5 Powerful Qualities Of A Leader – From An 11 Year Old

When you think about powerful leadership qualities, if you’re like me then you’ll recall leaders who you’ve met and admired. Often this is in a workplace context. Today, my 11-year-old daughter Rebecca stood in front of her school as a School Captain, the first official leadership position she has held in her short life. I asked her on the weekend why she thought she was elected to that role. What she told me bought a smile to my face – such great insight at a young age. As I took on her message, I felt inspired. Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m a proud Mum! But I think you might gain some insight and inspiration too…

school girl

1. Respect

It’s interesting to know what meaning a child places on this powerful word. For Rebecca, it’s all about making it about the other person. This is so true. A powerful leader will take the time to understand others, consider their opinions and listen to what they have to say. It’s an arrogant leader who dismisses this for their own progress and own interest. How often do you take the time to stop and really listen to a team member? Do you stop typing, looking at the computer screen, your phone, or what’s going on behind that person? Do they have your full attention? That’s a key component to respect, wouldn’t you agree?

2. A willingness to help

Get in and get dirty – in the schoolyard it’s about keeping the grounds tidy, picking up rubbish, reporting damage. In a workplace it’s about getting on the floor and supporting the team. Be part of the group, show you know what it takes to achieve the results you all strive for. Be the leader who seeks to understand the challenges your team faces. Being aware of your boundaries is important; you don’t want to be a burden to your team. But know where you can contribute and do so when the troops need the support. It will definitely be noticed and remembered.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel

3. Be caring

If there is another student looking sad or lonely, Rebecca will go up to them and check if they are ok. We’re all human, we all have stuff going on and the overlap between work and home is hard for some to draw the line between. Know your team well so you can pick up changes in people early and check in with them. Sometimes a referral onto a professional is relevant, other times it can just be about having someone to listen and to genuinely care. People will remember how you made them feel long after they remember your words.

4. Keep on trying even if you get knocked back

Each year since as long as I can remember Rebecca would put her hat in the ring for class captain, or sports captain or another leadership position. Each year, she missed out. I asked her why she kept putting her hand up even though she got knocked back and she replied, “because I just knew I would eventually get it so I kept trying”. How often do we as adults give up on something because of a knock back? We fear rejection, so when it happens we protect ourselves by not trying again. A great leader will keep going even in the face of fear. It’s resilience that our teams admire and look up to.

never give up

5. Role model other great leaders

Rebecca talked about last year’s school captain and what she liked about her. Her behavior is modeled on what she saw the girl do before her. In business, in leadership, in life, we need to stand on the shoulders of those great leaders that come before us. To do this we need to understand their values, their beliefs, their attitude towards leadership and role model that. Go ahead; think of the leader you are role modeling. What are the qualities you admire the most. Do you find yourself mirroring those? Now think of those who look to you and admire you for your own unique qualities. Remember you are always being watched, so behave in a way that is congruent to the leader you want to be known as. Even when nobody else is watching.

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1 Comment
  1. […] may have read last month’s blog about my daughter Rebecca becoming School Captain. Since then she has stepped it up another notch. […]

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