Establishing Leadership Traits in Young Children
Leadership skills are highly valued in today’s competitive and fast-paced society. Whether it
is being captain of a sports team, managing a group of working professionals, or heading the community council, being a leader requires a set of skills that not everyone possesses. The only way to develop these skills is to put oneself in a position where he or she is able to constantly practice and hone them. The same is true with young children as well. The important thing to understand about leadership is that it is completely learned. No single individual is born a leader – but each and all can become one, through
- immediate, fateful circumstance (as in rising to a unique occasion)
- decades of hard-won experience, or
- dedicated, deliberate, and enjoyable training in a qualified program
The importance of confidence
One of the most important traits of an effective leader is self-confidence. It is certainly true that some children are more confident in their thoughts and actions than others. Confidence is important because precisely because the perception of one’s self is contagious! If one individual is able to display confidence in a thought or idea among a group of people, it sets the premise for relationships based on trust to be developed. However, it is also important to remember that confidence is not the only trait that a leader requires. In some cases, over-confidence or blind confidence can hold a leader back. Enrolling your child for karate classes at a young age is a good way to make them confident and self-reliant.
Do as I do, not as I say
Another factor to remember is that leaders typically don’t begin as “leaders” who give out instructions and command people to perform tasks and actions. The best leaders first experiences performing these actions himself or herself – as a follower – so that he or she can understand the effort and skill required. In doing so, a leader will increase his or her effectiveness in communicating and empathizing with team members under him and getting best results.
Another key trait that all leaders need is decision-making ability. This seems oddly difficult for many adults and most children! A leader must be able to view a situation and analyze it completely before developing a plan to tackle it, without falling prey to “paralysis of analysis.” Decisiveness is perhaps the most important trait of a leader, as it will determine whether a team is successful or not. Confidence in following through with a plan is important, but a calm, informed mind to make sound decisions is absolutely imperative for ultimate success and ROI.
Developing these traits is no easy job. Children can often feel uncomfortable or frightened when placed in leadership positions initially. However, many karate for kids programs make the training appealing to each age groups – playful for some, strictly disciplined for others – so that the leadership lessons are absorbed and experienced in several ways. In time, leadership practice feels more natural and fun, something to look forward to! As a parent, it is extremely important to encourage and motivate a child who takes on the added responsibility of being a leader, even if he or she may not succeed at first. Your karate instructors will be glad to help you and your child address training goals and needs too. Anyone can be a leader with dedication and practice at a qualified instructional facility with caring, capable teachers.