By JOSHUA MILLER
As a father of two young children, I know parenting doesn’t come with instructions – you learn-as-you-go, navigating a course that hopefully provides a positive outcome.
I never considered my training in executive coaching, psychology, and organisational development to help me as a Dad, so, I too plodded along as a parent, doing my best, hoping for the best.
I was so wrong!
I soon realised that the fundamentals I used to develop executive leaders could be used to develop future leaders, and the process can start with us as parents, raising our children to be leaders.
Here are 5 qualities of leadership that I believe make it a vital life skill:
- A positive attitude: The ability to believe in your own goals and abilities in the face of discouragement from others.
- Overcoming adversity: Reframing problems into “challenges” to stay focused and get over, around, or through all sorts of barriers.
- Perseverance: Sticking to a goal – a training program, work assignment, friendship – is difficult, while quitting is easy. Leaders know when to persevere and when to quit.
- Commitment: Learning from mistakes rather than being discouraged by them.
- Excellence: Doing the best you can in every situation.
It’s never too early to start developing our next generation of leaders. Here are some pointers on teaching the fundamentals of leadership as a parent.
The true test of a leader’s ability lies heavily on how they navigate the unknown and deal with uncertainty. This is a daily risk for all leaders.
Children are no different. They pretty much assume they can get what they ask for – albeit from incessant whining, complaining, or earning it – but what about when it doesn’t go as planned?
It’s perfectly okay for a child to experience uncertainty or disappointment when it comes to something they want. Saying ‘no’ to your child is part of being a parent; learning how to handle the letdown is theirs.
Leaders are asked to make all sorts of decisions every day, sometimes with little information to go on. It’s a critical skill and a necessity to becoming successful in a leadership role.
Giving your young ones the ability (and opportunity) to choose certain things, like their clothes for school or vegetable with dinner, begins this process.
As a parent, although it can be heart wrenching at times to hear your child cry or see them upset, allowing them the space to be with their emotions and then finding a way to work through them is truly an essential life skill.
Whenever my oldest has an idea and I can see his creativity booming, my wife and I give him our full attention and encourage him to think through his idea.
Last week, he wanted to create a lemonade stand to raise money to buy something he wanted. Being creative and innovative is part of every leader in one way or another.
Being accountable is something we all struggle with from time to time, but teaching kids the concept of “showing up” is one of the most important life lessons.
When my oldest decided he no longer wanted to continue on a sports team he was on, we asked him to think about his teammates and what they may feel, should he quit.
The good news is that he didn’t quit and his team went on to win the championships.
Some of the greatest leaders possessed some of the greatest visions. Their ability to see something in a way that others couldn’t, made them truly innovative.
Kids are hardwired to think big and have visions of what could be. If your child sees something or believes in something, empower them to move forward.
The ability to speak powerfully – not loudly – is an art. Great leaders understand and practice this daily.
As a parent, there are many ways in which you can practice confident communication. We learned early on that going out to dinner and having our kids ask the server directly what they would like to eat or drink, helped build their confidence and communication skills.
Sometimes showing up is half the battle, while other times, it’s the whole thing. Admitting when you are wrong and owning up to something that you are at a fault takes a big heart and strong mind.
As a parent, the easiest way to illustrate this lesson to your kids is to model this behaviour in front of them. Simply put, admit when you are wrong or at fault.