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You may wonder what leadership has to do with kids anyway. Don’t they have enough to do? Why try to teach them leadership too? Who cares about leadership anyway?

Well, here is my take on why it is important.

  • I’ve had bad leaders during my life and they make life miserable for everyone around them. Let’s not have your child grow up to be one of them. The only upshot of this path is that someone may learn what NOT to do based on their performance. Some bad leaders are just a benign annoyance. Some create so much stress around them that people leave the organization. Others are menacing. If we will always have this struggle between the effective and the less effective, between light and the dark, then we will always need a generation of those willing and able to step into leadership roles.

  • Our world seems to gain more problems as we go, not less.We will likely need leadership to help solve these problems going forward.

  • When leaders are good, the people benefit. I give you George Washington as an example. What if he had decided he liked power and took up the offer of those who wanted him to be a king over us? Where would America be today?

  • On the spectrum between anarchy on one end, and totalitarianism on the other end, I’d prefer the middle. For that to happen, we need leaders. Anarchy does not need them. Totalitarianism only needs one. In the middle of this crucial continuum we need many leaders.

  • Organizations get more done more effectively and efficiently with effective leadership.

  • Fast growing organizations have found that leadership talent can be a constraint on their growth. They tend to need new leaders badly.This has been my experience.

  • Hopefully we will not have conflict leading to war, but since the history of the world so far has had warfare, it is important to note that historically the success of armies is largely influenced by the leadership of those armies.

  • “The mantle of leadership is not the cloak of comfort but rather the robe of responsibility.”1 Responsibility seems to almost always have empty slots needing leaders to step up and assume responsibility. We cannot afford to have leaders who abdicate their responsibilities. Who will assume the responsibilities in the future?

  • Families need leadership from the parents. Parenting is leadership, perhaps even the most important kind. Communities need leadership. Nations need leadership. Who will fill these roles if not the children? Our generation won’t be here beyond their allotted time slot, so let’s teach the another generation what we’ve learned before we’re rendered less effective by the deterioration of age.

  • Somebody is influencing our children. They are always paying attention to what is happening around them. Peer pressure is a big thing at certain ages, going through the belonging phase of Maslov’s pyramid. Why not have your children influence their peers more than vice versa?

  • Teaching is leadership. We need teachers who selflessly lead the children to want to be better, to want to learn, to want to develop, and to transmit to them a lifetime desire to learn. This makes mankind better. It makes the experiences of life better.

  • I’ve been a apart of some organizations where the organization was collectively energized and moving forward fast. I’ve been in other organizations where the collective whole seemed as close to having no heartbeat as I’ve ever seen. The difference seemed largely a difference in leadership. Where one group’s leaders did just enough to get by, until the year was done and they could pass the baton on to another. Another group seemed energized, got others involved in key projects, accomplished much change and results. The differences were stark. The leadership was the main factor that differed. Our children will grow up to be a part of organizations and groups. How will they lead?

  • A person’s immediate supervisor is the single most important influence on worker satisfaction and productivity according to many HR studies these days. It’s more important than money, and more important the working conditions. Organizations do well or pay a price in turnover based on the quality of their leadership.

So there are some thoughts about why we should care. The next question is what will we do about it?

Thomas Monson

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KW Lanham


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