Becoming a great leader isn’t an overnight thing. It takes years and years of hard work, determination, grit, and experience to display good leadership skills. Some take the mantle of leadership when they start working, some in their later years, while others are groomed in their younger years.
If your child starts to display qualities of leadership at a young age, give a helping hand as early as possible to hone that gift. How? By checking out these five steps on how to develop a child’s morale when growing up. This way, he or she can get a head start.
What is Strong Morale?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “morale” as principles, teachings, or conduct. What does it have to do with leadership? Everything! Having good morale is one of the building blocks of a good leader.
Good morale is especially important to children, as they face the different trials life throws at them. Without it, a child who is aiming to become a leader will not have the motivation to succeed.
5 Important Steps To Develop a Strong Morale While Growing Up
They will have no initiative to start things, and apathy will kill their dreams. With that in mind, here are five steps to develop strong morale in your child while growing up.
1. Be a role model
In their early years, children look up to the people they spend time with the most. These would be their parents or primary caregivers. These people, by default, become their role models who mold the child’s character and traits.
According to Live Strong, role models can affect a child’s self-esteem, academic performance, anger management, and a child’s ability to overcome difficulties. Moreover, role models can play a factor in drug and alcohol abuse. This means that children can copy both the good and the bad traits of their parents. Even success at work can be affected, especially if children grow up not knowing what leadership is in management or by copying bad behavior.
Show your children empathy. Psychologist Michele Borba teaches in her books on moral development in children that empathy in a parent-child relationship allows parents to teach important values to build their child’s character.
How will they know what their leadership skills are if they don’t try? They need to practise the things you teach them. Let them practise becoming a leader. Start with simple team-building activities to boost morale within the family.
You can try the spaghetti and marshmallow tower activity so they can practice their leadership skills. Depending on the number of people in your family, split them up into different teams. Assign your child as the leader of the team. If you have two children or more, you can each assign them as leaders of their own respective teams.
Give each team a box of uncooked spaghetti noodles and a pack of marshmallows. Instruct them to use these to build the tallest tower they can within the allotted time. Five minutes should be enough to spark their competitive spirit and save some food. The team with the tallest tower wins.
3. Allow them to make mistakes
Whether they just tripped on a stone and hurt their knee or get their hearts broken by their crush, it’s no secret that parents see their children making mistakes hurts them as much or even more. Parents wouldn’t want to see them get hurt physically or emotionally because that’s their natural instinct. But some of the most important lessons in life are learned from making mistakes.
Parents need to burst their protective bubble to a certain extent and allow their children to make mistakes. They need to learn when to step in and when to stay back.
A secret to coming up with creative morale boosters after making a mistake is to listen to them, allow them to admit their mistakes, be private as possible, and be positive. Doing these will help children learn from their mistakes and allow them to bounce back with confidence – especially when treated with love and empathy.
4. Use their triumphs and mistakes as teachable moments
In relation to building your child’s leadership skills, use your child’s triumphs and mistakes as teachable moments. To maximize these opportunities, communication is key. When your child breaks a rule, make sure you implement consequences with fairness and dignity.
Always show compassion. Take the time to explain to your child why their behavior was wrong in a calm, loving, but firm manner. More importantly, don’t make excuses for their behavior.
In addition, teach them how to make things right. Just because they’ve received consequences for their actions and things have been explained to them doesn’t mean they’re off the hook. They need to know how to make things right. If someone else has been involved, teach them how to make the proper apology.
5. Use stories to teach your child
Do you remember the time when your parents read you bedtime stories? Most of those books had moral lessons that were passed on. Whenever you read your child a book or tell them a story, use it as an opportunity to teach them a lesson that can help them become better leaders. You can also do this while watching their favorite T.V. show. This will help you reinforce their values, as they grow older. Moreover, telling them stories will spark their imagination, curiosity, and communication–skills that are important to every leader.
Helping your young child become a leader can be tough. You need to know how to build team morale so that both you and your child can overcome the challenges ahead.
As the author of the book “Encouragement: How to Be and Find the Best”, Cathy Burnham Martin said, “While motivation fires up our interest and willingness to run the race, encouragement helps get us across the finish line.”
These five steps should serve as a good starting point to develop strong morale, and to keep them on track, as they grow up. And when they do enter the world of employment, it’s nice to know that they have materials to look into, like the PMBOK Guide, to help them become better leaders in the future.