Building Leadership Skills in Children
The Apex team fiercely believes that it’s never too early (or too late!) to teach children and students leadership skills. As part of the company’s new 2019-2020 theme, Game On, with each letter representing an important life skill, Apex explores the importance of raising leaders — and tips on how to do so.
Be a Go Getter — The “G” in this year’s Apex theme stands for “Go Getter.” The idea behind this is that leaders can take action every single day — they don’t need to wait to be a certain age or accomplish a certain thing to take on the role of a leader. Leaders go for it when the opportunity strikes — and they create their own opportunities!
Showcase Leadership Examples — Sometimes the greatest lessons are those that are exemplified rather than told. Children look to adults — such as parents, teachers, and siblings — as role models. So it’s important to be that for them. Parents can showcase leadership skills every day — and in ways that don’t even intercede with their given careers. Being a leader means being brave, taking risks, trying something new and seeing something through — even when it becomes difficult.
Encourage Them to Get Involved — Whether joining a sports team or becoming part of a church youth group, there are many activities and opportunities for children of all ages to be a part of a team — and to serve as a leader within it. The earlier students get a handle on how they can become a leader in any group, the more confidence they will build as they grow.
Support Decision-Making and Problem-Solving Skills — Being a good leader often involves making tough decisions on the spot — and coming up with solutions for the benefit of the whole versus one or two. Helping to build these skills will help children become natural leaders throughout their lives. Start by giving young children options or scenarios that may be problematic — and help them make the right decision or find a solution. Eventually, they’ll begin to understand how to make their right decision and come up with solutions on their own. It’s important to keep in mind that there may be many “right” decisions or ways to solve the same problem. Encourage their creativity and individual thinking when making decisions and problem solving.
Clear Communication — Leaders aren’t afraid to voice their opinions and beliefs — and neither should students and children. Learning to effectively communicative can help children throughout every facet of their life as they grow and encounter all types of real-life situations. Parents can help build this skill by allowing children to freely communicate at home, and also encourage them to do small tasks such as pay the cashier at the market, order their own meal at a restaurant or ask a sales person for another size in a department store. While these may seem like small things, they are the beginnings of effective communication for little ones. As important is it for children to find their voice, they should also match this with effective eye contact.
There are so many ways that parents and guardians can start helping their children learn strong leadership skills — and ultimately create the next generation of go getters. The Apex Leadership Co. encourages any adult in a leadership role to help students and children understand the importance of this characteristic.