks. Failure teaches us so many things which cannot be learnt in any other way. Failure is something that can tear a person apart but makes them come out of it stronger. Hence, it’s essential for children to experience risk and failures.  When parents try to shield their children from failure in order to boost their self-esteem, children struggle in tolerating failures which are required to succeed as a leader. On the flip side, being too critical isn’t very good either. Children need support when they fail. They need to know that someone cares. Your support allows them to embrace the experience and makes them believe that they’ll make it through it all right.

  • Help them learn the power of communication

Communication plays a fundamental role in our lives. It’s a cornerstone of both leadership and relationships. Children learn to communicate from the day they are born. As a parent, we need to help them practice effective communication. Looking for opportunities where your child can speak to people other than their immediate family, whether at a restaurant where they place their own order or at an ice cream parlor can help children’s communication skills. Interactions with siblings and friends also help in developing social skills and interpersonal skills alongside their communication skills. These skills will make them feel at ease in social situations, where they will find it easier to strike up conversations with peers, and make new friends.

  • Team building exercises

Teamwork requires people to work cooperatively with others towards a shared purpose.  Being part of a team enables the child to move from individualistic ways of thinking and learn to collaborate with others. It will help the child in all areas of learning and help him to feel part of a community, too. One of the ways to hone this skill is through giving projects at home. While planning for a family event or a vacation, children can easily learn collaboration and teamwork. Similarly, a weekly board game night can help children develop the art of managing teams.

  • Walk the talk

Leaders who are transparent and forthcoming are the ones who are the most trustworthy. They aren’t perfect and might make mistakes, but this shows that they too are humans. They earn people’s respect by being completely authentic. Children can develop this quality naturally, but only if it’s something they see their parents demonstrate and quite frankly, it’s very difficult to always be authentic. You must be honest in all aspects, not just in what you say and do but essentially in who you are. When you walk your talk, your words and actions will align with whom you claim to be. Your children will see this and aspire to do the same.

  • Let them be Problem Solvers!

The road leading up to a successful life is full of obstacles and difficulties.  Every day brings new problems and as a leader, when you take the call, you are also responsible to stay behind and clean up the mess that’s been created. Children from an early age should be given chances to solve problems. Parents can act as enablers to help them solve a problem, let them struggle, let them analyze and access the situation. The entire process of solving a problem can be overwhelming at the initial stage and the child might get frustrated but at that point, the parent has to motivate them not to quit. An ability to solve problems makes children more confident, resilient and helps in building character.

Remember, if you have a little one to raise, you have an opportunity to create a future leader. We as parents, teach them to eat, to ride a bike, to read, to exercise as early as we can and developing leadership should be no different!

How is your experience as a parent of a future leader? I would love to hear it! You can share your experience via email at! Meanwhile, check out these unconventional courses on our website to help your child explore the leader within him/her!