What do we teach our children about leadership? Or more importantly, do we even consider teaching our children about leadership? It is interesting how we automatically believe that our children will grow up to be leaders when we don’t even work with them on the meaning of leadership. I have heard parents exclaim that their child is a born leader because other kids are always following them. Hate to burst the bubble, but just because you follow someone, that does not make them a leader. They may just be the least timid, or have the loudest voice of the group.
Leadership was not something that was actively discussed in school when I was a child. We had clubs where people were elected into leadership positions. Other than calling a meeting to order or taking notes, there was little leadership training provided for these positions. Many of what I would consider leadership ideas came from the basic life lessons my parents taught me. Be respectful of others, listen, help out when you are able, be accountable for your actions, be honest, follow through on your commitments, and do the right thing, are just a few of the early leadership lessons I didn’t realize I was learning as I was growing up.
Just like any other skill we teach our children, leadership should be one of them. What we say and how we view leadership in our own lives has a lasting effect upon our children. These conversations do not need to be deep and complex, just talking about how to handle a specific situation or how doing the right thing can be difficult may have a profound impact on how a child thinks about leadership. Over time, these small lessons can add up to a lifetime of leadership learning.