I am a great supporter of the idea that every child has the potential tobecome a leader. With the right guidance, environment, circumstances, and support, they can be as great as they come. In today’s post, I will share some tips that both parents and leaders can use to raise the next generation leaders (at home/at work). As a parent, it is my greatest wish that my children become individuals who can lead and support others to the best of their abilities, that they do not get so entangled in all the distraction and marvels of technology out there and forget the importance of treating others respectfully. Having said that, I need to emphasize that at the end as parents, teachers, coaches, bosses, or older relatives we can only try our best to influence and educate them, it is not supposed to be forceful. Every child is different, and so are the choices they will make growing up, let’s not forget to honor and accept that.
What is the ‘Next Generation of Leaders’ that I am talking about?
Well, I am talking about an emotionally intelligent,engaging and inspirational communicator, supportive, humble, socially active, inspiring, knowledge seeker, courageous, and kind individual, who is always ready to take the lead and help others achieve the vision or goal that they set out to pursue. I am referring to that person who will be able tonavigate the digital society, having grown as a digital native, in a world of constant distraction, interconnectivity, automation, artificial intelligence, and social media, and yet they remain fundamentally human, they act and behave like humans, and they treat others with utmost respect and value them as people.
It Starts From Home
We are all aware of the critical role that a good upbringing, healthy environment, and love can play in the development of the character of our children. According to this Psychology Today article, you can start inspiring and educating them as early as when they are 2-5 years old. We can spoil them and give them everything that we dreamed of having as kids, never being able to say ‘No,’ disciplining them when they make mistakes, and allowing them to see or treat others with disrespect or prejudice. Or, we can try our best to give not only ‘things’, but treasures, the treasure of quality time, the treasure of telling them inspiring stories of great leaders and how they helped others, the treasure of disciplining and correcting them when they make mistakes, of teaching them the importance of learning from their mistakes and grow. We, as parents, can teach our lovely children to embrace the fact that they are not perfect and no one expects them to be, that there are o shortcuts into becoming GREAT, they will stumble, rely on their team, family, friends, and evolve from there never giving up.
15 Tips for Parent to Succeed in Raising a Leader
1. Lead by Example
This is my first tip because I believe it to be the most important. Showing your child the kind of leader you want him to be through your actions will increase the likelihood of him/her wanting to grow to become just like you. Not only that, they need to understand that as leaders, it is their job always to be willing to take the first step and do what has to be done, and not just delegate. Leading by example builds trust, and being trustworthy is the pre-requisite of leadership, if people do not trust you to lead them to success, they will not be willing to go to the extra mile for/with you.
2. Focus on Emotional Intelligence
The big challenge of the next generation leader will be the soft skills, the ability to understand, care, and engage with others in a meaningful way. They will be surrounded by machines, social media, intelligent robots who will carry out most of the manual work, and that can easily lead to undervaluing people’s efforts, their contribution and need for human interactions with their boss. One way you can do this is showing up and caring about what the child has to say, take the time to understand their feelings, and exchange with them, teach them to care and communicate and speak in a meaningful way with others.
3. Teach them to Embrace Failure as an Inspiration for Success
Thomas Edison’s famous quote discussing the fact that he failed over ten thousand times before the light bulb worked (he was really tenacious and persistent). ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ The funny thing about our failures is that they can paralyze us, and make us give up when perhaps we were so close to achieving success. Give your child some exercises that will take some time to master, let him/her try a few times until they make it, and then celebrate that victory with him/her. Remind him/her of how many times they failed before they succeeded, and tell them stories of how you and so many others who achieved success in life have gone through the same.
4. Allow them to learn Problem Solving Skills & Teamwork
Speaking of raising the next generation leader, we can only imagine the bigger size and higher level of complexity they will be facing in their lifetime, so the ability to solve problems and work effectively as part of a team is a must. As the leader, he/she must be able to look at a problem, assess the required tools or information needed to solve it and select the best course of action to sort it out. One good idea here is to allow your child to play sports, to be part of a team, and learn to face challenges and overcome them with his/her teammates. A good chess game lessons, solving puzzles and crosswords, and educative video gaming is some fun way to inspire them. J
5. Praise them for their Achievements
Most people remember to say ‘No’ to the child or discipline him/her when there is an issue or a major blunder from his/her side. However, giving Praise is just as important, just be careful not to give them with too much praise (and yes, that is a real thing). If you over-praise them they will probably become self-centered, and people who desperately need their peers’ approval in life, and I am sure that is not the leader type we are talking about here.
6. Direct them to Accept Constructive Criticism
As a leader, your child must be able to receive criticism and take it positively. None of us is perfect, we will be wrong, or do something that is inappropriate, sometimes even unaware that that specific action or behavior is causing loss, sadness, or any negative result to someone else, or the team we lead. My advice to my children: ‘When you get the chance to receive such constructive criticism, deal with it in the best possible way, thank the person who reached out to point it for you, really appreciate the fact that you have someone who cared enough to tell you the bitter truth.’
7. Share with them the Power of Optimism
As a leader, you must believe in the vision, the goal that you and your team are following, and it must be apparent to anyone how much you believe that you will achieve success. If being optimistic sounds too cheesy, just spend some quality time with a pessimist, and you will see how unattracted to them you will become. Being optimistic is not being naïve and blindly going forward with no strategy or plan. As a leader that is a mix of good old hope and belief that things will work out, plus some serious feasibility study, strategy, planning, and risk management actions in place. Wishful thinking is not enough! Teach your child to be optimistic, to always believe that things will work out. That even if they do not, there is definitely a good reason they did not, and a great opportunity may arise from that.
8. Advise them to improve their Risk Management Skills
In virtually all activities we do on our daily basis, there is always a risk, there is a way to avoid or mitigate it, and we need to think about it before we take our first step. We usually do that, we tell our children to not play near/with fire because they may get burned, right? That is an example of risk management right here. The next generation leader needs to be an expert when it comes to assessing risks and taking wise decisions to deal with them. Regardless of the amount of help they will get from artificial intelligent systems, they must be able to still do that to a certain extent by themselves in cases of emergencies, and/or lack of automated systems support.
9. Start early with their Financial Education & Budgeting
One critical skill that they should develop should they become business leaders is the ability to understand their financials. Nowadays, with our ability to purchase anything almost instantaneously with the internet, we are even more prone to spend ‘too much’ when compared to previous generations. Therefore, we have a much bigger challenge of teaching restraint and strategic spending to our kids. Some parents believe that giving money to their kids is a terrible idea because they will grow a taste for it and become greedy. Although I understand where they are coming from, I know firsthand what it is like to be trusted to make the right decisions. As a child, whether you are learning to manage your own allowance, or help in a family business with small tasks, or even saving some cash for that one toy, you always wanted, knowing that your parents count on you to make the right choice is powerful. Offering up some opportunities for the children and teenagers to learn how to manage money, will end up benefiting them long-term, as they will understand the value of having savings and to be selective with what they purchase.
10. Teach them to Always Find Win-Win solutions
Being able to negotiate or make deals effectively is another critical skill we can teach our little ones. One example that comes to mind is when you buy some toys or sweets to the kids, which have different colors or shapes, you distribute them, and there is one that feels like he is losing. Then, you tell one or the other to trade with his brother, and explain the benefits of having that trade, of how one likes this shape more than the color they got, etc., so at the end, they end up trading and everyone is happy. Negotiation is about making win-win deals, making sure that everyone leaves the room having gained something relevant to them. If your mindset is set to ‘winning the negotiation’ before going in, then you are a poor negotiator.
11. Inspire them to adopt Constant Learning (Reading/Listening/Watching)
By reading stories and telling them amazing legends, they fall in love with the world of books. Tell them that the secrets of the world can be found in the books, and they are their best companions in their spare time. In our day and age watching educational videos and listening to podcasts or audiobooks is becoming more and more common. Therefore, we can teach them to listen to something valuable and exciting in their free times, while we drive them to school, and so on. Please allow them to play too, playing around is also critical for the child’s development. 🙂
12. Don’t Neglect to polish their Communication Skills
Effective communication skills are necessary to all those who want to become leaders, and that includes both verbal to non-verbal communication. As leaders, they will have tospeak in public and inspire their audience, sell their vision, their solutions and products to clients. When they are young children they are curious, they love to absorb new things and share them with their parents, brothers or cousins. That in itself is the moment they learn to communicate and transmit their message to others. I have a free eBook with tips that I have used to improve my ability to deliver engaging presentations and to make sure that the critical message I want to deliver has higher chances of being remembered by my audience. These tips, also allow you to be more confident during your speech, and that confidence is essential when trying to have your audience trust you, and your expertise. Find the eBook on the following link.
13. Prepare them to be men/women of their Words
Integrity is a quality that can make people fall in love with you. As a leader, it is critical that your collaborators, your followers, and all those inspired by your vision, and leadership trust you for who you are and what you stand for. We need to teach our children always to tell the truth and motivate them to do so even when they are scared of the outcome. Teach them that their words have weight and value only if they are truthful, but if they lie and are known to be liars, then their words will lose meaning and people will not trust them. If I cannot trust you, I will not follow you.
14. Give them chances to exercise Decision Making
Decision-making is the primary reason people choose a leader to guide, inspire and take them to their intended destination. All the risks, dangers, detours, potential losses that are encountered along the way, can be avoided, or overcome by the excellent decision-making skills of their leader.Kids always naturally find that one friend who is bold, risk-taking, and decisive in whatever they do. All the other kids gravitate towards them, they trust them to be the ‘group leader,’ and follow his decisions (even the wrong ones). We must teach our children that not all decisions will be the best possible, but we must strive to make the best decision possible with the data and information that we have at our hands, we must make sure we did our very best in assessing the best course of action and started taking action right away. Poor decisions can often be corrected (if there is available time to do so) or at least serve as lessons for the future. Not making a decision, most often ends up in regret, and that is far worse than making a poor decision.
15. Remind them to be HUMAN
More than anything, I am an advocate of leaders who are human, who are emotionally intelligent, and who care for those helping him/her achieve their vision. He must listen actively, provide concise feedback, own their shortcomings, and continuously improve himself/herself and those around him. Being the best decision-maker, financial guru, and top CEO of a major company while not being appreciated by those who collaborate with you all the way is pointless, that is not leadership at all. That is merely chieftainship, or in conventional terms, you are just a Boss (and there are tons of those out there).
Important Reminder on the topic of Raising the Next Generation Leaders
We must teach our little ones to make a positive difference in the world. To help people, to nurture talent in their teams, a group of collaborators or followers, to help others achieve their dreams, and to inspire them also to help others as well. Here’s a quick reminder for you to grab that eBook, and learn the tips that I have used and shared with others in the past, and they have proved to be quite effective if applied and practiced enough to make you a memorable speaker. You can also click on the image below, it will redirect you to the landing page. Thank you so much for reading this far, and I would love to hear your comments on which other tips you have that could help nurture the next generation leaders.
An avid seeker of knowledge, and passionate about sharing the lessons he picks up in life. Emidio is passionate about public speaking, teaching, and helping others develop critical soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and other interpersonal skills which are in high demand in today's rapidly evolving market.