I recently had a woman comment on my post Who’s In Charge? Putting Authority Back into the Hands of Parents. She was concerned that requiring obedience from children would impair their ability to become future leaders.
I had to respectfully disagree with her, as my own life is testament to the contrary, but that got me thinking. What sets up a child for future leadership? How can parents help their children become good leaders?
First, I looked into what makes a good leader.
According to Forbes Magazine, one of the greatest assets to any leader is an ability to follow.
You may have heard something similar before. What makes this true?
Because everybody has to be held accountable.
Everybody has to follow rules. Leaders who think the rules don’t apply to them go one of two ways:
- They turn into dictators
- They get ousted
Often times both.
Why else do the good followers make the best leaders?
You want a leader who KNOWS how to get the job done. That means that at some point in their life, they sat under someone’s else tutelage and learned how to do that job well.
It doesn’t do any good to have an independent free-thinker with no idea what they’re supposed to be doing. Leaders have to be teachable.
Not only that, but they have to continue learning. Technology changes. Culture changes. Leaders have to keep up with the times in order to remain effective.
I also looked to Forbes Magazine to explain what parents should and should not be doing to raise future leaders.
Some of things Dr. Tim Elmore had to say in the article 7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors that Keep Kids from Growing into Leaders sounded familiar. These parenting behaviors prevent children from growing into successful leaders:
- Failure to let kids experience risk
- Rescuing them from difficult situations
- Doing things for them rather than encouraging independence
In contrast, here are some parenting behaviors that foster leadership in your child (from the article 8 Powerful Ways to Mold Your Children into Leaders):
- Model emotional intelligence
- Don’t obsess about achievement
- Don’t overpraise
- Allow risky behavior and failure
- Tell them no
- Let them solve their own problems
- Model the behavior you talk about
- Show them you’re human
Encouraging obedience in children doesn’t impair their ability to lead. Rather, it teaches them accountability and self control (Doorposts Blog) which are extremely important skills for a leader.
At the end of the day, as August Turak mentioned in his Forbes article, everyone is subservient to someone else. Even the greatest leaders have rules to follow, and their ability to remain in leadership is dependent on their aptitude for obedience.
If you want to raise real future leaders in your home (and what parent wouldn’t?), allowing rebellion is not the way to go. Raising critical thinkers with a realistic view of their capabilities is a much better method.
Never forget the power you have in your home to set an example of good leadership for your children. Lead with integrity and kindness, and you’ll set your children up for a successful future.