Can Leadership be Taught to Kids?

By | July 14, 2019

[July 14, 2019] Yes! Not only can leadership be taught to kids successfully, but it is also being done all the time; we don’t call it leadership training. I am often at odds with parents who say it’s impossible to teach kids leader skills. The problem is not that teaching skills is important; character development is more crucial at their young age.

Look back to your time as a young child. You were taught to share your toys, not to hit or bite other kids, never to lie or steal, etc. The formation of one’s character begins early and never stops. Yes, we are teaching them to be likable so that other kids and adults enjoy being around them. This utilitarian function allows our leadership development to continue throughout a lifetime. Hated kids rarely become effective leaders.

Leadership can be taught to kids. There are many avenues by which we do this. Playing team sports, schoolyard activities, social hobbies, and even book clubs are the beginning of an intensity of training that waxes and wanes throughout our lives. Those who thrive on it are rewarded with greater responsibility and with respect and admiration. They are on a trajectory toward greater things in life. We should encourage them and demonstrate leadership in what we do. Kids can see a hypocrite from a mile away.

We teach young kids the basics. We teach them to tell the truth, to be honest, and open, and to help others to the best of their ability. Kids absorb such lessons quickly; often faster than an adult. The young mind acts like a sponge for information on how to be a better kid. If we teach them respect, they will thrive around others. If we teach them honesty, they will forever be trustworthy and loyal. These are the foundations of leadership that are universal.

Over the next week, while at Scout Camp, I’ll be writing about some of my experiences with young boys and their development of leader traits. Back on June 22nd, I provided a short list of questions that I will be exploring (see link here). There will be some surprises along the way and some predictable outcomes. I will also provide some of the top leadership lessons they learn. For example, they quickly learn that working as a team benefits them more than working alone.

I’m already packed and ready to go. Am I prepared (in Sir Robert Baden-Powell) way? Yes, I think I am.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Can Leadership be Taught to Kids?

  1. Georgie M.

    Loved today’s article. Good luck at camp.

  2. Drew Dill

    I think we all can say, GOOD LUCK on your trip to Boy Scout Camp. As long as the weather is not dangerous and the bugs are not too bad, you and the boys will have a great time.

    1. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

      I think that even with hot and humid weather and lots of bug bites that the boys will always remember the trip as one of the best times of their lives. They will surely remember it. I know I do.

  3. Wilson Cox

    We are often told that the old stories for children are the beginning lessons for leadership and I agree. For example, the story that “There’s no such thing as dragons” is one that says ‘don’t ignore problems.’ Good stuff.

    1. JT Patterson

      Hi Wilson. I never thought of it this way. Great comment. Don’t ignore problems is the same that Gen. Satterfield has been writing about for a long time. His message is “don’t walk by a problem without fixing it.” If you ignore a problem, it only gets worse.

      1. Greg Heyman

        Thank you for the video link. I watched Dr. Peterson explaining this and thought to myself that I’ve been bypassing a lot of lessons in my life. Too bad there was no one there to explain it to me like you have.

        1. Fred Weber

          I was thinking the same thing. I’ve overlooked a lot in my life and here is just another example.

      2. Eva Easterbrook

        Agree. Excellent explanation. Concise and entertaining.

      3. Ronny Fisher

        I recommend reviewing as many of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s videos as possible. He has some really good things to say that will help make you a better person …… and a better leader.

  4. Gil Johnson

    I think the answer is finally in on this subject. Yes (I agree), leadership skills can be taught to kids. The hard part is to get them THINKING like leaders and not just acting like leaders. This is the hard part that will take maturity and experience.

    1. Eric Coda

      Well said. Some skills are simple to pick up. Some of them are just based on some common rules and learning how to respect other people. But some require a sophisticated level of thinking that kids will not be able to achieve. Even most adults cannot get there. But start them out with the basics and let them add to it over time.

    2. Harry B. Donner

      Very good comments here guys. Thinking, especially thinking critically, is one of the main keys to successful leadership.

      1. Lynn Pitts

        Agreed. An overlooked idea, nonetheless.

  5. Lady Hawk

    Good luck with the boys at Scout Camp. Stay cool.

    1. Jerome Smith

      Yes, best of luck on your week-long adventure!!!!!

    2. Janna Faulkner

      I’m sure the boys will be happy with their time away from home and with real men like you, Gen. Satterfield. Keep up the great works you guys are doing.

      1. Scott Matthews

        Yes! We all wish him well and hope for a quick return. I’m sure he will be blogging from camp.

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