When we want to learn about leadership and wish to become a better leader, we generally gravitate towards our bosses who serve as the perfect role models. While it makes sense to learn from someone who is experienced and who has the right knowledge to impart, it doesn't hurt to broaden your focus and learn from someone who can teach you equally important lessons. If you observe your own children or other children around you closely, you will realise that kids can teach you more about leadership than your boss ever will. Here are five leadership lessons you can learn from paying close attention to children:
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The desire to know more about everything
Kids constantly ask questions about everything that goes on around them as they have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. They treat everything they come across with wonder and amazement. When was the last time you allowed your mind to wander freely? When you treat new projects at work like how children treat every task, you will see things in a different light than you have before, and this will instill a sense of wonder and the desire to learn more.
Empathy and humanity
Kids don't shun other kids from their circle just because they come from a different financial background or practise a different religion. They are big-hearted and possess the capacity to be kind to whoever they meet. If you want to be a good leader, you need to be compassionate and treat everyone equally. If you make a conscious choice to not be judgmental about your team members, you'll go a long way.
Focusing on one thing at a time
Unlike adults, kids don't multitask. If they are building a sand-castle, their entire focus is on their sand-kit, having enough wet sand and the sea shells around them. A good leader is able to give his full attention to one thing at a time, without checking mails or messages on the side. When you tackle tasks without interruption, you'll encourage your team members to the same.
Not making judgments beforehand
Kids are fun and interesting to be with, unless you give them a reason to believe otherwise. They do not judge another kid before they've played with them. Adults, on the other hand, are quick to judge and harbour preconceived notions about other people. A good leader should start with a clean slate with all team members and try to pick on their best qualities.
Being an optimist
When kids are faced with a possibility, they think big. For example, if they get selected to play a role in their school play, they dream about becoming film stars one day. However, adults are too cautious and often pessimistic. When faced with a new challenge, leaders should look at the positives instead of harbouring negative thoughts of failure and high risk.
Kids have the ability to teach us more about life and leadership than our bosses ever could. As Marianne Williamson once said, “Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called ‘All the Things That Could Go Wrong.”