By guest author Yvonne Strachan
You may be thinking that a leader is defined as one who holds a formal authoritative position. But what if I told you that a true leader is someone who influences others?
Everyone influences others at some point. So, if everyone is destined to influence others, and therefore lead, let’s make sure we do our part and train the next generation of leaders well.
Let’s examine these four attributes that make great leaders and contemplate how we can best train the next generation.
Servant leaders focus on the well-being, growth, and success of their team members and their communities, primarily placing this mission above their own ambitions (Philippians 2:1-11). Servant leaders help organizations thrive internally by improving dedication, morale, and teamwork, and externally through the act of caring, which naturally promotes a service or product. Servant leadership has become a vital element in society, restoring healthy workplaces, communities, and families.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13, ESV)
Help your child become a servant leader by teaching your child to serve for the right reasons, not for recognition or rewards. After all, we don’t serve others to earn acceptance in God’s family. We serve because we are part of God’s family and are grateful for His sacrificial love. Appropriately, when we serve, our hearts purge selfish desires for physical assets, recognition, or prestige, and instead become replenished with ever-growing gratitude, compassion, and love. Ask your child how he can help someone else and discuss his reasons behind it. Then help your child carry out his selfless act of kindness.
Good leaders align their actions with their morals (even when no one is watching). They have good intentions, setting expectations they themselves are willing to meet. Consequently, they earn other’s trust and respect, which cultivates an environment where people are willing to listen and work harder toward common goals.
Teach your child integrity by aligning your actions and words. Be mentally and physically ready to focus your efforts each day, exhibiting a good attitude toward home life and education. Integrity-reinforced expectations ensure trust, respect, and obedience, increasing your child’s willingness and ability to persevere through his studies and exhibit integrity himself.
- Clear Communication
Good leaders listen well to others, making a conscious effort to help them feel comfortable when sharing ideas and concerns. This encourages camaraderie, teamwork, and increased involvement. This resulting collaboration helps leaders gain wisdom in identifying issues, developing solutions, and implementing tactical decisions. Leaders can then organize their thoughts and cohesively articulate their strategies and objectives.
Help your child develop clear communication skills by modeling good decision-making techniques and practicing them with your children: pinpoint potential problems, gather facts, engage in discussion with others, consider options (double-checking that they align with biblical principles), and develop solutions.
- Humble Support and Encouragement
Good leaders take time to know their team members, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and assign tasks that utilize their gifts and passions, while also providing support and training to maximize their potential.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. (1 Peter 4:10, ESV)
Good leaders credit their team for accomplishments and show appreciation for their contributions and hard work. Consequently, team members feel valued, become grateful, and are motivated to work harder.
Good leaders also take responsibility for mistakes, viewing them as an opportunity to learn and improve. They stay positive while also implementing constructive teaching during tough times to inspire success.
Encourage your child by recognizing her gifts and complimenting her strengths. Continually support, teach, and guide your child as you help her strengthen areas which she finds more difficult while also praising her for trying her best. Support your child by helping her set goals, and list smaller steps that will lead to the completion of her goals. Support changing goals, knowing God will use everything your child has learned as he fulfills her future callings.
Our final responsibility in parental leadership is to help our children grow, with the goal of fully preparing them to lead the next generation as they progress into responsible adults. The first step is to help them become good followers. As they grow, your discipleship and guidance will transition them through the natural progression from one who is cared for to one who cares for others, and one who is taught to one who teaches. When our young adults are prepared to open the door to their future at work, in their communities, and in their own homes, they answer the call to be our next generation of great leaders.