Raising Leaders: How To Help Your Child Develop Leadership Skills
Want to give your child an exceptional start? Parents and caregivers often want to help their children get experience that will help build life skills. Especially when you see traits of dedication and compassion in your child.
Things like leadership skills can empower kids and young people, not only in their chosen career path but in other areas like relationships and socially. The characteristics of a good leader will be helpful throughout life.
It begs the question, are leaders born or formed? And if the latter, what can you do to help your child develop their natural leadership skills?
What Makes A Good Leader?
Firstly, let’s examine what makes a good leader. By definition, a leader needs to have the unique characteristics that will make others trust and listen to them. But what else goes into a great leader? Here’s what we think:
They can command attention without dominating…
If a person can get the attention of the people around them without annoying them, that’s a serious skill. It takes a lot of charisma and tact to lead without being domineering.
They respect the opinion and thoughts of others…
We’re all guilty of thinking our way is the best way, but a good leader is able to weigh all opinions and ensure everyone still feels valued.
They are honestly empathetic…
You can’t be a successful and liked leader without having a hefty dose of empathy for those around you. It can be the difference between an awkward interaction or a memorable moment.
They have good communication abilities…
Anyone can practise a speech or communicate the bare minimum, but communicating clearly and authentically is a valuable ability, no matter the vocation or situation it’s used in.
Performing Arts & Leadership
It’s no coincidence that many great leaders have had some kind of performance training.
The performing arts are unique in that they offer a wide range of leadership training – without even trying. Take a moment to consider all the subjects covered in professional theatre training.
Through acting, singing and dancing, your child can undertake experiences that prepare them for difficult situations that require strong leadership skills. This could look like disagreements in rehearsals, overcoming embarrassment, and stepping into a state of self-confidence.
Confidence In Themselves & Their Opinions
Confidence is at the heart of a good leader. They have to have faith in what they’re thinking and doing because they’re going to be leading others along the same path.
A leader has confidence in their opinion, voice it, and takes action. If they think a certain routine could be improved to everyone’s benefit, they will speak up!
Performing arts gives children the opportunity to work within groups and build their confidence. And it’s within a group setting that true leaders can emerge, taking control of situations and speaking up when others are staring at the floor.
Theatre training is also a safe place to learn from mistakes. Children and young people have the chance to lead and the chance to follow to understand both perspectives, unafraid of making mistakes or judgement.
Thinking & Problem-Solving
A leader can problem solve – that’s pretty essential. It’s about coming up against a hurdle and thinking about possible solutions and their outcomes. Leaders don’t panic; they work within the situation.
In theatre training, your child can learn the leadership skills of:
- Independent thinking – means not having to be told what to do. Sees a situation and handles it.
- Critical thinking – means evaluating a situation before taking action. Not being impulsive.
- Performing arts often presents opportunities for young performers to have to resolve an issue – sometimes while under pressure.
There’s No I In Team
A leader is part of a team – they may lead, but they’re no more important than anyone else. A leader isn’t a ruler; they just give those around them direction.
Children can get caught up in the ‘importance’ of being ‘in charge’ and feel they are an authority, but true leadership is about bringing the best out in others. This can be a fairly difficult nuance to get to grips with at a young age, but the performing arts provide ample opportunity.
Performing arts is collaborative. It helps children and young adults work in a group dynamic. They get to learn about how to be a leader and how to allow others to have the same chance. Shy children can learn to hold their space, and dominating children can learn to allow others to speak.
Building Communication Skills
A key aspect is how a leader communicates with the people around them. Without a concise and friendly communication manner, a leader won’t get very far. Instead, a leader…
- Doesn’t dictate. People comply or follow because they want to.
- Practises emotional regulation. They can manage emotionally charged situations without losing their cool.
- Understands how different people communicate and adjusts easily.
- Understands how different people are motivated (some like praise, some like encouragement, some like feedback).
Performing arts is one of the most effective ways to learn communication skills. Every aspect of performing is communication – verbal, non-verbal, implied meaning – it gives children a huge insight into communication techniques. From singing a song clearly to organising their fellow performers, your child will come upon hundreds of natural opportunities to step into the leadership role during their training.
Theatre training gives children core communication skills that will serve them throughout life. It isn’t all about becoming the next great leader or achieving remarkable things far into the future. Being able to lead is invaluable and something many of us wish we had learned as a child!
At Theatretrain, we see the value of leadership skills in young people and the opportunities we provide for them help to cultivate the leader within them and build confidence. This might involved giving them the opportunity to lead a warm up or lead the dance or singing in that session. When performing at the Royal Albert Hall some students are specifically chosen to be leaders on stage – everyone else looks to them before moving so that they all move at the same time. This is truly a unique and invaluable experience that helps nurture leadership skills and give your child the confidence they need to lead.
Inspire Your Little Leader…
If you’re looking for a way to naturally draw out leadership skills in your child, then theatre training is a joyful and rewarding way to do that. There are a whole host of other benefits, too. Find out what your child can get out of joining the Theatretrain company in our previous blog.