Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Nurturing Young Leaders

A question that I asked myself today – Is leadership very different for children as opposed to adults? In some ways – yes, it is different but in lot of ways, it is actually quite similar to leadership for adults. When we are developing leadership skills in children, we are teaching them the same skills but in different ways. We teach them in ways that is more meaningful and understandable at the age bracket they are in.

I think it is very important to teach kids at every age some of these leadership skills so they can become successful leaders as they grow up. They may not recognize and understand everything at a younger age but at least we will sow the seeds.

Here’s a look at different age bracket for children:

  • When the child is growing up in very early years, we are teaching him discipline which is the basic quotient of personal leadership (the very first tier of leadership).
  • As they grow a little more into their elementary school years - we teach them social skills. How to be with other kids, playing with other kids and the concept of sharing (which in lot of ways is similar to team work for adults).
  • Middle school years are probably the toughest for kids since they are learning their own individuality and at the same time building lifelong friendships. They have to balance between individualism and the concept of collaboration. They have to find their individuality and yet be somewhat disciplined by their parents. If the kids get a good coach at this stage, they will avoid pitfalls and grow into stable leaders.
  •  By the time kids make it to high school - they have already learned quite a bit about their personality and they have made stable friends. They have hopefully found their balance of power with their parents and their focus now is towards polishing their individual goals. They start to learn how to make decisions on which branch to choose for college, which college to apply for etc. Parents play a good role here to balance between guiding and letting kids develop their decision making skills.

 Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry.
She is a consultant, writer and a leader.
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