To lead is to be able to motivate, influence, and direct others in order to work together and achieve a collective goal. Leadership isn’t reserved for grown-ups or those in prominent positions. Even from a young age, boys can develop their leadership skills and serve others. However, we understand that helping your son to become a leader can be challenging – you might not know where to begin, or what activities to encourage to enhance leadership skills in your son. To support your son to grow in this area and to flourish to his full potential, we’ve put together a list of five essential leadership skills to set your child up for life.
Communication skills are essential for boys to learn. A CSIRO report suggests that as work becomes increasingly centred around technology, human workers will distinguish themselves largely through their interpersonal skills – their ability to connect, communicate, understand and build relationships with others.
A good leader should be able to communicate effectively by encouraging and inspiring others. Being able to communicate, whether on an individual level or in a group setting, will set your child up for life. Getting boys to open up can sometimes be difficult, but there are many opportunities to encourage your son to talk. Ask him about the book he is reading – what he is enjoying about it, what he doesn’t like, how he relates to the character. Oftentimes, boys feel more relaxed when they are moving and active so getting them to talk about their day while walking the dog or playing outside might reap more rewards.
Good leaders know how to identify an issue and find the best solution. Problem-solving is the process of identifying a problem, developing possible solutions, and taking the appropriate course of action. Not only does problem-solving help a boy in his personal life, it is essential to his professional life as well. Employers often see everyday problem-solving skills as crucial to the success of their organisation. For boys, being a skilled problem-solver will help them to thrive in the workplace and lead others. These skills can be used to construct practical and creative solutions, and to demonstrate independence and initiative to employers. You can encourage problem-solving skills at home through creative play, participating in DIY projects together, and reading problem-solving stories. It’s really important to let children experience failure. Rather than provide a solution to your child when they encounter a problem, consider offering up multiple solutions and encourage your son to consider the best course of action.
Negotiation is a key leadership skill. Learning to negotiate teaches your son to articulate what he wants, how to manage his emotions and express his feelings, and to develop confidence and coherence. Negotiation also teaches your son to understand healthy compromise. This is important to learn from a young age because things can’t always go his own way, but as he matures, he will learn to find middle ground and create win-win situations. Parents can equip their children with vital negotiation skills by allowing them to resolve conflicts with friends and siblings themselves. In the early years when children are just starting to develop social skills, you can ask them questions such as “What can you do to change this situation and make everyone happy?”, “What would you do in this situation?”, “What can you do differently”. It is natural for parents to want to help to resolve conflicts but it’s important for boys to learn to do this themselves.
Being responsible is about learning not to pass the blame or make excuses for what is expected of you. This is important for boys to learn because it teaches them cause-and-effect – if they don’t meet their responsibilities, they must face the consequences. You can help your son become responsible by making him accountable for packing his own school bag and lunch box, and managing his own schedule by ensuring he has everything he needs each day (library bag, sporting or music equipment), and planning out his homework schedule. Boys need to learn to become independent from a young age – the more opportunities you create for your son to be independent, the more responsible he will become.
Elisabeth Wilson-Evered, Professor of Management at the College of Business, Victoria University says that integrity is about leaders doing the right thing and being consistent across contexts with all people under their influence, whether in public or private. To be a person of integrity is to live in accordance to Biblical values, to refuse to conform to societal pressures, and to reflect the character of God. There are many examples in the world where people have not acted with integrity and honesty. Talk about these openly with your son and ask him to think about how he would have approached a situation differently.
By helping to instil these five essential leadership skills in your son, you are raising him to become an effective leader and this can benefit him throughout his life. You can learn about the signs that show your son is an effective leader here. Implement these practices so that he can grow into the man, and the leader he was created to be.
Trinity Grammar School is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, we aim to know, understand and nurture each student to help him realise his potential, passion and purpose in life, ensuring that every Trinity boy is challenged, inspired and guided to become a successful, compassionate, internationally-minded man.
As a Christian school, we understand that the essence of leadership is service, and at Trinity we provide many leadership opportunities for our boys.
To learn more about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s leading schools for boys, download our prospectus.