What are the most important leadership skills to teach young children?
This week marks International Leader's Week, and as such a lot of people are asking the question "What makes a great leader?"
Here at MPT, we've been asking ourselves a variation on that - "What makes a great future leader?"
There are many possible answers to that question, and lots of skill sets that are undeniably important to leaders - problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, creativity...we could probably make a whole blog just from the list of 'soft skills' that go into great leaders, and which we try to involve in all of our teaching sessions with all of our tutees!
For this week, though, we wanted to delve deeper - past the soft skills that our children will one day be able to put onto their CV's and into the emotional skills that underpin them - the skills that will allow our children to be able to develop all those essential qualities of leadership which will help them to go on to a successful career as they move into adulthood.
For help with the emotional qualities of leadership there is no better person to turn to than Brené Brown, who has made a hugely successful career out of coaching Fortune 100 companies to help their employees to develop the leadership skills necessary to move themselves and the business forwards.
Ms Brown feels similarly to us - that without a solid foundation in emotion and a secure sense of self, none of the other skills can follow. She speaks of four skills that are essential for any good leader:
Resilience (rising skills, as she calls them)
Of these skills, the most important is vulnerability - and it is the hardest to allow yourself to show because it has traditionally been seen as a weakness; because being vulnerable is risky, and when it doesn't go well it is linked to negative emotions such as shame.
Brené argues that allowing yourself to be vulnerable is in fact a strength, and that none of the joys in life can be achieved without allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Love, belonging, creativity - all come with a degree of risk which you must be willing to take if you want to have them.
When you think about it, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable to develop any of the other critical skills of leadership. Who can show courage without first being vulnerable? Trusting others is always a risk. Resilience, the quality of being able to rise after a setback, requires vulnerability more than anything else!
Brené Brown is an incredible teacher, and her talks are always fascinating - they have relevance no matter what age you are. If you'd like to look into her work further, we'd recommend starting with her Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.
If you'd like to help your child to develop the skills that Brené lists as critical to great leaders; courage, vulnerability, trust and resilience, then My Primary Tutor can help! Our flagship course, Emotions First is built specifically to help children to recognise and name their emotions, as well as helping them to develop resilience and confidence.
We are SO proud of the impact it's been having on other students, and would love to share more with you about how it could help your family, so why not give Karen a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for some more information?