3-4 YEARS OLD

How do you groom a girl or boy to be a leader? DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON says to ig­nore gen­der dif­fer­ences and do this in­stead.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

How do you groom a girl or boy to be a leader? Ig­nore the gen­der dif­fer­ences and do this in­stead.

A num­ber of psy­cho­log­i­cal stud­ies have identied po­ten­tial gen­der dif­fer­ences in lead­er­ship styles, and these dif­fer­ences may be seen dur­ing child­hood as well.

Re­search nd­ings sug­gest that fe­male lead­ers tend to be “trans­for­ma­tional” – they tend to re­late well to ev­ery­one in the team, to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to achieve their full po­ten­tial, to have very ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, and to act as in­spi­ra­tional role mod­els.

In con­trast, male lead­ers tend to be “trans­ac­tional” – they tend to be con­cerned with goals rather than peo­ple, to be very dom­i­nant, to be re­mote from mem­bers of the team, and to fo­cus on mis­takes that are made.

As you would ex­pect, there is huge de­bate about which style of lead­er­ship is more ef­fec­tive. Some peo­ple pre­fer to work with a trans­for­ma­tional leader, while others pre­fer the work­ing en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated by a trans­ac­tional leader.

The best ap­proach to en­cour­age your child to de­velop lead­er­ship qual­i­ties, how­ever, is to ig­nore po­ten­tial gen­der dif­fer­ences.

At this young age, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter that your four-year-old is a girl or a boy when it comes to lead­er­ship – what mat­ters is his or her in­ter­per­sonal skills. In­stead, fo­cus on ways to en­cour­age your lit­tle one as a unique in­di­vid­ual to be­come a good leader. These are some traits to fos­ter: Ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills are a key qual­ity of good lead­ers. De­velop your child’s abil­ity to ex­press her feel­ings in a way that others un­der­stand.

Her peers won’t be will­ing to co­op­er­ate with her un­less they un­der­stand her – they won’t work with her if she sulks silently in a cor­ner when she can’t get her own way. Lis­ten­ing skills

Good lead­ers have good lis­ten­ing skills. En­cour­age her to look at her pals when they talk to her, to make eye con­tact with them, to re­spond when they speak to her, and to use body lan­guage to demon­strate that she is lis­ten­ing (for in­stance, by nod­ding her head to show that she is in agree­ment with what they say). Re­spect for others Al­though there are some lead­ers who are not com­mit­ted to team­work, it is gen­er­ally ac­cepted that part of

lead­er­ship in­volves work­ing in a team.

That means re­spect­ing the con­tri­bu­tion that others make, mak­ing an in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tion that helps the team goal, and util­is­ing the skills of the other team mem­bers in a pos­i­tive way. Per­sis­tence

Nur­ture your four-year-old’s lead­er­ship abil­ity by per­suad­ing her to per­sist, even when the task seems to be be­yond her ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Some­one who gives up eas­ily will rarely in­spire others to fol­low her, whereas one who shows de­ter­mi­na­tion in the face of a difcult chal­lenge acts as a good role model for her friends. In­de­pen­dent thought It’s very hard to re­sist peer pres­sure, and that is why most chil­dren are heav­ily inuenced by their friends.

In­de­pen­dent thought, how­ever, is a lead­er­ship qual­ity. It’s that abil­ity to know what the ma­jor­ity want to do, and yet still be in­de­pen­dently minded enough to go in a di­rec­tion that pushes against the crowd, if nec­es­sary. En­cour­age­ment

As well as set­ting a good ex­am­ple, a child with lead­er­ship qual­i­ties is able to en­cour­age others in her team to give 100-per-cent ef­fort, and more.

The chil­dren’s de­sire to please the leader is so strong that they try harder with her en­cour­age­ment than they would do if they were work­ing alone to com­plete the job. Re­source­ful­ness

Lead­ers tend to be skil­ful at nd­ing so­lu­tions to prob­lems that others seem to nd in­sur­mount­able. It’s about hav­ing the cre­ative abil­ity to think out­side the box, to see pos­si­bil­i­ties when others see only ob­sta­cles.

Teach your preschooler to look at chal­lenges in many dif­fer­ent ways, and to be pre­pared to test out dif­fer­ent an­swers.

Good lead­ers have good lis­ten­ing skills. En­cour­age your child to make eye con­tact with her pals and to use body lan­guage to demon­strate that she is lis­ten­ing.

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