Teaching kids to lead

I was talking to a business coach last week who is writing a book about leadership. She was talking about delegation. 

I asked her what she thought we might need to teach children so that when they reach employment age she wouldn’t have to teach them, they would already have the skill.

She got quite snippy after that, saying she wouldn’t teach children delegation at all. But why not?

Delegation is just the catalyst for a broader conversation about what we teach kids and how. If you think for a moment what delegation is, if you break down the skills a person needs, then we can start to see how we can help children now.

Delegation requires a child to not have to prove themselves through doing all the work on his own. This means we shouldn’t praise the individual child in a way that promotes working in isolation. It probably also means that we should praise the child who does share responsibility. It might also mean that we don’t want children to hand off all the work and let their teammates carry the full load, so we need to hold back reward from those who do nothing. What about teaching leadership, not as an ego state, but as a set of skills?

This is just an initial thought I had, not a well-developed idea. If I waited for all my ideas to develop perfectly I wouldn’t get to teaching anyone. But it is work thinking about.

We don’t want to teach delegation or time management, at least not in the way we teach adults the same skills. We do want to help children to be the type of person who can delegate or time manage. What does that then mean?

Enjoy thinking about this one.

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Lauren Edmunds

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