As parents, we teach our kids most of the skills that they will use through their lives. We teach them how to feed themselves, clean themselves, recognize words and names, and tie their shoes. It is our responsibility to get them ready to go out into the world on their own, and that includes leadership skills for teens when the time comes. Once they get to their teen years it may feel like they are beginning to learn without us. But now life lessons are more important than ever! We are talking about the formative years that will help to dictate who they will become and spend their adult lives being. A critical lesson that will take them further than most is to be a leader. Not only will this give them what they need to stand up for themselves in the future, but it gives them the ambition, drive, and confidence to strive for their goals. Here are 4 ways to teach leadership skills to teens.
1. Teach Them To Be Sociable
It might seem over simplistic, but just being able to socialize with others is important in developing leadership skills. Someone has to be able to walk up to a new person, introduce themselves and leave an impression. It should be obvious how this could help later on, especially when it comes to careers or forming personal relationships. Show your teen how to shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye and give a clear introduction with a smile and pleasant demeanor. This is an immediate way to establish leadership in any given situation as it gives others confidence in you.
2. Offer Pointers On Remembering Details
The devil is in the details––it is an old saying and very true. Everything you need to know is in the small things that we often forget. Names, faces, details people tell us about their lives, information about events, class schedules, homework tips, deadlines and duties at work. Life is full of things to remember! Start teaching your teen to write things down. They should have some kind of planner and journal that works in a format that is helpful to them. For example, I like to have a mobile to-do list that syncs with my calendar and lets me leave notes. My wife prefers an old fashioned day planner. It doesn’t matter what it is, it just matters that it works. Once they remember these details they can show how put together they are. They will be self sufficient and hold themselves accountable. Others will begin to rely on them and trust them.
3. Give Them a Strong Sense of Right and Wrong
Much of leadership starts with being able to stand up for what we believe in. We have to hold ourselves and others to a high standard and when we see an injustice work to rectify it. In high school especially, your teen will come to see many negative behaviors. If they have a strong sense of right and wrong they will be more capable of acting within the framework of their values. Give them the blueprint they need to recognize when those values are being threatened, as well as a clear road to dealing with the problem.
4. Get Them Involved In Activities
An interesting study published earlier this year found a strong correlation between teens who volunteer to help strangers and their own sense of self-esteem. When they gave back to the community, especially working directly with others, they felt better about themselves and were more confident. Activities in general, including extracurriculars, can be a great place to gain that sense of self-pride that is a key component in leadership. Without strong self-esteem, not only will they not see themselves as a leader but others won’t, either.
Teach them to see themselves as, and act like, leaders and before you know it they will be independent, proactive, and ahead of the pack!
Tyler enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn
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