Leadership skills for children: 10 expert tips

By Dr Richard C. Woolfson   — April 27, 2019
  • Having a goal
    1 / 10 Having a goal

    A leader emerges when a group of individuals strive towards a common goal.

    For a child aged five or six, that aim might be to complete a puzzle or build a structure.

    Leaders are not needed when there is no target, so encourage your child to have ambitions that she is prepared to strive towards until they are achieved.

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  • Communication skills
    2 / 10 Communication skills

    Effective communication skills are another key quality of leaders.

    Develop your child’s ability to express her feelings, as her peers won’t be willing to cooperate unless they understand her; they won’t work with her if she sulks silently in a corner when she can’t get her own way.

    Related: The most important thing you can do to boost your kid’s leadership skills

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  • Listening to others
    3 / 10 Listening to others

    Good leaders have strong listening skills.

    Encourage your five-year-old to look at her friends when they talk to her, to make eye-contact with them, to respond when they speak to her, and to use body language to demonstrate that she is listening – for instance, by nodding when she is in agreement with what they say.

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  • Part of a team
    4 / 10 Part of a team

    Although there are some leaders who are not committed to teamwork, it is generally accepted that part of leadership involves working in a team.

    Teach your child to respect others’ contribution, work towards a shared goal, and utilise the skills of the other team members in a positive way.

    Related: Does your child have this important quality for leadership?

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  • Persistence
    5 / 10 Persistence

    Nurture your child’s leadership ability by persuading her to persist, even when the task seems to be totally beyond her capabilities.

    A child who gives up easily will rarely inspire others to follow her; in contrast, a child who shows determination in the face of a very tough challenge acts as a good role model for her friends.

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  • Independent thought
    6 / 10 Independent thought

    It’s difficult to resist peer pressure, and this is why most children are heavily influenced by their friends.

    Independent thought, however, is a leadership quality.

    Stimulate your child’s ability to think for herself, and her courage to go in a direction that pushes against the crowd.

    Related: 4 important leadership skills to teach your children

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  • Self-confidence
    7 / 10 Self-confidence

    Everybody, both children and adults, has self-doubts sometimes.

    But while nobody goes through life without wondering at times if they have made the right choice or acted the right way, a leader is able to overcome these moments of doubt due to a high level of confidence and self-assurance.

    Strengthen your child’s sense of self-esteem to help her become a better leader.

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  • Bags of enthusiasm
    8 / 10 Bags of enthusiasm

    In any group task, there often comes a point when the children run out of steam, and interest in the work flags.

    A true leader shines through by remaining zealous in her task, so raise your child’s interest and enthusiasm even in the mundane details of daily life.

    Related: How to teach my child leadership?

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  • Giving encouragement
    9 / 10 Giving encouragement

    In addition to setting a good example, a child with leadership qualities will be able to encourage the others in her team to give 100 per cent effort to achieve their goal.

    Teach your child ways to buoy up the spirits of others in the team; their desire to please her will be so strong that they try harder with her encouragement than they would if they were working alone.

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  • Finding solutions
    10 / 10 Finding solutions

    Leaders tend to be skilful at finding solutions to problems that others feel are insurmountable.
    It’s about having the creative ability to think outside the box, and to see possibilities where others see only obstacles.

    Help your six-year-old to look at challenges in many different ways, and to be prepared to test several trains of thought before finding an answer.

    (Photos: 123RF.com) 

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