Some children seem to naturally fall into the role of leaders. There are people who believe that birth order has a lot to do with it. But the qualities that define good leaders can be taught and developed.
Whether your child aspires to be a governor like Martin O'Malley, Speaker of the House like Nancy Pelosi, or a leader on their team like Cal Ripken, you can help them achieve their goals. Here are some qualities that you should cultivate:
Honesty: No gray area here. Good leaders must be honest and trustworthy. Teach this principle at home, and reinforce the message through groups like Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts, 4-H and other youth groups.
Confidence: Allow your child to make decisions, and follow through. By weighing consequences and possible outcomes, your son or daughter will learn to make good choices. Plus, they will reap rewards from the good decisions they make, and feel good that they were allowed to make their own choices. This will build their confidence and help them lead others. They might start in an organization at school like Student Council.
Critical Thinking: Encourage discussion on various topics. Create an atmosphere at home where your child feels that their opinion is valued. When something happens that your child disagrees with, either on television or in school, ask them what they would have done. How would they have handled it? Keep an open mind, listen to their ideas, and suggest alternatives.
And when they come to you with information that may not be accurate, suggest that they consider the source. Explain that they should weigh the facts and come to their own conclusion. Again, be open to discussion and debate. Provide input and recommendations to help them see the truth.
Goals: Talk to your son or daughter about what they want to achieve. Consider short-term goals, like getting good grades this semester, or planning summer vacation, and long-range, such as where they want to go to college. Model this behavior by setting your own goals, for work and your family. Celebrate each victory.
Helping your child develop good leadership characteristics will benefit them in all areas of their life.