Let’s discuss how to develop leadership skills in a child when this may mean going against what their peers are doing.
We’ve all had those moments where those around us are acting in an inappropriate manner.
Maybe it’s at work where colleagues are making fun of the boss behind their back or goofing off on a project and not moving at the speed they should.
With our children, this happens all the time.
Their peers (friends) may be making fun of another student, a teacher, a coach and all the other kids are doing it.
Your child is faced with a decision:
- Join in and do what they know is wrong
- Keep silent
- Walk away (if they’re able to)
- Lead their Peers in a new direction
We’d all like to assume our children will all jump to #4, but that’s why I shared the work example above. What would you do?
It’s tough right? This means sticking your neck out in front of your peers, going against the herd and risking a bit of your ego for a moment.
That’s why it’s important to share practical advice that we know our kids can feel comfortable doing.
Let’s try to tackle that together now.
How To Develop Leadership Skills In A Child
In this last blog post, we shared what makes someone a good role model.
As mentioned there, an influencer is someone who:
- Teaches us to think
- Challenges us
- Role models the way
But as mentioned in the paragraph above, going against your peers and role modeling the way can be harder than it sounds. For most kids, it’s easier to say nothing and just ignore the behavior.
The question is, how can we help our kids step into that leadership role and perhaps stop the behavior without putting them against their friends?
The answer is in the second trait above: challenge them.
Suggest that your child find a way to rally his or her friends together to more successfully reach an end goal (one that maybe has nothing to do with the problematic behavior, but that diverts attention from it anyway).
For example, if your child’s teammates are keep complaining about the coach, perhaps rally them together to work on something specific in order to improve the overall performance of the team.
Obviously every situation is different, but it could go something like: “Look, I know that coach has been riding us about our performance and it isn’t fair with how hard we’re working… but she is right that there are some improvements we could make. Why don’t we really focus on this one move and see what kind of an impact that has on the overall performance?”
Again, every situation is different, but the general idea here is that your child aligns with the frustration of the peers, challenges them to look at it differently or diverts their attention to something else entirely, and then role models the way.
Conclusion: Children and Leadership
Going against the flow of our peers is never easy — regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult. And telling our kids to just stand up against them is honestly just not realistic. (I mean, do you always want to step in when your co-workers are making jokes or complaining about the boss?)
That’s why we have to find a way to help our kids “model the way” in a way that isn’t going to create friction between them and their friends.
While every situation is unique and will require a different approach, the easiest way to do this is come up with a way to rally his or her friends together behind a common goal that takes the attention away from the bad behavior. In other words, help them focus on something else rather than making fun of the teacher or coach or whatever the bad behavior is.
By rallying everyone together behind a common goal, there will be no unnecessary conflict and the ultimate goal of curbing the bad behavior will be accomplished. It’s a win-win for everyone.
What advice have you given your kids when they’ve found themselves in this situation? Share in the comments below or jump back and share in our Facebook group, where we’re already having this conversation.