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  • The two adults with perhaps the greatest impact on children are their mother and their father. Therefore the first schools with the greatest impact on children are at home, for those children in this situation
  • Any interested adult can consciously provide specific examples consistently
  • Even if the primary adults in the child’s life don’t feel like they have leadership experience, they can expose the child to other good examples
  • Adults can arrange for opportunities for practice leadership skills
  • A crucial role for adults is to encourage the child, learning new things may be hard for the child initially. Because success typically begets success, it’s important to help them through the difficult beginning periods, rather like riding a bicycle.
  • Adults can watch for the child’s natural gifts or special talents, as they begin to emerge. Adults can help the children see and apply their own unique strengths. Awareness must come before use and honing.
  • Adults can provide feedback when children are in practice situations. They can talk through what happened and help them see the good and what can be tried again in future practices. This type of processing out or learning from practice is important to advancing their skill.
    • Children need models more than critics.
    • If it is hard for you to provide positive feedback, then introduce the child to someone more practiced at this and learn from them.
  • Adults can keep a written journal of the child’s progress, especially the effective behaviors and positive character traits that emerge. Periodically review their growth as written in the journal and use your insights for encouragement and positive reinforcement.
  • The adult can point out how someone in the child’s environment behaved effectively with leadership so the child starts to be aware of examples around themselves. Examples are many if they know how to watch for them.
  • Oddly enough adults should use poor examples around the child as discussion launch points. For example, “How would you have handled that situation differently?” These ‘thought experiments’ begin to form their experience base. The child can draw upon this ‘experience’ later.
  • Trusted adults can develop role plays and act out different roles, asking the child to influence the outcome. This can provide a safe environment to make mistakes without embarrassment and to get specific targeted feedback.
  • Sincerely care about the child, lovingly lead them by the hand and show them how.
  • Positively reinforce glimpses of good character.
  • Tell stories of other leaders. Children love a good story and it provides context for the leader’s actions.
  • Ask if the child noticed any leaders in entertainment videos or stories. Ask how they noticed. Ask how they (or tell how you) might do things differently.
  • Leadership can be hard, so show them that to help a group of people accomplish something is to create. Creation is one of our deepest desires as humans, and it is inherently fulfilling. This is the upside that makes working with the difficult parts of leadership worthwhile.
  • What else can you think of?
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KW Lanham


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