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5 Ways to Nurture Leadership Skills in Children

Soft skills are becoming increasingly important within the workforce, and Leaders specifically  must have a wide selection of essential soft skills that they can draw upon in their day to day activities. Leaders play a crucial role in their organisations when it comes to decision-making, as their decisions impact the goals and results  of their organization.

Although it takes time and real-life experience to develop a solid set of leadership skills, parents should strive to make a conscious effort to foster these attributes in their children. This article provides 5 ways to nurture leadership skills in children.

1. Encourage team activities

Early on, identify your children’s interests and encourage their participation in group activities. Whether it’s joining a scouting troop, participating in sports, or joining the school band, children learn valuable lessons about teamwork through extracurricular activities. 

Take sports for example. By gaining the experience of being a team member, they will both observe leadership skills around them and get the chance to put them into practice. Involvement in social activities also helps future leaders develop a well-rounded, confident personality which enhances their capacity to lead a team.

2. Promote cross cultural experiences

Experiences with a different culture provide new, potentially uncomfortable situations and help develop communication skills that may not be learned elsewhere.

Overseas travel or working with a different cultural group within your community can provide an opportunity to learn new skills or may involve barriers that must be overcome. Also, cross cultural experiences allow you to see and understand the different perspectives that may be out there which is key as you know we have a very diverse workforce here in Canada today. 

Parents should consider taking family volunteer vacations or enrolling their children in adventure summer camps to enable cross-cultural experiences from a young age. 


3. Encourage innovation

Innovative Leaders today need to be highly creative in order to effectively deal with the constant change happening around us. Innovation is about discovering where you can add unique value. It is about unlearning, relearning, and mastering new skills. 

Young adults everywhere need mentors to teach skills in leadership, innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Whether they go on to start their own company, join a movement, or work for an existing company, these skills will play a key role in the success of their career.

Parents should  emphasize  the importance of developing entrepreneurship skills in their kids at an early age. Encourage kids to ask lots of questions to determine what they are passionate about. You can also ask them questions like “What kind of business would you like to own?”  

Challenging them to think about and generate ideas that could solve real life problems is key, because a major component of innovation is having a vision and desire to change the future.

4. Volunteering

An empathetic leader is committed to a cause.  The strongest leaders care about the well-being of others.  Volunteering demonstrates that a person is willing to commit their time and energy to something they are passionate about. 

Volunteering is a great place to put  leadership skills into practice. Showing commitment to a cause and striving to create better communities shows that a person is able to focus on the greater good for a team.

5. Emphasize perseverance.

The best leaders learn to handle failure as gracefully as they handle success. It’s important to expose future leaders to disappointment, rather than protect them from it. Children must learn to be resilient and handle the loss and move forward. Let them know from an early age that life may not always go their way, but not giving up is the most important thing.

Instilling this mindset from an early age will enable them to understand the importance of “going back to the drawing board,” reassessing and implementing the necessary change mechanisms required to navigate over any obstacle that they may be dealing with.

Author: David Ladipo