Leadership is a powerful skill that can help children succeed in school as well as later in life in their jobs. Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being the CEO. No matter what position or occupation your child chooses in life, she can exhibit the characteristics of a leader.

There are many characteristics of good leaders: Courage, compassion, and passion among them. Leaders inspire others to be authentic and try their best no matter what they’re doing. That’s what we want to inspire in our kids, too. Here are strategies you can use today to help your kids become great leaders.

Focus on the process, not the outcome. When kids become too focused on achievement and that metal, trophy, or gold star becomes the only thing that matters, they forget that it’s the team that really made it happen. Leaders don’t succeed in a vacuum, they surround themselves with capable individuals because they know they can’t achieve big goals alone.

Cultivate emotional intelligence. A person’s emotional intelligence (EQ) is measured in how well they respond to strong emotions in themselves and others and navigate complex social interactions. When kids learn from the adults around them that emotions aren’t weakness, that EQ is a powerful tool to help them now and in the future, they can learn to identify their own emotions and others’ emotions to positive outcomes.

Let kids make mistakes, and help them learn from failures. Leaders pursue goals despite the chance of failure, and the path to success is marked by lots of failure. Support kids when they fail or make a mistake, but don’t be too quick to assuage their hurt pride. Knowing the pain of failure, and that that pain won’t last forever, is an important lesson. Perseverance, whether in spots or in business, is a sure mark of a leader.

Promote taking responsibility for one’s actions. A leader makes calls often not knowing whether they’re the right decisions to make. If a business deal falls through or the captain calls the wrong play and loses the game, a good leader steps forward and admits responsibility. Showing your kids that you’re human, too, and admitting mistakes when they happen can help them to see how an adult takes responsibility and how a leader leads.

Participating in sports can help teach kids leadership skills. Our coaches and staff members have extensive experience with childcare and coaching, many of them are teachers, and strive to help kids to develop their own authentic leadership.