Leadership for Kids: A Great Way To Teach Your Kids About Leadership post image

What Does Your Mommy Do?

I have never had one of those jobs they sing about on Sesame Street.

As with most of us, the roles I have assumed over the years are hard to explain.

But if you ask my kids what I do, they have a short answer, “my mom is a leader.”

Probe further, and you’ll get more:

  • “She asks a lot of questions”
  • “She helps people figure things out”
  • “She teaches people stuff”
  • “She has a team”
  • “She tries to make work more fun”

They know because they live it.

Some would argue it’s because I have no work-life balance, and by some definitions, I suppose that’s true.

On the other hand…

My kids have learned about leadership by…

  • traveling with me
  • working booths at special events
  • sitting on my lap while I took on-line leadership trainings (they got the answers right)
  • watching me manage late night and weekend crises
  • overhearing countless calls
  • hearing me make tough choices
  • helping me host dinners for my team
  • seeing what makes me angry
  • watching how I handled stress (not always well)
  • sharing in my victories
  • processing the stories
  • partnering with me in volunteer work

Is this lifestyle for everyone, absolutely not. Are there tradeoffs? You bet. Everyone’s goals, values and circumstances are different. For me, letting them into my world and talking about why I do what I do, seems to help.

My experience has been that kids…

  • want to understand what you really do
  • are interested in how you make decisions
  • are capable of learning a great deal about leadership
  • can apply those skills in their own situations
  • want to talk about leadership

There is also more room for work-life integration than most people think.

Are you a parent-leader? Please enjoy our free e-book, Parents Guide to Leadership click here to download. 


How do you teach your kids about leadership?
Filed Under:   Developing Leadership In Children
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

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What People Are Saying

Steve Borek   |   10 November 2012   |   Reply

The leader is always being watched. Always. It’s important to model the way. This is the first of five practices of exemplary leadership in the book by Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge.

How do I demonstrate leadership to my kids? I have a kid’s mindset. Stay curious and have fun. I don’t have all the answers. I continuously look outside my environment for innovative ways to improve.

letsgrowleaders   |   10 November 2012   |   Reply

Thanks, Steve…. I love the idea of keeping a child’s mindset.

Eric Dingler (@EricDingler)   |   12 November 2012   |   Reply

With a two year old and 9 week old, this topic has been on my ming a lot lately. I think the most important thing to remember, more is caught than is taught.

letsgrowleaders   |   12 November 2012   |   Reply

thanks so much! I love the of what’s “caught” even if we didn’t mean to throw it.

Dania Sandfia   |   19 February 2013   |   Reply

I don’t have kids but I think it’s really important to always be patient and open to their questions and to also let them know when you don’t know something. This teaches them that it’s okay to not have all the answers and that there’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know.”

letsgrowleaders   |   19 February 2013   |   Reply

Dania, So great to have you join the conversation. Ahh yes, patience…

Nathan Magnuson   |   22 February 2013   |   Reply

I enjoyed reading that, Karin. My rule of thumb is if you can’t explain to kids what you do in a way that seems (at least a little bit) exciting to them, then you’ve got some work to do. Btw, did you know that Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager was originally supposed to be a kids’ book?

letsgrowleaders   |   22 February 2013   |   Reply

Nathan, Wow. I did not know that… so cool. Makes me want to read it again.