[April 11, 2016] The traditional mission of formal education is to make kids smarter, better citizens, and more successful in life. Turning kids into leaders, however, is a fairly new attempt to do just that … and more. Teaching, mentoring, and coaching kids about leadership is beginning to show positive results and that is good for all of us because they will be our leaders tomorrow.
Fortunately there has been a lot of effort put into studying the effects of pre-adult leadership projects. There are many initiatives to do this, some with greater success than others. For example, the initiative to promote self-esteem has not worked out well and yet many schools still have self-esteem generating type programs in place. We all remember the recent controversy where every child gets a trophy (to boost self-esteem) even if they are the loser in a contest.
While much of the research on improving kid’s thinking and knowledge abilities tells us that it takes a heavy commitment on the part of adults, the child must also be an active participant. And, that is at the heart of the effort to gain great results. Most of this is done by instilling good habits.
Here is my list of 20 good habits for kids to be taught and reinforced for leadership (these are not easy):
- Get and maintain a positive attitude
- Learn from failure
- Be prepared to sacrifice time and energy
- Stay physically healthy through diet, sleep, and exercise
- Surround yourself with good and positive people
- Learn how to ask for and receive constructive feedback and criticism
- Learn the process behind making a well-informed decision
- Control anger, envy, and other emotions that can be destructive
- Never make excuses
- Learn to listen closely and focus
- Express gratitude often
- Never give up
- Never blame someone else
- Never make destructive comments
- Be open and honest
- Never give in to complacency
- Help others
- Be compassionate
- Learn how to ask questions and find solutions
- Measure success in terms of happiness
It is also important to start early and keep at it. Some days it will look like no progress is being made on educating our youth on leadership … but the challenges to be a good leader takes thousands of hours of study and practice just like being good at anything takes effort.
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Note: Here are some websites that can give additional insight in turning kids into leaders: