How to Teach Your Children to Become Successful Leaders

Parenting tips to help you to raise your child to become a successful leader. This article provides tips for teaching children to be leaders and how to model good behavior for your children.

how to teach kids leadership

Helping Your Child to Become a Successful Leader

One of the most important lessons a child can learn as they grow is how to become a successful leader. In the age we live in, it sometimes seems as though everyone wants the perks of being a leader, but few want to invest the time and energy that it takes to become one. If you can instill the qualities of being a true successful leader into your child, your child will be a step ahead of the rest as they grow.

Leaders are incredibly important in our society. Too many people simply follow everyone else and don’t cultivate their own beliefs and opinions. Those who will become the true leaders of society will be those who dared to step out on their own and make choices based on their values – rather than just following along the wide path that so many blindly follow.

Below are some of the qualities of a successful leader that will help your child to become the best one they can be.

Learning to Follow

Being a leader is a position that stands out to many individuals simply because they don’t like to take orders, and they may feel that being the one giving orders will solve this problem. However, being a successful leader also requires knowing how to follow the lead of others.

If you want others to follow you as you wish, putting yourself under the wisdom and direction of another person will help you to stay humble and will help you remember the needs of those under you.

From early out, enforce to your child the importance of being able to follow directions and the instructions of others. Tell them often to remember to listen to their teachers, older family members and other leaders of the community and explain why it is important that they do so. 

Letting Others Shine

Sometimes, being in charge makes us forget that there is a time and a place for everyone to shine. Remind your child that as a leader, they should actively seek out opportunities to let others have their moment in the spotlight.

A great leader makes others feel good about themselves and giving them these opportunities will ensure that this happens often. 

Reinforce this principle among siblings especially or when on play dates with your child. Encourage them to cheer on others and help others win when they can so that they won’t feel the need to always be the winner. 

Let them play in teams and know that helping a teammate is OK because a win for the team is a win for everyone. Sign them up in sprting activities at school that can help with this trait. 

Working with Others

Teaching your child to work well with others will enhance their ability to lead. Everyone loves a leader who is a team player. By building the skill of team co-operation in your child, he or she will be more prepared to become a leader who is well liked, and known for their good qualities.

Being Open to Constructive Criticism

As a leader, your child will sometimes find themselves open to criticism from all angles. Teach them to see the good in this. When someone appears to be critical of your child’s leadership, train them to try and take at least one thing from it that they can learn.

Teach them the importance of sometimes overlooking the tone that the critical remark or advice is said in. Teach them to stand up for themselves when attacked, but to learn whenever possible.

Being a leader is not the glamorous life it sometimes appears. Teach your child the true meaning of being a leader, and how the path to gaining those qualities takes strength and humility. Remind them of the importance of leaders in our society, and the need to keep their motives pure.

Model Appropriate Behavior for Your Children

When it comes to children, you are their role model. Parents are their first teachers. It is important to let them know how to deal with various situations as they age.

Appropriate responses lead to positive outcomes. Model appropriate behavior mindfully whenever given the opportunity. It will make things easier on you and on your children.

Here’s a list of leadership skills to teach your children from early on.

Leadership Skills to Teach Kids

Independent Thinking

Help your child break out of the “cookie-cutter” mentality by teaching him/her to think independently. Ask your kids’ opinions on things, and refrain from judging or expressing your opinion. Just listen so that no opinion is “wrong.” You might share your own opinion respectfully, and if it differs, all the better – part of independent thinking is hearing several sides of an issue and coming to your own conclusions.


Age-appropriate responsibilities are important skills for building leadership. Give your child responsibilities as early as you can, and have him deal with the consequences if those responsibilities are not carried out. Of course, your child needs guidance; but once you explain what the consequences will be, sources say it’s best to let them play out.


Leaders need to be fair. Being too rigid and unbending is not a great way to teach your kids about fairness, but being too permissive isn’t, either. Help them to understand what is fair and what isn’t, and how sometimes being fair means being firm even when others are upset.


Have you thought about the importance of negotiation skills in leadership? Think about it: government leaders, particularly the president, need to be well-versed in the art of negotiation. So it’s okay to discuss your child’s wants and desires – ask him to present a convincing argument as to why he thinks he should have whatever it is, or participate in an activity. And sources agree that it’s okay for a parent to allow him/herself to be “talked into” something now and then!


Being organized is key to good leadership. Teach your children how to prioritize tasks and organize their time. Show them how to use calendars to keep things straight, and explain how time is organized by prioritizing tasks.

Also falling under organization is the concept of making lists. Have your kids make lists of what tasks they plan to complete each day and/or week. This also helps break tasks down into steps – maybe your child has a research paper due three weeks from now. Helping your child break that down into weekly and daily steps can be very helpful – not only in accomplishing the completing of the paper, but also in instilling the leadership skill of organization.


This is essential for leadership. Leaders must express their goals and their vision for whatever project or task they are leading. They can’t expect others to read their minds! Teach your kids good communication and listening skills by encouraging them to share their thoughts even if you disagree, and by actively listening yourself.

Related: How to Teach Empathy and Tact to Your Children

Signs That Your Child May Already Be a Strong Leader

Does it matter if you discover leadership abilities early? Observing leadership qualities early means parents, teachers and caregivers can work to develop those talents so they do not fall by the wayside.

If you want to make sure you develop your child’s leadership qualities, here are some signs to watch for. Some of them may surprise you!

Your Child is Talkative

Does it sometimes drive you crazy that your child talks so much? Actually, being talkative may be a sign of things to come. A chatty nature indicates a child with excellent verbal skills, which are important for good leaders. Did your child talk early and proficiently? This may be a sign that he or she will be a good leader.

Your Child Treats Others with Respect

If you notice that your child seems to end up in responsible positions – team captain, for instance, or band director – and you know he didn’t get that position because of “muscling” his way to the top or bullying others, then this may be a sign of leadership ability.

Notice if your child seems to have others “gravitate” toward her and wish to emulate her. Take note as to whether or not this is due to respectful treatment. If it is, you may have a strong leader on your hands.

They Tend to See Both Sides

Some kids exhibit an ability to understand both sides of an issue. They tend to be peacekeepers, helping two arguing kids to see reason, for instance.

This is a good indicator that they will grow in leadership positions later on in life.

They’re Always In the Know

Does your child always know what’s going on? Is he or she always aware of the latest happening at school or in the family? This is not the same as being a gossip (that’s not a good leadership quality), but it does mean that he or she is paying attention and interested in what’s going on with others.

They Are Inquisitive

A good leader is not afraid to ask questions, but he/she is not afraid to go looking for answers on his own, either. Too much questioning may indicate self-doubt – your child is always trying to make sure about things – but healthy questions that spring from a true desire to know more about something may be a sign of leadership ability.

Related: 13 Values and Morals to Teach Your Children at Home

kid leading other kids

How to Raise Children to Be Good Leaders

It’s been said that leadership starts at home. It just may be that leadership is, at least in part, an outgrowth of early training. There is disagreement among experts as to just how much leadership is inborn and just how much is learned, and there is really no way to settle that disagreement. It’s likely that it’s a combination of learning and natural ability.

If you’d like to do what you can to raise your children to be good leaders, here are some more tips that may help.

Teach Them to Think

Some sources point out that the school system, public and private, teaches kids what to think rather than how to think. Of course, there are probably exceptions to this – special schools and special teachers – but it’s entirely possible that your kids are not being taught how to think. So whether you homeschool or have your kids in public school, you might try some of these exercises to help your kids think on their own.

  • Give them an age-appropriate reading assignment that expresses a particular point of view. An opinion piece in the newspaper is a good place to start. Ask what your child thinks about it, and have him or her write an age-appropriate response to the piece. Do the same thing with an article that expresses the opposite or a different view.
  • Encourage them to read work that covers a range of opinions and views.
  • Ask them if they agree or disagree, and why.
  • Any time your child reads something, ask him (or her) what he thinks about it. Find out what he gleaned from the reading rather than finding out if he picked up what she was “supposed to” from the reading.

Leaders tend to be independent thinkers, so these exercises may go a long way toward teaching your child to be a good leader.

Related: ODD in Children: 4 Problematic Behaviors to Watch Out For

Teach Organization

This may be something of a challenge for parents who aren’t that organized to begin with! And for those parents who are very organized, you might find that you just organize everything for your kids without teaching them to do it themselves. So finding a balance is a good idea.

Try giving them a calendar and show them how to keep track of their own activities. Chore lists are also a good way to help them organize their time. Age-appropriate chores and activities, written on a calendar, can help kids “see” their time and how it’s being spent, even if they are too young to tell time yet.

Ask for Arguments

Okay, that may sound like something parents don’t want to do. But the art of arguing respectfully is an important leadership quality. We’re not talking about angry arguments; it’s more about negotiation and persuasion. Ask your child to tell you why he (she) wants a certain thing, or why he should be allowed to attend an event or participate in an activity. This helps your children learn how to analyze and present an argument (which is really a list of reasons) to achieve a goal.

Related: The Top Toys and Gifts for 9 Year Old Girls

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