Some of us are born leaders. We enjoy taking charge while organizing and directing people. For others, this is a real challenge and we need more encouragement to take up a position of leadership. Whichever describes your teen, there are ways that you can encourage them to be a compassionate leader in their own unique way.
1. Give Your Teen Responsibilities
Being a leader is about taking on responsibilities. One significant way you can help your teen become a more confident leader is to give them a few basic responsibilities. Put them in charge of a weekly meal or ask them to look after their younger siblings. Make sure they get some input on what chores they do, and help them establish their own schedules. By gaining responsibility in simple areas like these, your teen will feel more self-assured and more comfortable in taking on the role of leading others.
2. Persuade Them to Participate in Group Activities
Group activities like team sports, theater, dance, bands and other collaborative efforts are excellent ways for your teen to grow as a leader. In these situations, your teen will learn how to work with others, handle conflict and make decisions—all of which are important aspects of leadership.
3. Encourage Open Discussions
Part of being a leader is generating ideas, sharing thoughts and listening to others’ opinions. These important aspects can be developed at home with open, honest and thoughtful discussions among family members. Encourage your teen to think about important issues, develop their own opinion and take others’ thoughts into consideration—even if they differ from their own. This will help them to become a compassionate, caring leader.
4. Highlight Role Models and Mentors
Teens can really benefit from having role models or mentors that they can learn healthy, positive leadership skills from. Try to set your teen up with such a mentor or encourage them to spend time with mentors who already might be in their life. If this isn’t possible, even pointing out positive role models in the media can be effective—particularly if you talk to them about why this person is such an affirmative influence. You, too, can be a role model for your teen by showing them the importance of balance and responsibility in your own life.
5. Teach Your Teen to Learn from Their Mistakes
We all make mistakes and learning how to handle them well is an important part of growing up. It’s also a crucial part of being a leader, especially since a leader’s mistakes often affect those around them. Teaching your teen to accept and deal with the consequences of their actions can help them become a leader of true integrity.
6. Help Them Pursue Their Passions
While leadership skills are certainly transferable, it can sometimes be difficult to be a leader for something you aren’t passionate about or struggle with. Encouraging your teen to pursue their passions will ignite their natural desire to lead. If they are excited and enthusiastic about a sport, production or cause, then they’ll naturally be more inclined to step up and practice their leadership skills.