Empower your kids
Adults are just a bigger older version of the child!
As a coach I work a lot with people in business or in the corporate sector where communication and interaction with people and teams is vital to the success of the business and the individual and their relationships.
People often don’t like to hear this, but, adults are really a grown up version of their child. If you didn’t play nice in the sand pit, it is all but guaranteed, as a leader or as a team member, you’re going to bring these childhood sand pit behaviours into your workplace. Especially when high stress situations occur. They don’t work! What may have gotten you what you wanted in the sand pit, no longer yields the same effective result in the workplace, as a leader or as a team member or in any adult relationship.
To keep it simple, we are leaders or we are followers. We need both.
By manage I mean, have some understanding and some strategies for how to cope in a moment that otherwise may cause long term detrimental effects on the adult version. An example of this is, I remember being a follower and very often times feeling great internal distress because I wanted to say “no”. I didn’t understand the feelings I was experiencing meant that I was uncomfortable with the situation and I was too scared to speak my truth, too timid, too embarrassed. This is the behaviour I took into adulthood. Ultimately, it meant I often did not agree or want to get involved with certain activities but I had not learned how to identify that for myself or how to speak my truth, I did not learn how to say “NO”.
At the same time, I have worked for and I have coached leaders that could have benefited from learning how to play nice in the sand pit. How to play fair. How to take the lead but not at the expense of others.
If your child is displaying leadership qualities, maybe a little bossy or the one organising what game and what rules are going to be played, it could be so powerful to help them understand, yes, they special for taking the lead but there is great responsibility in doing that.
As a child, learning how to consider others as opposed to only considering themselves would translate incredibly well in their adult life. A simple strategy could be to make them aware of asking others, “are you comfortable with that” or “do you want to do that”, “is that ok with you”. Without learning this as a child, I have seen it translate into poor results as an adult in the workplace. High staff turn over, bad feedback on the 360 degree surveys, teams not really liking you and not giving their best for you and the leader having a constant frustration with people.
As a follower, your child may experience a lot of stress in the sand pit or the play ground, in that, they feel an internal discomfort with certain situations, but, they lack the skills or the capacity to say, NO. They have no strategies to create a fair and safe environment for themselves when there is a bully in the sand pit or a dominant in the sand pit. In this instance if you could teach your child some skills in the area of speaking their truth, this would translate beautifully into their adult life. Often they are scared of what the other kids might say if they don’t go along with what’s happening.
Help the child to recognise ‘when’ they feel uncomfortable and skill them up with a script or two.
For example, when you feel that uncomfortable feeling, you can say, “I am not comfortable with that” or you can say “no”, or you can say, “I am going to the library now” or anything that helps the child to have a strategy as opposed to blindly complying even when they really don’t want to. They would be less likely to get into the wrong relationships as adults and they would be more effective in communicating in a team environment in the work place. They would also then more easily learn to step into the leadership role as opposed to always assuming the follower role.
This is a pretty simplified version of personality types however, seeing I work with people in assisting them to be more successful in their life, it seems only logical to share the common denominators of what I am finding and how to address these things before they become adult issues.
Giving your kids some strategies in certain situations is really good for them and for you. How to have a tantrum, now that is another story…
What have been your best strategies for nurturing your kids leadership tendencies?