Did you know that kids can start developing leadership qualities as early as their preschool years? The sooner children learn to use their leadership skills the more opportunities for success they will have.

Consider the following strategies to help your children take command of their lives and grow up to be more productive and happy.

Understanding the Basic Principles of Leadership


  1. Develop emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the basis for sound leadership. Kids can work on accurately identifying specific feelings in themselves and others and managing them constructively. This way they’ll solve emotional issues more easily, get along better with others and avoid destructive behavior.
  2. Generate compassion. Keep the focus on caring for others. Let your children know that the purpose of becoming more influential is to have a positive impact on society. Life is full of opportunities to serve others and recognize that we’re all connected.
  3. Take charge of your life. Show kids they can take an active role in making things happen. Help them to understand that they create their own outcomes rather than viewing life as something that happens to them.

Leadership Development Strategies for Younger Children

1. Delay gratification. There are valuable life lessons in learning to plan ahead and work for rewards. For example, help your kids to understand that by going to bed on time, they get a longer bedtime story.

2. Learn to read emotions in faces. It’s important to become sensitive to non-verbal cues. Play games with your own facial expressions or you can draw pictures. Discuss how someone may look if they were preparing to eat an ice cream cone versus surprised by a loud noise.

3. Choose your words carefully. Encourage kids to select words that convey their affection for others. Ask them to talk about what they like about their siblings or friends.

4. Practice teamwork. Demonstrate that it’s fun and effective to cooperate with others. Spend time washing dishes or picking up toys together. Sign up for softball or split up into teams for playing charades.

5. Mind your manners. Show kids how to act appropriately in different social situations. Praise your kids for mastering basic table manners and acting as gracious hosts when you have guests in your home.

Leadership Development Strategies for Tweens and Teens

1. Engage in conversation and public speaking. Communication skills play a big part in leadership. Use family dinners as an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of current events. Presenting a report in class is valuable training for their future careers.

2. Set goals. Kids naturally become more motivated and accomplished when they take ownership of their own goals. Present options to your kids but encourage them to choose the objectives they want to pursue.

3. Think like a critic. Support your child’s growing capacity for critical thought. They can evaluate their performance in different situations to identify areas where they want to improve. Even TV shows can be a trigger to discuss peer pressure and making ethical decisions.

4. Take on leadership tasks. Learning to motivate people and delegate tasks requires practice. Talk about taking the initiative at a summer job or internship to play a leadership role. It could be as simple as putting together a potluck family picnic.

5. Develop organizational skills. Young people can hone their management skills by overseeing complex projects. Appoint your teen to take charge of the logistics for a family vacation or college tour. They may even want to start a small business or charity.

Getting your kids off to a good start with leadership skills can create a better life for them and help them to become a positive influence on others. When children learn to manage themselves and get along with others, they’re better prepared for happiness and success.