Do We Wait Too Long to Train Our Leaders?
When children start their first years of schooling, they are introduced to subjects like Maths, English, Reading and Writing. Then as the years go on, they start learning subjects like Science, Languages, History, Humanities, Physical Education, Drama and Art to name a few. It also varies whether children go to a private or public school. Some kids might decide to do concentrate on certain subjects as they get closer to Year 12.
There is nothing about leadership on this list. Which leads me to ask, do we wait too long to train our leaders? Shouldn’t the traits of leadership be some of the very first things we teach children? How to be kind, courageous, empathetic and communicate to other people. These traits are not only important for leaders to have, but for all members of the community to possess. So, it should be a no-brainer to start teaching kids these traits while they are still young. It also should be fundamental for us to teach our emerging leaders. It is also never too late for us to learn about leadership and self-development! Don’t you think?
If we teach children good habits when they are young, they will pass these traits onto other kids, family members and grow up knowing how to be courageous and kind to all those around them. They will be able to apply these traits to their careers and even grow up to become a leader in their field. Because we are not born knowing these skills, we are taught these skills by people who already have these kinds of skills.
Of course, I am not saying that schools HAVE to start training leaders of tomorrow, today, I’m simply saying that it’s never too early to teach leadership skills and how to have confidence in yourself. These are vital skills that we all must learn at some point to steer through everyday life, so why not start at the beginning.
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The figures in this Harvard Business Review are interesting – https://zengerfolkman.com/articles/we-wait-too-long-to-train-our-leaders/.
“When I looked back at our database of some 17,000 worldwide leaders participating in our training program, who hailed from companies in virtually every sector throughout the world, I found that their average age was 42. More than half were between 36 and 49. Less than 10% were under 30; less than 5% were under 27.
But the average age of supervisors in these firms was 33. In fact, the typical individual in these companies became a supervisor around age 30 and remained in that role for nine years — that is, until age 39. It follows then, that if they’re not entering leadership training programs until they’re 42, they are getting no leadership training at all as supervisors. And they’re operating within the company untrained, on average, for over a decade.”
Sometimes, honing leadership skills start at home. Here are some ways you can start teaching your kids, teens or even yourself some leadership skills. Because it’s never too early to start.
· Model leadership behaviour to children – children learn by seeing what you and others do. Let kids learn from traits like courage, positivity, empathy, and kindness. Don’t forget to tell your child what you are doing and why you’re doing it. This way, children will start implementing these positive behaviours in their daily lives.
· Build self-confidence – Building self-confidence is an important trait to instill in your children from a young age. You can do this by giving children an opportunity to do a job and praise them when the job is done right but do it wisely. When you’re teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first and then let them do it themselves (while you supervise).
· Find problem-solving solutions for kids – Teach kids how to solve their own problems. I’m not talking about the really big problems like cutting down on this week’s shopping bill. I’m talking about smaller problems, like what activity they want to do that day, what toy they want to play with, what they want for lunch, where they would like to go that weekend and let them make a decision.
· Teach children how to see things from another’s point of view and involve them in group activities – this one is important as it teaches your kids kindness and empathy for other people. Teach kids how to listen carefully, listen to other people, don’t interrupt, and let others have their say. Also let them get involved in group activities with other kids.
· Encourage children to pursue interests and hobbies – Encourage children to get out there and do things that interest them. Whether it’s basketball, public speaking, hockey, netball, or painting, encourage them to pursue their passions, interests, and hobbies. This will also help them learn about teamwork and about holding their teams together while playing sport.
So, like I said, it’s never too early to teach our kids good habits so that they can go out to the big wide world with leadership skills and confidence. In turn, it is never not too late to learn leadership ourselves so we can instil it into our children and younger generations, and you will surprised the difference it will make in your life as well.
What do you think?
By Sonia McDonald – CEO Of LeadershipHQ And McDonald Inc. Leadership Coach, Global Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, CEO And Award Winning Author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and 2022 Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.