The world has entered an era which is complex and challenging in human history. Most of our children are not prepared to face challenges in their lives as global citizens. Our children need to become far more responsible, creative and tolerant of differences. They need to increase their ability to think for themselves, take initiative, get along with others and solve problems. The skills much in demand in global society include strong communication, teamwork, analytical, technical and organizational skills. They need young people who are self-motivated, creative and have strong work ethics. The children have to lead their lives as well as meet great challenges and grab opportunities of today’s intricate world. How do they do it?
Children are facing a lot of distractions, be it through media or getting into wrong influences. Parents worry about their children making wrong decisions. Leadership principles in schools help students to take responsibility for their lives, to work with others more efficiently and to do the right thing even when no one is looking. It provides an opportunity to learn to identify and display effective communication and interpersonal skills. Schools that promote teaching their students’ self-discipline, self-reliance and self-confidence, foster the opportunity to learn the skills to open the door to their future rather than wait for the doors to open.
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” said Stephen R. Covey, in his highly acclaimed book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
Every child has leadership qualities. The challenge is how to bring them out and how to nurture them. Goethe had said “Treat a man as he is and you make him worse than he is. Treat a man as he has the potential to become and you make him better than he is.” If we treat all students as if they are gifted, they will rise to that level of expectation. Leadership is communicating people’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
Children start benefiting from leadership skills at any age. Not only will they gain more self-esteem and interact more easily and effectively with their peers, but they can also make an impact on their community. These qualities will continue to develop and evolve as children grow up. Leadership requires being empathetic and socially involved, but still honouring personal morals, convictions and standards. Encouraging children to express themselves, learning to speak assertively and diplomatically is a cornerstone of leadership.
Teach by example. Children observe the adults in their lives, and internalize the behaviour and values they see. Firsthand experience is one of the best ways to teach leadership skills to kids. These experiences will empower children and teach them how to have a positive impact on others. Nurture children's individual talents and encourage participation. Every child has potential for leadership skills, but not every child develops skills in the same way. Pay attention to specific interests, passions and abilities.
Empowering children with principles, inspiring them to discover in themselves a leader will change the child and ultimately, the world.